The Rise And Fall Of The Arch Deluxe, McDonald's Most Ambitious Failure

When it comes to finding success in the marketplace, knowing your competition is key. But even more important than understanding your competition is knowing your target customer - and this is the mistake McDonald’s made with the 1996 release of the Arch Deluxe burger. 

What has been referred to as the chain's “biggest product launch” was also one of its greatest marketing failures. The Arch Deluxe burger, which was developed with the intent of activating and drawing in a more adult clientele, featured everything that the fast food giant considered to be fancy and adult: one large piece of lettuce instead of shredded pieces, a larger patty, a decadent Dijon-mayonnaise spread, and a fluffier split-top bun with fewer sesame seeds. 

Despite having been allotted a $200 million advertising campaign, the Arch Deluxe never lived up to what it promised in taste or profitability. Within four years of its original launch, meager sales and a lack of enthusiasm led the franchise to discontinue the burger for good.