A certain subset of McDonald's fans is gearing up for their favorite time of year. No, not Christmas. McRib season.
The Golden Arches are bringing back the cult-favorite, limited-time pork sandwich this month, according to the company's website, which teases that "the fun returns December 17." Some markets in the U.S. will launch the promotion early; Los Angeles will follow the national timeline.
The sauce-drenched offering is normally sold earlier in the fall. But McDonald's is hoping to match the 9.8% same-store sales surge the chain encountered during last December's unseasonably warm weather, according to a company memo leaked to AdAge.
The fast food giant could use a boost. October saw McDonald's first monthly sales slide in nine years. Jan Fields, president of the company's U.S. operation, stepped down in November. In the third quarter, the company's profit tumbled 3.5% after sliding 4.5% the previous quarter. Competition from other quick service outlets has been brutal.
As McDonald's rolls out its trump card, other burger chains are also luring customers in with special deals and freebies.
Starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday, Burger King is offering its original Whopper sandwich for 55 cents to celebrate the burger's 55th anniversary. The promotion is valid for customers who buy another Whopper sandwich.
The newly revamped chain has rolled out a limited-time line of Whoppers, including a Wisconsin White Cheddar variation and an "Angry" option with spicy peppers and cheese. Fast-food outlets are ramping up their more premium options to try to entice patrons away from fast-casual chains such as Smashburger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
On Tuesday, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. is offering guests named Jim, Jimmy, James, Jamie or some other similar moniker a free Sweet Jim Beam Bacon Swiss Burger. Guests who live on Jim Street or other variations can also get in on the deal -- as long as they have a photo ID or proof of address and are at least 18 years old.
During last year's so-called Jim Day, the casual dining chain served nearly 25,000 free burgers at its more than 470 restaurants.