The new ad campaign for the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich at McDonald's has an attractive young woman handing out the sandwiches for free alongside a purported food truck. Unsuspecting customers scarf the things down and talk about how great they are, and when the woman hands them a card with "the address" on the back, the sidewalk diners flip it over and discover the sandwich they've just raved about is from Mickey D's. It's kind of similar to a 2014 segment on Dutch TV where two guys cut McDonald's food into little pieces and served it to foodies, who heaped praise on what they'd just consumed and commented on how fresh it is. In short, stick your pretensions up your farm-to-table ass, foodies!
Thing is, McDonald's is kind of copping to its own bad public perception with this commercial. People probably would have walked right on by if it were a food truck with the golden arches, because people love to turn their noses up at McDonald's and food trucks, somehow, are perceived as higher quality despite the fact it is literally someone cooking food in the back of a truck. And according to a 2014 report in the Wall Street Journal, those oh-so-important millennials are going to other eating establishments in droves because "[i]ncreasingly, younger diners are seeking out fresher, healthier food and chains that offer customizable menu options for little more than the price of a combo meal." Yet a quick look at the nutritional information will tell you that Chipotle, Panera Bread, and other alternatives to fast food that have cornered the youth market are not, in fact, healthy.
Earlier this year, McDonald's announced it was closing hundreds of stores around the world due to declining revenues. It is amid all this bad news and public opinion that the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich arrives in a paper box. Could it be the silver bullet to put an American icon back on top? Probably not, but it still tastes really good. McDonald's isn't skimping on the buttermilk—the heavily breaded tender chicken breast has a creamy taste that hits the palate quite nicely. The texture of the breading offers a good, solid crunch—no soggy patties here. The sandwich's only accoutrements are lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, all served on an artisan roll. Both times we tried the sandwich, the mayo was just right, complementing the flavors of the chicken instead of overpowering them. Part of the beauty is in its simplicity. Other fast-food chicken offerings—Burger King's TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch immediately comes to mind—pile on cheese, bacon, and other toppings; the end result is still good, but it can be a bit much. The buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich has it just right—it's a rich, flavorful meal that millennials and anyone else who's fled McDonald's should give a try.