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McDonald's just pulled the plug on its biggest menu change in years

Hayley Peterson and Hollis Johnson
McDonald's Create Your Taste thumb
McDonald's Create Your Taste thumb

(McDonald's has dropped "Create Your Taste."Hollis Johnson)
McDonald's has ended its custom-burger menu test called "Create Your Taste" in the US and replaced it with a new version called "Signature Crafted Recipes," the company confirmed to Business Insider.

"Create Your Taste" allowed customers to build burgers from more than 30 premium ingredients, buns, and sauces, including bacon, caramelized grilled onions, chili lime tortilla strips, guacamole, and jalapenos.

Customers ordered the burgers from touch-screen kiosks inside McDonald's restaurants.

It was arguably the biggest menu change for McDonald's in more than 40 years, since the introduction of breakfast. Many franchisees invested roughly $125,000 per location to install the "Create Your Taste" kiosks in their restaurants.

But within the last month, it suddenly began disappearing from restaurant menus from San Francisco to New York, Business Insider learned based on information from more than half a dozen McDonald's locations across the US.

McDonald's spokeswoman Becca Hary confirmed the change.

"Create Your Taste was a test, which we used as the name for customizable burgers in select cities," Hary told Business Insider. "McDonald’s is now testing a customizable burger platform under the name 'Signature Crafted Recipes.'"

McDonald's Create Your Taste 6
McDonald's Create Your Taste 6

("Create Your Taste" kiosks.Hollis Johnson)
"Create Your Taste" began rolling out in select states in late 2014 and started expanding nationally the following year.

Customers liked ordering from kiosks and personalizing their food, according to McDonald's. And the burgers got largely positive feedback in online reviews.

In mid-2015, the company said it had plans to roll out "Create Your Taste" to 2,000 restaurants nationwide, or roughly one in seven of McDonald's more than 14,000 restaurants in the US. At the time, it was available in seven states.

But there were a few problems with "Create Your Taste." Some customers complained that the burgers were too expensive and took too long to cook.

Business Insider’s Hollis Johnson tested the program at a New York City McDonald’s and paid $10 for a burger with bacon, tomato, onions, cheddar cheese, guacamole, and two sauces, along with sides of fries and a drink. That’s about twice the cost of a Big Mac meal. His meal took eight minutes to prepare.

Some franchisees also complained about the cost of the program, and said it slowed down kitchen operations and targeted an upscale customer that McDonald's shouldn't be going after.

McDonald's Signature Crafted Taste 1
McDonald's Signature Crafted Taste 1

(Hollis Johnson)

McDonald's decision to get rid of the full "Create Your Taste" menu and replace it with "Signature Crafted Recipes" should help solve some of these issues.

"Signature Crafted Recipes" has fewer options for customization than "Create Your Taste" with bundled toppings that should make it easier for kitchens to handle. The company started testing it earlier this year.

"Our customers appreciate the additional choices and the control of being able to order from kiosks," Hary said. "We’re always testing and looking at new ideas and concepts to provide our customers with a great restaurant experience."

The Signature Crafted menu allows customers to choose from one of three proteins — beef, buttermilk crispy chicken, or grilled chicken — and one of four topping bundles: maple bacon Dijon, deluxe, buffalo bacon, and pico guacamole. A sriracha topping bundle is also available at some restaurants.

The menu is available to order from the touch-screen kiosks that were used for "Create Your Taste."

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