Hotcakes with sausage have always been popular with McDonald's customers -- at least those seated at a table. Unfortunately, they represent a far greater challenge for drive-through customers, who make up about 65 percent of the company's business [source: Greenspan].
In 2000, McDonald's executives issued a challenge to corporate staff, franchisees and suppliers: develop a breakfast product that delivers the great taste of pancakes, maple syrup and sausage, but doesn't leave behind a sticky mess. One vendor, San-Antonio-based C.H. Guenther, devised a way to suspend maple flavoring in a pancake while it was being baked. Take two of these syrup-laced concoctions, emboss them with golden arches, wrap them around a piece of sausage or sausage and egg, and you've got a revolutionary product -- the McGriddles sandwich.
As it does with most new products, McDonald's rolled out McGriddles throughout 2001 in a small test market consisting of 400 restaurants in Wisconsin, Illinois and Mississippi and then in Arkansas, Southern California and Tennessee. They were introduced nationwide in 2003 and became an instant hit, accounting for about 40 percent of same-store sales growth in their first 12 months on the menu [source: Wall Street Journal].
Up next: double-double, cheese-cheese, burger-burger, please.