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Why is McDonald's serving lobster rolls?

Sometimes corporations can only do so much with paid online surveys. McDonald's is a prime example - you can't exactly send a lobster roll sample to consumers as part of an online product survey. At the same time, it's not a proven fact, but it's likely that most foodies wouldn't call a fast food lobster roll a wise investment. In fact, most survey-takers would put the kibosh on the this drive through seafood "delicacy" before it ever reached the menu.

According to a recent Opinion Outpost survey, 76 percent of respondents said they wouldn't order a lobster roll from the fast food giant.

There's another important piece of the puzzle as well. The McDonald's lobster roll is only available in New England - likely because the fast food giant can't affordably ship the product much farther. While that makes sense from the supply perspective, that means the chain also has to compete with the likes of every well-established lobster eatery from Massachusetts to Maine.

Nonetheless, the company with the golden arches looked at the shellfish and saw dollar signs - despite what survey users, cooks, most consumers and common sense might say. So what made them choose this path?

It's the most bang for your buck
If there's one thing McDonald's does well, it's give customers a meal for less. You can fill your belly for pennies on the dollar, and while the negative health effects are nothing to shake a stick at, the taste for the cost makes the fast food chain successful. 

As far as the new item goes, McDonalds stuck with its bread and butter - or lobster and butter rather. The roll is a a cheap alternative, priced at $7.99, compared to most other restaurants that will serve the same treat often for $10 and up. So the price is right, but how's the taste?

Taste tests say...
Flavor is a matter of opinion, but according to some taste tests, the McDonald's lobster roll isn't too shabby. That is, it's not the culinary disaster some critics thought it would be. According to the Portland Press Herald, the roll actually got a few positive reviews after the Maine Sunday Telegram asked a few critics to rate it.

One such critic was Joe Dube, a native New Englander and self-proclaimed lobster roll connoisseur. He called it "better than any lobster roll [he] had in Old Orchard or Wells" during his trip, according to the Portland Press Herald. Some other tasters were more harsh on the flavor, but the overall consensus was that it was a good deal for the amount of meat and considering its health effects. It's only 290 calories compared to the Big Mac's 530 calories, according to the McDonald's Menu Explorer.

But how did McDonald's know the lobster roll would be an OK alternative regarding taste and cost?

They've done this before
Ultimately, the corporation used a lot of the same formula they did when it offered its lobster rolls just 10 years ago. However, there have been some changes to the recipe. According to the Portland Press Herald, the company ran numerous taste tests, and finally settled on adding an ounce more meat than before, using less mayonnaise and toasting the bun.

The opinions of those taste testers, much like the opinions of online survey users, might just ensure McDonald's lobster gets out of some hot water and ends up making a profit.

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