Eat and Drink
McDonald's promises to bring Szechuan sauce back this winter
McDonald's is promising to bring back its Szechuan sauce this winter, after an extremely limited re-release of the condiment on Saturday provoked major backlash from droves of customers who left restaurants empty-handed.
"Yesterday, we were truly humbled by the amazing curiosity, passion and energy this community showed to welcome back Szechuan Sauce," the fast-food chain said Sunday evening in a statement on Twitter. "And our super-limited batch, though well-intentioned, clearly wasn't near enough to meet that demand."
The company's one-day promotion — tied to the introduction of its new Buttermilk Crispy Chicken tenders — attracted long lines at participating locations in Manhattan and Queens on Saturday morning, images on social media showed.
McDonald's first released its Szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce to promote the 1998 premiere of Disney's "Mulan," but it marketed the condiment's return to fans of the Adult Swim animated show "Rick and Morty." In Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon's cult-favorite cartoon, alcoholic genius Rick Sanchez rants about Szechuan sauce as the hidden motivation for his risky adventures through space and alternate dimensions.
"I'm driven by finding that McNugget sauce," he raves to his grandson and sidekick in the show's season three premiere. "If it takes nine seasons, I want my McNugget ... Szechuan dipping sauce."
"Rick and Morty" fans driven to McDonald's in the pursuit of the condiment this weekend were disappointed to find that some locations had stocked as little as 20 packets, they complained on Twitter.
Some restaurants reportedly handed out wristbands in the morning, far in advance of the sale that started at 2 p.m.
McDonald's formally apologized for the marketing snafu on Twitter Saturday: "The best fans in the multiverse showed us what they got today," the company said. "We hear you & we're sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan."
A McDonald's spokeswoman referred to that redress when asked for further comment Sunday morning. That evening, she shared the updated statement: "We're going to make this right," the company promised its customers. "Szechuan Sauce is coming back once again this winter."
This time, McDonald's said it will supply enough packets "so that any fan who's willing to do whatever it takes for Szechuan Sauce will only have to ask for it at a nearby McDonald's."
We promise to keep you updated about those plans. In the meantime, here's what New Yorkers had to say about the debacle: