The McRib sandwich has been a staple of McDonald's menu since its introduction in 1981. However, it has been known to disappear from the menu for extended periods of time, leaving many fans wondering why. The answer lies in the fluctuating pork prices and the sandwich's unique marketing strategy. When the McRib was first introduced in 1981, sales were mediocre. McDonald's executives determined that pork was not eaten often enough in the United States to stay on the menu, and so it was suppressed in 1985. After several years, it returned for promotion, and is now most popular in Germany and Luxembourg, where it is still a permanent item.
As for why the McRib goes away, according to food industry analyst Phil Lempert, it is due to fluctuating pork prices. The McRib is made with certain pork trimmings, and there aren't always enough cuts of meat to provide an indefinite amount of sandwiches. When the price of those trimmings starts to rise, McDonald's simply takes the McRib off the menu and disappears once again. McDonald's also uses a clever marketing strategy to increase sales of the McRib.
By bringing it back for a limited time every October or November for the past few years, they see a good sales increase in their fourth financial quarter. Major media outlets and the entire Internet pick up the story every time it returns, which in turn draws more traffic as sandwich fans flock to try it once again. The McRib is likely to have a problem attracting a very large audience because of its unique shape - a boneless rib plate - which some people find unappealing. However, its limited availability and seasonal return have made it an icon in its own right, with some even giving rise to the phrase 'McRib season'.
In conclusion, McDonald's McRib goes away due to fluctuating pork prices and its clever marketing strategy. By bringing it back for a limited time every year, they are able to draw more attention and increase sales.