A well executed media event ushered in the Bacon Club House Sandwhich to downtown Nashville

A well executed media event ushered in the Bacon Club House Sandwich to downtown Nashville

At a well executed media event, The McGray Corp McDonalds on at 1201 Broadway in Nashville introduced the Clubhouse Sandwiches. They consisted of a beef, grilled chicken, and crispy chicken versions. In a nutshell – WOW! You have to try these sandwiches!

In attendance were the owners of this particular location, McGray Corp represented by Phil and Clark Gray as well as a media company staff and members of Clear Channel Media.

The McDonalds was decorated with marketing materials / POP highlighting the Bacon Clubhouse line.  Flags ran across the ceiling, tables had decals, and the aroma was permeating the store. Marketing and McDonalds staff were making the rounds to serve the attendees of the event with food and drinks.

 

Packaging was, to me, reminiscent of Wendy's newspaper tables decor.

Packaging was, to me, reminiscent of Wendy’s newspaper tables decor.

The Sandwiches

We’ll start with the packaging of the sandwiches. The packing was very upscale, but nostalgic, it reminded me of the tables at Wendys in the 80’s and early 90’s with the newspaper decor.  Once you opened it, you notice the printing on the inside of the carton followed by the sandwich sitting in a paper sleeve.

The packaging itself was very bright and positive. It definitely conveyed the idea behind the sandwich.

The artisan roll houses either a chicken, grilled chicken, or beef patty. It also features fresh lettuce, tomato, Applewood bacon, and sauce.

Now for each different sandwich:

Pictured here is the Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse.

Pictured here is the Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse.

Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse:

In my opinion, this was clearly the leader of the three. It had a juicy quality to it and was  full of flavor. The chicken patty definitely led the taste over the rest of the sandwich.  The Artisan roll was soft and tasty.

My daughter was able to sample a fresh grilled chicken version of the sandwich the next day and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This was definitely a shift in terms of McDonalds sandwiches and if I had to choose between the three for a meal, it would be this one.

Bacon Clubhouse Crispy Chicken - Up Close and Personal

Bacon Clubhouse Crispy Chicken – Up Close and Personal

Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse:

A step above the McChicken – It’s what I think the McChicken should taste like or wants to be when it grows up. Again, artisan roll is soft and the caramelized onions add to the taste of this sandwich. Normally this wouldn’t be an expected combination but with the bacon, it worked.

Definitely a step up from the standard McChicken, I also noticed that it didn’t leave me hungry like a McChicken does sometimes.  The lettuce, tomato, applewood bacon, artisan roll, they all must add to the filling quality of this grown up Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse sandwich.

Second place in our tasting review but still well worth the purchase.

 

Beef Clubhouse

Beef Clubhouse

Clubhouse Beef: 

This version I felt lagged behind the other two. I let my daugher taste it – it didn’t seem as special or ‘wow’ as the other two. Her opinion was that the bun overpowered the actual burger. While there was nothing bad – the caramelized onions definitely add to it, I couldn’t find anything specific to make this burger stand out against the competition.

I would also caveat that this was the third sandwich I’d sampled, full stomach syndrome may have been in full effect. Once again, there was nothing negative about the Clubhouse Beef, it’s just that to me at least nothing stood out and wow’d me as the other two did.

Overall:

I’d put the two chicken sandwiches against anything Wendys has to offer. The jury is still out on the beef.  Pricing will take a little to get used to at $4.79 each (prices may vary based on location). I think the trick here will be ‘perceived value’ – if consumers start coming into Mcdonalds and think past $2-$3 is the value of a McDonalds Sandwhich, this will be an amazing long term menu item.

Cookies were also handed out during the event. They never tasted so good!

Cookies were also handed out during the event. They never tasted so good!

The Event:

This was a well coordinated event attended by the owners of the franchise, Phil Gray, his son Clark Gray, and his brother.  There was a mobile advertising vehicle with the inside being a set of a dining room. The McDonalds Moon costumed character was present as well as two hosts.  Cookies and premium coffees were also sampled.

Warm cookies were handed out to attendees as well as a ‘swag bag’ – this was a much a marketing event for the Sandwich as the location itself, having overcome numerous obstacles  to coming out a finished newly remodeled store.

It was similar to an ‘album’ release party in music city, minus the music talent.

Salvadore, a writer and vendor for the Contributor. He said he enjoys the people and staff at this Mcdonalds location.

Salvadore, a writer and vendor for the Contributor. He said he enjoys the people and staff at this Mcdonalds location.

The Community:

I took some time to speak to Salvadore, a vendor and writer for the Contributor. He has held the post near this McDonalds for about 3 weeks. He stated that he was treated well by customers and staff of this location of McDonalds. I also spoke to some other patrons and homeless individuals who all seemed to be in agreement that this was a good location for them.

I also observed one homeless man who had fallen asleep and he was treated with respect, woke up by the time the event ended, and seemed reasonably comfortable, as did the staff.

It was good to see the community at such an event as well as media.

 

Overall:

This McDonalds has had it’s challenges but this media event, the food, and the community seemed to be fairly successful. I’ll be interested in seeing 3 things: More good events from this McDonalds, how the sandwiches fare long term, and how the community continues to be a part of this location. This was as much a victory party for the sandwich itself as well as this McDonalds location emerging back into downtown Nashville.