Prepare for chaos: McDonald’s announces new BTS Meal for K-pop fans

Screengrab of BTS performing at the Grammy Awards in 2021
Screengrab of BTS performing at the Grammy Awards in 2021
Screenshot: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Recording Academy (Getty Images)

We have already seen what can happen when McDonald’s partners with hugely influential celebrities to collaborate on a promotional meal combo, limited runs of merchandise, and huge ad campaign. Travis Scott’s McDonald’s meal netted him a cool $20 million last fall and helped McDonald’s bounce back from a shaky COVID-19 quarter. Then J Balvin followed suit, to similar success on both the meal and merch front. But now, with a few wins under its belt, McDonald’s is looking to make the biggest splash yet: the chain has announced via press release that a new collab is coming with K-pop sensation BTS.

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It is nearly impossible to overstate the influence that BTS has on K-pop, pop music in general, and the band’s legion of adoring fans—nor can we overstate the influence that those fans, in turn, have on the world in which we live. (Remember when they coordinated an effort to keep people from attending Trump’s Tulsa rally?) So this partnership makes all the sense in the world—as long as McDonald’s can brace for the crush of customers it is about to see flooding its drive-thrus.

Even more exciting is that the BTS Meal will feature flavors not previously available in the United States. Here’s a description of the combo, from the press release:

The superstar band’s signature order includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets®, medium World Famous Fries®, medium Coke®, and for the first time ever in the U.S., Sweet Chili and Cajun dipping sauces inspired by popular recipes from McDonald’s South Korea (cue even more ecstatic celebrating!).

The dipping sauces are 99% of what makes this a “signature offering,” since without those, it fully resembles my McDonald’s order from ages 5-11 (it was then that I came around on cheeseburgers). Let’s hope demand for the Sweet Chili and Cajun condiments doesn’t kick off a Szechuan Sauce–level debacle for franchisees.

“The band has great memories with McDonald’s,” said BIGHIT MUSIC, label of BTS, in the press release. “We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”

The promotion kicks off May 26 in the U.S., and you can order the meal in-restaurant, via mobile app, or for McDelivery. Remember, don’t be an asshole while ordering, and if you try to get the meal and it’s sold out, don’t be an asshole about that, either.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

it fully resembles my McDonald’s order from ages 5-11 (it was then that I came around on cheeseburgers).”

I came around on McBurgers when I could eat an entire Quarter Pounder with Cheese reliably, around age 8 or 9. I was a rail-thin kid without much of an appetite.

Of course nowadays I’m a broken-down old man who can pack away a Double QPC with extra meat—a nice app hack that lets McDonald’s punch in the same weight class as the Wendy’s Triple. I do like nuggs though, so maybe I’ll give this meal a shot if it’s reasonably priced compared to the bog standard 10pc nuggs meal.