McDonald's is bringing back a fan-favorite menu item

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

    (CNN) -- McDonald's is bringing back Spicy Chicken McNuggets, but not everyone can buy them.

The fast food chain said that the spicy nuggets are now available at about half of its US locations, or roughly 6,900 locations, for a limited time. McDonald's regularly releases menu items on a regional basis to generate buzz and excitement among its fans.

McDonald's first unveiled the spicy chicken nuggets in 2020, making them the first new McNugget flavor in the United States since the item was introduced in 1983. The nuggets have have a a breaded tempura coating of cayenne and chili peppers, packing a more flavorful punch compared to its regular chicken nuggets.

The chain credits the nuggets for boosting sales two years ago during the initial onset of the pandemic. McDonald's US sales jumped 7.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021 thanks in part to menu price increases, powerful digital sales and popular items like its crispy chicken sandwiches and the limited-time McRib sandwiches.

Limited-time items are an important marketing tool for the food industry to draw foot traffic and interest. These items offer consumers some variety — a key for fast food, as it's a notoriously thin-margin business with little customer loyalty. Offering something new gives people a reason to come back.

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