“Dunkin’ Donuts is now the first national quick service restaurant chain to serve a breakfast sandwich featuring waffles,” chirps the press release about the chain’s limited-edition breakfast sandwich, available until April 15th. Except that the invention, with its maple-syrup-infused waffle, egg, sausage, and cheese is obviously a rip-off of McDonald’s sweet-and-savory breakfast sandwich, the McGriddle. We wondered which one would emerge victorious in a side-by-side taste test.
Value: The McGriddle costs $3.09, while the waffle sandwich costs $3.59. Despite the lower price tag, the McGriddle is obviously the bulkier sandwich, so large that you have to unhinge your jaw like a python to fit it in your mouth. (Perhaps that’s not an advantage if you’re eating while driving or walking.) Accordingly, the McGriddle racks up 560 calories while the waffle sandwich comes in at 410.
Texture: Remember microwaved pancakes? That sort of damp, chewy-spongy texture that almost reminds you of a real pancake but not quite? You eat it, but you feel gross afterward? Both sandwiches have really nailed that. But for some reason, that wrinkled, wettish texture is more off-putting in a waffle. Weirdly, Dunkin’ Donuts claims that the sandwiches are “oven toasted” for crunch. We don’t know what they’re doing to this stuff, but it certainly doesn’t come out crisp — and we tried it seconds after it was handed over the counter.
And what the hell is going on with Dunkin’ Donuts’ egg? It’s a compressed, UFO-shaped disk of yellow sponge. We couldn’t replicate it with an actual egg if we tried all day. McDonald’s at least gestures toward normalcy, with an egg that appears to have been cooked flat and then folded over itself.
Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts’ sausage is flat and dessicated. It looks like a sun-dried sausage. It crunches, and not pleasantly. McDonald’s, again, better replicates the juiciness and tender texture of a pork sausage patty.
Taste: The pancakes swaddling the McGriddle are dotted with what is supposedly maple syrup, lending a bit hit of sweetness. The waffles are also spotted with syrup, but not as heavily, so they’re not as sugary. The cheese in both sandwiches is completely identical, having come from the same bright orange cow.
The fact that the McGriddle’s sausage is so much better tasting, combined with the more pronounced sweet-salty flavor makes it much more appealing than Dunkin’ Donuts’ waffle sandwich. This wasn’t even close: The McGriddle has better value, texture, and taste.
If you’re going to rip off a competitor’s sandwich, shouldn’t you at least make it as good as the original?