Cosmc, a Forgotten ‘80s McDonald’s Character, Is Getting a Restaurant Chain

The new concept emphasizes energy drinks over burgers.
McDonald's just unveiled CosMc's—its new spinoff brand
McDonald's just unveiled CosMc's—its new spinoff brand / CNBC Television

On the heels of announcing a significant hamburger revamp and the cessation of self-serve soda machines, fast food giant McDonald’s is taking another big swing. They’re set to open a new chain of spin-off restaurants dubbed CosMc’s. But the inspiration is a McDonaldland character you probably don’t remember.

This week, the company officially announced the opening of the first CosMc’s in Bolingbrook, Illinois, which it says will be centered on a variety of beverages and foods meant to fuel workouts and afternoon slumps rather than the burger-and-fries template of their existing Golden Arches locations.

“CosMc’s menu is rooted in beverage exploration, with bold and unexpected flavor combinations, vibrant colors and functional boosts,” the press release notes. “You’ll see a range of specialty lemonades and teas, indulgent blended beverages and cold coffee—think Sour Cherry Energy Slush, Tropical Spiceade and S’mores Cold Brew. Make it yours with customizations at every turn: popping boba, flavor syrups, energy or Vitamin C shots, and so much more.”

The menu will also include a spicy queso sandwich and creamy avocado tomatillo sandwich as well as a variety of snacks: pretzel bites, hash browns, pastries, and desserts. The only McDonald’s menu items to make the jump are Egg McMuffins and an M&Ms McFlurry.

The new iteration takes its name from CosMc, a six-armed alien who was featured in McDonald’s advertising beginning in the mid- to late 1980s. In McDonald’s lore, the orange extraterrestrial—who looks somewhat like a slug in a space suit—came to Earth to swipe McDonald’s food. In a “bio” found on the CosMc’s website, CosMc is said to have returned to space armed with the McDonald’s menu, which the creature altered and has now brought back to Earth.

The first CosMc’s is set to open Friday, December 8, with up to 10 more locations expected to roll out in Texas in 2024. The company says it will evaluate the consumer response in these pilot sites before making a decision on whether to expand the concept.

McDonald’s has had success recently with legacy characters. CNN reports that the brand saw a significant boost on the heels of their recent Grimace birthday promotion, which made use of the purple blob and became a viral media sensation, with videos of people sampling a purple Grimace shake and then pretending to drop dead. The Hamburglar was also resurrected.

The chain’s marquee character, Ronald McDonald, continues to lay low after withdrawing from the public eye in 2016, a result of public hysteria over the murderous clown trope. But even that might be changing: Ronald made an appearance in the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

[h/t The Takeout]