We’ve talked a lot about the fails and flops in fast food before, but now it’s time to highlight the products that became icons for their chains, la creme de la creme, the bestsellers, the elite meals that we cannot live without. Let’s dive in with the 10 Biggest Fast Food SUCCESSES Of All Time!
10. Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich
Remember when everybody went crazy over Popeye’s chicken sandwich? Well, apparently, it’s worth all the hype. This crispy fried chicken breast served on a brioche bun and topped with all of your heart’s desires is one of the chain’s most successful items. Ever. And for good reason. This signature sandwich was highly anticipated and is actively still driving people wild to this day. People aren’t messing around when it comes to this sandwich and are willing to do anything to get their hands on one. So much so that, only a few days after its release, poof, it disappeared. Just like that. Popeyes completely sold out and didn’t bring back the adored sandwich until two months later. That must have been a pretty mournful period for the crazed fans hoping to get a taste of one. Finally, after its highly anticipated return, all hell broke loose. A customer allegedly cut the line and was stabbed to death by another customer. That’s how much hype and hysteria this sandwich caused. Some people are way too serious about their chicken sandwiches. Now obviously, this isn’t the exact outcome you’d expect when releasing a new product. Hype and excitement are one thing, but let’s just say, take the craziness level down to half and you would still find yourself with a pretty successful chicken sandwich.
9. White Castle Sliders
These itsy bitsy burgers are White Castle’s pride and joy. Not only are they delicious and cute as a button, but they’re also cooked and prepared in a unique way that no other fast-food chain has ever even thought of. Steaming the beef patties on a pile of onions instead of grilling then flipping with a good old’ spatula is part of the reason these sliders won the hearts of so many. Rehydrated onions, fresh-baked bread, and actual real cheese, not that weird, fake one found in many fast food burgers, are all part of the meticulous and unique preparation process established by White Castle. Before you ask, yes, their small size is totally intentional. Ever heard of the expression “less is more”? Well, that’s exactly how White Castle operates. This mini-meal is made specifically so people want more… and more… and more! Being the first official hamburger fast-food chain, White Castle has learned to adapt and satisfy its customers over the years by giving them exactly what they want: quality. Simple as that. If you’re a fan of the sliders but can’t always afford to go by the restaurant, you can actually find them somewhere else… in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store! Crazy, right? The only downside? No pickles. So if you’re craving that sour little addition to your sliders, add some yourself, good thing you’re already at the grocery store!
8. KFC Original Recipe Chicken
Aaah, fried chicken. The ultimate American comfort food! What wouldn’t you do for a large, soothing bucket of “finger-lickin’ good” fried chicken? Hand-breaded and rolled 7 times in a secret blend of herbs, KFC’s original Chicken Recipe is easily one of the most famous fried chicken brands ever to exist. Well, at least in America. The acclaimed red-and-white-striped bucket was developed in the late 1940s and sold at a gas station stand for the first few years before becoming a worldwide franchise. Many attempts to recreate this renowned feast have been made over the years, but nothing can ever compare to the actual secret recipe. Because well, it’s a secret recipe. The colonel’s chicken batter is one of the most well-guarded trade secrets in the fast food industry to this day – so you can search all you want, the real deal only happens in the KFC kitchens. There’s just something about the way the seasonings seem to hit every right spot. You might find yourself longing for the classic and beloved taste, even when you least expect it. It’s just that good. Whether it’s for a family dinner or just a quiet night by yourself, KFC’s fried chicken is sure to give you all the flavors and aroma you need to be happy.
7. Wendy’s Frosty
This signature frozen drink from Wendy’s has been rockin’ it since 1969. You might think that Wendy’s is only famous for its burgers, but the Frosty is actually one of the their top sellers and part of the original five items on the original menu. Take that, Baconator. Wendy’s sells around 300 million Frostys a year. 300 million, that’s a lot of zeros after that 3 – and probably a lot of brain freeze. Mostly made with milk, sugar, and whey, the creamy, icy beverage comes in only 2 flavors: vanilla or chocolate. But, truth be told, the chocolate is just a tiny bit more successful. Because, well, you know – chocolate. Yes, it tastes amazing, but the true takeaway is the texture. It’s like a merging of milkshake and soft-serve ice cream – a lactose intolerant’s nightmare basically – and it is divine. You’re not really sure if you’re enjoying a beverage or a meal. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy dipping their fries in their milkshakes anyways? Well, lactose-intolerant people, I guess. Sorry about that. Not to worry, though – if that’s the case, you could always try to recreate this treat at home. A lot of lactose-free recipes are available online, so not all hope is lost!
6. McDonald’s Happy Meal
Who says you need to be a kid to enjoy a Happy Meal from McDonald’s? What if you’re a kid at heart? Or just, really not that hungry? Well, either way, the Happy Meal is now the Golden Arches’ fourth most popular meal of all time, with over 3.6 billion sold worldwide. Its small-sized portions and iconic collectible toys have been making children – and adults – happy since its first appearance in the late 1970s. There are many meal options to choose from, such as chicken nuggets, hamburgers, or even wraps, and the best part is, they all come with a dessert and a drink. Everything to make a kid happy. Another sure way to make a kid happy is with toys, and McDonald’s figured that out pretty quickly. Each Happy Meal box comes with a little themed toy to make the food even more magical and enjoyable. From books to video games to little stuffed animals, the possibilities are endless – making Mickey D’s the biggest toy distributor in the world. Some parents even say the toys help them bond with their child during dinner time. And that’s exactly what you want. Even though it’s a meal made for kids, many people find themselves buying the occasional fun box for old time’s sake. Come on now, don’t feel guilty; there’s just something so endearing about Happy Meals.
5. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
Let’s make something clear right away: liking Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte does not make you “basic.” It just means you’re a sucker for autumn, and you have good taste. Period. The whole “basic” shenanigans should be put to rest for good. Now, let’s get into how this delicious treat came to be. After its release in the fall of 2003, the festive drink was immediately a hit. Starbucks knew right away that they had a winner on their hands and the autumn themed latte would be a tremendous success. And boy, were they right. Prepared with pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and espresso, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is literally “fall” in a cup that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling and makes you feel instantly relaxed. It’s hard not to associate this particular drink with Starbucks, even as so many other coffee chains have made their own versions of the PSL. But Starbucks made it iconic. I mean after all, they are its original creators. So, I guess it’s fair. It’s as if the entire fall season belonged to Starbucks. Weird, yet justifiable. Even if Pumpkin Spice Lattes are technically available all year long – if you know how to order it from the secret menu – its annual release always creates this sort of magical frenzy that leaves you wishing fall was a never ending fairytale.
4. Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts
If you’re looking for a classic, savory and yummy dessert, Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts are the perfect match for you. With its original recipe still exactly the same since its debut, the Glazed Doughnuts are easily the most iconic item on Krispy Kreme’s menu. The founder of the chain actually bought the original doughnut recipe from a New Orleans chef in the 1930s, marking the beginning of a dangerous addiction when it comes to these little delicacies. These tasty pastries are made and fried in-house at least twice a day, which is one of the things that separate them from their competitors – freshness always guaranteed. That means whenever you pop in, there’s going to be a freshly glazed doughnut ready and waiting for you. Or 12. No judging here. Developed specifically to smell irresistible, one whiff when going by the store is enough to compel you to go in. It’s just impossible to resist. People have even tried to recreate that iconic smell by making these at home, but it’s never the same as walking in and being submerged by all the aromas. While there are so many more types of doughnuts available at Krispy Kreme, these glazed treats have proven to be the fan’s favorite and go-to flavor. When in doubt, go with the classics!
3. Taco Bell Burrito Supreme
What do you get when you mix a soft tortilla, seasoned ground beef, spicy red sauce, and a whole bunch of condiments? A perfect Taco Bell Burrito Supreme. This taco is probably one of the biggest hits Taco Bell has ever known, mostly because of the simplicity and tastiness of the ingredients. Nothing easier than beans, vegetables, low-fat sour cream, and real cheddar cheese to make a customer in search of a hearty meal happy. Simple yet effective. The chain even crowned this burrito ” The Supreme Ruler of the Burrito Empire”. So, if that doesn’t prove its significance, then I don’t know what will. Even if today it often gets overlooked because of all the new, fancy insane items available at Taco Bell, the Burrito Supreme could never lose its title. For those looking for something different than ground beef, you also have the option of chicken or steak, but let’s face it, ground beef is The ultimate supreme meat for this burrito. You just know it is. While Taco Bell might not be the most popular fast-food chain in America, it still serves around two billion customers each year and offers its Mexican-inspired food in over 7 000 restaurants across the globe. This gives you plenty of opportunity to find a store near you and try out the Burrito Supreme. It is called Supreme after all, so, what are you waiting for?
2. Burger King Whopper
In 1957, a legend was born—a burger legend. The famous Whopper is Burger King’s most iconic item and continues to be the chain’s signature item. One of the main things that makes this burger so special is its size. Because, as most of you know, it’s not exactly a tiny meal. It’s a regular flame-broiled burger, only really big. Like ridiculously big. Nothing compared to those White Castle sliders, that’s for sure. BK’s co-founder, Jim McLamore, is said to have created the Whopper that big, to compete with rival restaurants like McDonald’s, who at the time, only served their small hamburgers. The name Whopper was to “convey the imagery of something big.” Well, that was definitely achieved. You can’t say Whopper without picturing an enormous burger. It’s just impossible. This giant is made of a quarter-pound patty and has the basic burger ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, but you can pretty much customize it as you wish. Over the last 60 years of its existence, the Whopper was bound to see some variations. The most common ones are the Double and Triple Whoppers – as if the original wasn’t big enough already – the Bacon and Cheese, and the Veggie Whopper. We can’t forget the Whopper Jr., which is basically a tiny version of the original. Of course, there have been an insane number of variants, but these are the ones that can still be found on the menu. This ultimate fast-food burger is undoubtedly an icon and deserves its spot in the burger hall of fame. Because honestly, with a burger that big, you can practically get into anywhere you want.
1. McDonald’s Big Mac
This burger needs no introduction. You all know it. It’s the burger that changed the face of fast food. Literally. Born in the 1960s, the Big Mac is undoubtedly the most famous burger from McDonald’s. Made up of, not one, but two beef patties, cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce, toasted sesame seed buns, and its “special sauce,” the Big Mac is a worldwide delicacy. It was an immediate roaring success and has since been sold in over 121 countries. It’s one of the great things about it. So whether you’re in France or the States, you can savor this juicy, iconic burger. While menu items vary from one country to another, the Big Mac stays the same, no matter where you go – except India, that is, where there is no beef or pork on the Mc D menu. What might differ, though, is the cost. In case you’re curious, Switzerland has the world’s most expensive Big Mac, and Venezuela has the cheapest. Now you know where to get your money’s worth. The Big Mac has almost kept the exact recipe from its first creation. The only difference? The secret sauce. It’s been fiddled with a little over the years but still contains the same basics: mayonnaise, yellow mustard, and sweet pickle relish. Today, you can even buy the sauce at the grocery store. Who would have thought that the secret recipe would one day be sold on store shelves? What a wild concept. An even wilder concept is the Big Mac Museum. Yes, you heard that right. There is an entire museum dedicated to this delicious burger in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. If you’re a Big Mac fanatic, you know where to go for your next vacation.