Fast food is known for its convenience and its relatively reasonable prices. Yet, quality often falls behind as fast food chains scramble to attract customers in an increasingly competitive industry. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that some fast food items simply didn’t meet expectations.
10. Bowled Over
Kentucky Fried Chicken has been selling delicious fried chicken and sides for decades and has a huge following, but that doesn’t mean the southern fried fast food king doesn’t make mistakes. The KFC Famous Bowl seems like one of these mistakes. The bowl is a savory sundae with mashed potatoes instead of ice cream topped with fried popcorn chicken, cheese and gravy. When a product serves as a cautionary tale on a site like webmd.com it’s pretty clear something has gone awry. A registered dietician on the site gave the KFC Famous Bowl a thumbs down, but did recommend the Honey Barbecue Sandwich. This chicken sandwich is relatively lean compared to the Famous Bowl. The Honey Barbecue Sandwich might not be a green salad, but it feels like it when you consider the pile of fat that make up the Famous Bowl. Taken separately, the ingredients in this fast food item are fine, but throwing them together into an avalanche of food just didn’t meet expectations.
9. And…Cut – It’s a McWrap
The Premium McWrap is a McDonald’s menu item you’d be more likely to find at Subway or Panera. This alternative to burgers is a mix of grilled or fried chicken breast with cheese, lettuce and tomato folded into a wheat wrap. McDonald’s offered a selection of McWraps including Sweet Chili Chicken, Chicken and Bacon and Chicken and Ranch. You might think these would be can’t miss menu items in our era of greater health consciousness, but according to a Bloomberg article this thinking is wrong. The fast food giant was trying to target finicky millennials with its Premium McWraps, but apparently it simply didn’t meet this demographic’s expectations. McDonald’s believed that these customers were looking for lower calorie, healthier options, but it turned out they were satisfied with the traditional fast food fare of burgers and fries. Perhaps part of the problem was some of the McWraps were fairly high in fat. You can do better than this choosing some of McDonald’s burgers and many people did just that. Despite the lack of popularity the Premium McWrap did seem like a pretty good idea that should have caught on with more customers. On the other hand if someone wanted a healthier choice they could just go to a place like Subway that specializes in these kinds of sandwiches and not hamburgers.
8. No Waffling!
The Taco Bell Waffle Taco is what it sounds like: a waffle folded into the shape of a taco with breakfast fillings like scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage. This menu item is a good example of the idea that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. McDonald’s has a long track record of coming up with decent breakfast items that customers like such as the Egg McMuffin, hot cake and sausage and the McGriddle. It seems like Taco Bell was trying to do a Mexican-themed version of an Egg McMuffin or a McGriddle. It might have sounded good in theory, but looks like a lazy attempt to improvise a snack customers can eat while they’re driving to work. Since people do want a fast food breakfast item they can eat in the car Taco Bell decided to give the Biscuit Taco a try. Like the Waffle Taco it contains scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage or bacon. With the Biscuit Taco you can also get fried chicken strips with either country gravy or jalapeño honey. The Biscuit Taco sounds like it had potential, but it didn’t fare any better than Waffle Taco. The Waffle Taco lasted for about a year before being discontinued in 2015 after disappointing sales. Taco Bell does offer Cinnabon delights: these are little balls of sweet dough filled with creamy icing. And these certainly can be eaten in the car on the way to work.
7. Buyrito Bowl?
Chipotle still sells its Burrito Bowl even though its reputation with customers is not very good. The fast food restaurant’s online menu shows the different ingredients customers can choose. There is a selection meats, beans, rice and toppings that allow customers to create their own custom Burrito Bowls. Chipotle’s Burrito’s have generally received good reviews from customers so what’s the problem with the bowls? A burrito without the flour tortilla wrapping isn’t good? In October 2016 Buzzfeed.com invited readers to fill out poll questions prompting them to find out “How Unpopular is Your Chipotle Order?” The Burrito Bowl is one of menu items readers were asked to rate. What explains the disappointment with the Burrito Bowl? The Chipotle brand took a hit a few years ago when the fast food chain struggled to deal with a series of contaminated food incidents. The incidents caused customers to reconsider just how safe it was to eat at a Chipotle restaurant. The safety scare doesn’t explain the specific issues with the Burrito Bowls that failed to meet many peoples’ expectations. Perhaps any weaknesses with the flavors and textures of the meats and toppings are masked by the wrap, but are left exposed when featured in the bowls. Customers can be finicky, but they have made their feelings known: Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl didn’t meet expectations.
6. Hotdog and Burger Crust
Every once in a while Pizza chains like Pizza Hut up the ante with their toppings or their crust or both. In this case Pizza Hut escalated the pizza crust wars with the introduction of Cheeseburger and Hotdog crusts. You might be tempted to think these are just colorful names attached to perfunctory changes to crust, but these are exactly what they sound like. The Cheeseburger crust is a deluxe crust option that consists of adding as many as eight cheeseburgers to a pizza. Instead of using standard burger buns it is more puff pastry according to lifehacker.com.au, but each puff of pastry holds a burger patty and cheese. Pizza Hut came up with the tag line: “a cheeseburger in every slice.” According to some tasters the Cheeseburgers don’t really taste like cheeseburger, which seems a little strange since making a decent cheeseburger is pretty fundamental part of the fast food industry. Even though Pizza Hut specializes in Pizza and related menu items it is disappointing to learn the fast food chain struggled to come up with a decent burger. Businessinsider.com called the Hotdog crust “bizarre.” This might be a little strong, but it’s reasonable to assume many pizza lovers don’t feel the need to add hotdogs to their pizza crust. It’s a question of overkill: you can like hotdogs, cheeseburgers and pizza, but this doesn’t mean you want them transformed into some kind of fast food science experiment.
5. Canadian Baconator
Wendy’s Baconator Burger was designed to increase sales in U.S. locations with the key fast food demographic of 18 to 34- year-olds. But it was the Canadian Football League that took it to the next level. As part of a cross promotion the league named Wendy’s Baconator its official burger. Canadian customers were given a bacon shaped scratch ticket with every purchase of a Baconator. Winners would get the chance to attend a CFL halftime and build a giant Baconator sandwich. The baconator consists of two beef patties, strips of bacon, ketchup, mayonnaise and American cheese on bun. This sounds like a winning burger so what happened? According to a sampling of customers who posted their thoughts on a product review site there was a wide range of reasons the Baconator failed to meet expectations. The complaints includes words like “bland,” “expensive,” “small,” and “not enough bacon.” Several customers expressed their disappointment that the marketing photographs had enticed them to order the sandwich and then the actual product looked nothing like what they were expecting. In fairness to Wendy’s all businesses use ideal images in their advertising that often don’t match up with reality. Some people just can’t be pleased, but it sounds like there were some legitimate issues with the Baconator. Perhaps these issues could have been addressed by Wendy’s to make it a more successful sandwich.
4. That’s a Lot of Bread
It seems like everyone loves pizza and no matter where you go you can find a pizza shop. You can’t always find a really good pizza place, but even mediocre pizza is usually worth eating. Domino’s used to get a bad rap for letting the quality of its pizza slide as it expanded they menu into other areas. Some say the fast food chain has elevated its game in recent years. Taste in pizza, like most other things, is very subjective, but Domino’s does offer salads, sandwiches and pasta for customers who are looking for some different. However, these customers may not have been looking for Bread Bowl Pizza Pasta. This is a bit of a mouthful literally and figuratively. The regular pizzas at Domino’s are made with plenty of dough, but they must of thought they needed a way to up the carbohydrate count so they came up with Bread Bowl Pizza Pasta that is pretty much what i sounds like: a bread bowl made of pizza dough filled with pasta and your choice of pizza toppings. After Reeses combined chocolate and peanut butter people started thinking two great things must go great together, but this isn’t true. Pizza is great and bread bowls are probably good and pasta is usually good. The question is whether they should be combined into one glutenous item? Apparently Domino’s customers felt these items went a little too far and failed to meet expectations.
3. Box it up
Kentucky Fried Chicken’s United Kingdom site describes its Zinger Rice Box as “One piece of our Original Recipe chicken fillet with steamed Tex Mex rice, fresh lettuce and a bean salsa, drizzled with sour cream sauce. Light, filling and delicious.” (Zinger refers to a mild spicy and tangy flavoring.) KFC UK also offers an Original Recipe Rice Box. Frankly these meals look and sound pretty good, but sometimes when the items are purchased at a store they just fail to meet expectations. A site called burgerlad.com took upon itself to review a KFC Rice Box. This site gave the Zinger Rice Box an ok review, but chose not to review the Original Recipe Rice Box. The KFC Nacho Box also seems like a good idea. An Australian YouTube advertisement for this product makes a pretty good case, but as we’ve learned, marketing and reality sometimes do not match up. This snack item offers the popular popcorn chicken, cheese and salsa over a bed of tortilla chips. It seems like this one comes down to the quality of the ingredients. For example, nice big, crunchy chips would be good, but broken, soggy chips would definitely not work. Either way it does feel a little strange to have KFC trying to sell nachos. The fast food chain shouldn’t have been surprised these failed to meet expectations.
2. The King’s Philly Cheeseburger is Dead
The Extra Long Philly Cheeseburger is not the first sandwich offered by Burger King that features two beef patties. The fast food chain also offered an extended version of its chicken patty. ThePhilly sandwich includes American cheese, fried onions as well as a cheese sauce that is supposed to replicate the classic cheese sauces found on authentic Philly cheese steak sandwiches. It seems like the cheese sauce is the key to whether or not this sandwich works or not. The Burger King Philly is served on a hoagie-style roll with the pair of beef patties resting side by side covered in cheese and onions. This sandwich sounds like it should be a tasty hit, but potential isn’t always realized in the real world. People who enjoy Philly cheese steak sandwiches, especially people who tasted local Philadelphia sandwiches expect a certain level of quality. No doubt fast chains like Burger King do strive for a certain level of quality, but sometimes it falls short when other factors come into play like producing the sandwiches fast and cheap. Most restaurants are careful about controlling there costs so they can turn a profit and stay in business, but chains like Burger King operate under very slim profit margins and must control costs often by cutting corners. In this case it seems like cutting corners resulted in a cheeseburger that simply didn’t meet expectations.
1. Unring the Bell
In 2014 Taco Bell introduced its Spicy Tostada as part of the fast food chain’s $1 cravings value menu. This inexpensive Tostada was offered with refried beans, red sauce, creamy chipotle sauce, shredded lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese on a Tostada shell. This sounds like a decent list of ingredients, but we know the ingredients are only part of what makes a tasty snack. Done right, it’ll be tastier than the sum of its parts. According to a reviewer at brandeating.com Taco Bell’s Spicy Tostada was not very impressive. The reviewer did mention the this latest version of Taco Bell’s Tostada had more lettuce and tomatoes were added to the recipe. One of the problems with this menu item is that it is billed as a “spicy” tostada, but the chipotle sauce was judged to be decidedly mediocre. In exchange for this less than overwhelming flavor you would have to consume 200 calories with 10 grams of fat and 440 mg of sodium. These numbers represent a significant amount of calories and sodium for a small snack. People know they’re not getting “health food” when they order at a fast food chain and most of us will accept this if the food is of good quality. However, if the food’s not very good as well as being unhealthy then there’s going to be a problem. It’s not surprising then, that Taco Bell’s not very Spicy Tostada didn’t meet some people’s expectations. Maybe Taco bell should have tried to sell the KFC each Box with popcorn chicken instead of the Spicy Tostada.