In the world of fast-food, innovation is key. Chains constantly have to reinvent themselves and come up with new products to satisfy their customers. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we wish certain items had stayed on the menu and in our lives for longer. Here are the Top 10 Discontinued Fast Food Items We Want Brought Back NOW (Part 6).
10. KFC’s Cheetos Sandwich
Are you one of those people who likes to add Cheetos to everything just to give it that extra cheesy crunch? Well, if you’re always walking around with orange fingers, then KFC Cheetos Sandwich was the perfect fast-food fix for you. Rolled out as a limited-time-only offer destined to become a huge success, the Cheetos Sandwich was the definition of perfection. This comfort food mashup consisted of a crispy chicken filet smothered in a special Cheetos sauce and wedged inside a standard KFC bun, with some mayo and, of course, a layer of crunchy Cheetos. This collaboration between the Colonel and Chester Cheetah was, in fact, both dangerously cheesy and finger-lickin’ good and left more than one person wanting more. The Cheetos Sandwich was released along with some other Cheetos products; Cheetos hot wings, Cheetos-loaded fries, and Cheetos mac and cheese – each one just as delicious than the last. With a perfect ratio of crispy Cheetos, hot and juicy chicken, and creamy sauce, this sandwich was always meant to stay on the menu temporarily, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t make a greatly anticipated return. With a cult-like following of Cheetos fans and the undying loyalty to the stripped bucket, there is no doubt this could become the new fast-food favorite of many. In the meantime, there are some recipes online which try and recreate the deliciousness of the Cheetos Sandwich, so you can always give it a go while waiting for the real deal to come back.
9. McDonald’s Mighty Wings
When you go to McDonald’s, chances are, you can probably satisfy about just any craving you have. Whether it’s burgers, chicken sandwiches, or even milkshakes, there is something for every mood. However, one thing missing from the menu is something rather iconic in American culture, chicken wings. A nice plate of hot, steamy wings could take a traditional McD’s experience and make it even better. The thing is, they did have wings – once. The Mighty Wings were juicy, bone-in chicken wings covered in a bold, spicy breading offered at McDonald’s in 2013. Available with your choice of tasty dipping sauces – similar to the McNuggets – the Mighty Wings was fast-food innovation at its best. These tasty, moist wings were off to a flying start, but apparently it was short-lived. People started to complain that they were too pricey, and well, a little too spicy as well – if that’s possible. After sluggish sales in the following months, McDonald’s decided to pull the plug and deprive the world of their delicious wings. Over the years, a lot of people have been asking for them to be put back on the regular menu, but McDonald’s doesn’t seem to want to risk it again.
8. Burger King’s Funnel Cake Sticks
Burger King is mostly known for serving up delicious, flame broiled burgers. As the Home of the Whopper, we wouldn’t expect anything else. However, BK also has some tricks up its sleeve when it comes to sweet and tasty dessert options. Back in 2009, they dipped into sweet carnival nostalgia when they rolled out the BK Funnel Cake Sticks. The sticks were basically everything you love about funnel cakes, only these ones came in the convenient and satisfying shape of a french fry. These little delights were hot, crispy, funnel cake sticks fried to crispy perfection, topped with powdered sugar, and served with a generous portion of sugary dipping sauce. Sure, it wasn’t the healthiest thing on the menu, but then again, is anything really healthy at Burger King, anyway? And for the ridiculously small price you had to pay, it was definitely worth the extra spike in your blood sugar levels! Even though they were discontinued only a little while after they came out, the Funnel Cake Sticks made a triumphant comeback in 2019, but only for a limited time, this time using the name “fries” instead of “sticks”. This revamped version of a classic carnival treat has been highly praised on social media, and a lot of people would be willing to do just about anything to get them on the permanent menu where they belong.
7. Jack in the Box’s Frings
When you go to a fast-food restaurant, do you spend endless time just trying to figure out what you want? Do you break into a cold sweat when the cashier asks you what side you want to go with your order? Then Jack in the Box had the perfect, tasty solution just for you. Frings were ideal for the indecisive junk food eates, as they brought together two of the most popular sides; French fries and Onions Rings – both in the same little bag. Ok, so it doesn’t sound too “crazy” or revolutionary, especially considering Jack in the Box still serves both of those things. Sure, it’s easy enough to just order the fries and the onions rings separately and call it a day; however, people really underestimate the pure joy you felt by only ordering one – and getting both. Introduced in 1979, the Frings didn’t last very long on the menu, as they were quickly discontinued only one year after. While a lot of people would consider them to be a huge flop, it hasn’t taken away from its devoted fandom that is desperately trying to get them to make a come back. Some other fast-food joints have tried to copy this ingenious trend, but the OG idea is credited to Jack in the Box. At least now you know there was a way to put a stop to your “fast-food order jitters.” The Frings might be gone, but they will never be forgotten.
6. KFC’s Apple Turnover
Apple pie is a dessert staple in America, and it has been forever. There’s nothing like a tasty, gooey, sweet apple pie to end a meal – especially at a fast-food outlet. Since it’s such a classic dessert, it goes without saying that a lot of fast-food joints have put their own version of the apple pie on their menus. Like Popeye’s Cinnamon Apple Pie or even Taco Bell’s Caramel Apple Empanada, for example. While some are still offered today, we had to say goodbye to a lot of very good ones. One of which was the Apple Turnover from KFC. Back in the day, you could enjoy a crisp, flaky crust, gooey cinnamon apple filled turnover after your giant bucket of fried chicken. But that was in the good old days. Today, you can literally get a full Bundt cake at KFC, but not a baked apple treat. Unfair? Yes. But, surprising? Not really, seeing as there seems to be a trend of discontinuing apple pies served at fast-food restaurants. Just think about the Fried Apple Pie from McDonald’s. Sure, it’s been replaced by another apple pie, but it’s never been the same. KFC’s Apple Turnovers were delicious, cheap, and oh so hard to resist! They definitely deserved more time to shine, and if they were to come back on the menu, they would undoubtedly be a huge success.
5. McDonald’s Onion Nuggets
While we’re very thankful for our current little chicken McNuggets, there is still a variation of those nuggets that we would love to still have in our lives – and those are Onion Nuggets. These deep-fried onion bits were part of McDonald’s dollar menu and could’ve stood a real chance if they hadn’t been overshadowed by the popular chicken McNuggets. Indeed, as a true fast-food relic from the late 1970s, the onion Nuggets were the first rendition of nuggets on the McD’s menu. They were developed as an alternative to onion rings and tested in various U.S. markets until McD’s eventually decided to stop working on the project and focus on chicken instead. Meaning, we got our precious chicken nuggets but lost the delicious onion ones. The Onion Nuggets were also an attempt to please vegetarians by offering some meatless options, but it didn’t matter. The legendary deep-fried Onion Nuggets were short-lived, as they were discontinued not long after they came out. It seemed as if people could not be swayed away from their traditional onion rings. However, today, we would never say no to some onion nuggets at McDonald’s. After all, they are one of the few fast-food chains to not serve any kind of onion rings, so this little add-on wouldn’t hurt!
4. Burger King’s Dinner Baskets
Do you ever get tired of waiting in line for your food at your favorite fast-food place? Getting pushed aside while the next person places their order? If that’s the case, then you would’ve loved Burger King’s Dinner Baskets. Introduced in the early 1990s, the Dinner Baskets, along with the Table Service tat came with them, were part of Burger King’s move to go slightly upscale and reinvent themselves. The short-lived experiment consisted of new food offerings and fancy new services, all designed to make you forget you were eating at a fast-food restaurant. During dinner hours, between 4 pm and 8 pm, you would order your food, as usual, only you would get a number for your table and a basket of popcorn to munch on while you waited. Then a few minutes later, a person would bring your food to your table in baskets. The Dinner Baskets options included the Whopper Dinner Basket, the Steak Sandwich Dinner Basket, the Chicken Dinner Basket, and the Shrimp Dinner Basket. The best part about these baskets was that you could choose some new side options, like Fries or Baked Potato, AND Cole Slaw or Side Salad to go with your food. This whole promotion was accompanied by some high energy commercials featuring Dan Cortese as Dan the Whopper Man. The Dinner Baskets, as tasty and cheap as they were, never really took off, and Burger King quickly retired its table service. What a shame.
3. Wendy’s Superbar
Unlike many of the other items on this list, Wendy’s Superbar wasn’t discontinued because it was a flop – but because it was too much of a hit! Believe it or not, for a very brief and divine period during the late ’80s and ’90s, Wendy’s offered what most people would consider a dream come true: an all-you-can-eat buffet! You could create your own meal with salad, fruit, “Mexican Fiesta” and even “Pasta Pasta” stations. The Mexican Fiesta included a taco bar with taco fixings and tasty meats. At the pasta station, you could choose between different types of spaghetti and sauces, and also pick up some breadsticks. Plus, as a bonus, there was a dessert area with chocolate and vanilla pudding. The best part of this amazing buffet? You could load up your tray with as much as you wanted and as many times as you wanted for the low price of $2.99! The only problem with this otherwise delicious idea was that most customers took full advantage of the all-you-can-eat policy. Of course, that’s what a buffet is for, however, employees struggled to keep the buffet cleaned and stocked at all times, making this more of a hassle than it was worth. The Superbar was sadly closed down in 1998, and the world of fast-food has yet to find something to take its place.
2. Taco Bell’s Seafood Salad
When you think about Taco Bell, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a beef taco or some kind of burrito – but probably not a salad. And especially not a seafood salad. But, turns out, in the 1980s, Taco Bell thought it would be a good idea to compete with the Filet-O-Fish, and came up with the Seafood Salad. While it may not seem like it would be very fitting, considering Taco Bell is, well, a taco place, but it was more than suitable. It was also one of Taco Bell’s earlier attempts to offer meat-free and “healthy” alternatives on their menus. Obviously, it wasn’t that healthy as it was served in a fried taco shell, but still, nice try! The Seafood salad was a blend of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and some “tender” bay shrimp, and a mix of snow crab and whitefish. The commercials for this under-the-sea treasure also took a jab at McDonald’s, asking, “why order fish if it ends up looking like a burger?” Taco Bell advertised the Seafood Salad as a “refreshing change from anything on a bun,” and based its entire promotional campaign around that theme. They ended up discontinuing the salad, mostly because it wasn’t popular enough, and it wasn’t cost-effective anymore.
1. McDonald’s McAfrika
Even though this next item was never served in the United States, we still wish McDonald’s would bring it back so more people could give it a try. The McAfrika failed, not because it wasn’t tasty, but because it garnered quite a lot of criticism and created a lot of controversy. You see, the McAfrika was released in 2002 as a special edition item in Norway, one of the world’s richest countries. The kick? It was released at a time when a major famine hit South Africa, and 12 million people were facing starvation. Obviously, the sandwich sparked outrage, and many pointed out the cruel irony of naming a burger after a continent where millions were not even able to get the basics. Let’s just say the timing of the marketing campaign wasn’t the best. The McAfrika was said to be based upon an authentic African recipe. It consisted of beef, cheese, tomatoes, and salad, all in pita bread. McDonald’s did acknowledge the poor timing and allowed humanitarian groups to set up collection boxes and informational posters in locations that sold the burger. Maybe if McD’s rebranded the burger, gave it another name and another backstory, it could do quite well and even become a menu staple.