Fast food has become part of the American fabric. Restaurant chains have continued to come up with so many genius and delicious items over the years. However, just because you might love something, it doesn’t mean everyone else will feel the same way. On that note, here are the Top 10 Fast Food Items That Totally FAILED in America (Part 3).
10. Jack in the Box’s Cheesy Macaroni Bites
Macaroni & cheese is absolutely one of the best American comfort foods out there! Many fast-food chains have tampered with mac & cheese over the years, and in 2008, Jack in the Box was the latest chain to experiment with a hand-held variation of the cheesy dish. They really thought they hit the jackpot with these Cheesy Macaroni Bites. The bites were basically fried wedges of creamy Kraft macaroni and cheese wrapped in a crunchy, tempura-style coating. They were sold as a limited-time offer at participating locations during the Summer and gathered quite a lot of hype during the initial announcement. After all, we’re talking about fried mac & cheese treats – who wouldn’t be excited about that? They were touted as finger food that was “convenient and portable.” There was even kind of a weird claim surrounding them, saying that because of their compact triangular shape, they were safer to eat while driving. Why would a shape in any way affect your driving safety? No clue, but these salty, creamy bombs didn’t need any extra help becoming a fan favorite. It’s still a mystery as to why these little fried pockets of goodness didn’t stick around and stay on the permanent menu, but one thing is for sure, they had one heck of a ride.
9. Burger King’s Burger Shots
Besides the Whopper, Burger King has come up with a lot of original, successful menu items since it first opened its doors. However, it has also delivered its fair share of failed copycat items in the ongoing battle with other competing chains. Like when it tried to go up against White Castle on numerous occasions – going all the way back to the 1980s. White Castle is one of the oldest fast-food chains in America and is well-known for serving delicious sliders. Burger King, wanting to get some slider fame of their own, came up with Burger Bundles in the late 1980s, then changed the name to Burger Buddies. They were essentially sliders, aka mini burgers that came in a set of three or six – remind you of any other fast-food place? Maybe it was because people weren’t interested in buying tiny burgers at a chain where you could get a gigantic Whopper, or maybe it was because the ridiculously small patties reportedly kept slipping through the production broiler time after time. Either way, the Burger Buddies did not last long. They were reintroduced, again, in early 2011 as Burger Shots, and this time, with the choice of beef or chicken patties. Needless to say, if it failed not once but twice before, chances are, a third time won’t be the charm. So Burger King seems to have given up on the idea for the time being, but there’s no telling if they will revisit the mini burgers one day…
8. Wendy’s Superbar
Have you ever wished you could just roll into your favorite fast-food joint and eat as much as you wanted without having to worry about the bill going up? Well, during the late ’80s and ’90s, Wendy’s came up with one of the best ideas – or possibly the worst , depending on who you asked, the customers or the employees – an all-you-can-eat buffet! Named “the Superbar,” the buffet included salad, fruits, a dessert area with chocolate and vanilla pudding, a “Mexican Fiesta,” and a “Pasta Pasta” station. The Mexican Fiesta section was a taco bar where you could build your own taco with tons of fixings. As for the Pasta Pasta station, it featured different types of pasta and sauces, along with breadsticks. You could load up your tray as much as you wanted and as many times as you wanted, for the mere price of $2.99. On paper, it sounds like a marvelous idea that would revolutionize the world of fast-food, but in reality, it was a hot mess. Because it was so popular, keeping calm and order inside the restaurant was no easy task. Employees struggled to keep the buffet cleaned and stocked at all times while still performing their usual behind-the-counter duties. And let’s just say customers took full advantage of the “all-you-can-eat” policy. As time passed, it became impossible to keep the buffet running smoothly, and the last Superbar was closed down in 1998. Sure, you want your idea to become a success, but this time, it looks like Wendy’s bit off more than it could chew.
7. KFC’s Potato Wedges
With so many fried chicken joints nowadays, it’s getting harder to pick just one favorite. They all offer pretty much the same type of menu, and it all comes down to the quality of everything. However, before 2020, KFC had one little advantage that set them apart from the other chains – its potato wedges. No other fast-food chain had dared to go with the wedges; most were playing it safe with the classic shoestring or crinkle-cut fries, but KFC? They used these as an opportunity to stand out. Sadly, the wedges are nowhere to be found today. It all began when KFC started developing classic french fries to add to their menu back in 2019. The Secret Recipe Fries were seasoned with the same 11 herbs and spices used to flavor its famous fried chicken, and the response was apparently very positive. So positive, in fact, that the chain decided to give them a permanent spot on the menu. But, this meant getting rid of the beloved wedges – and that didn’t sit too well with a lot of people. While KFC called this switch a “welcome and long-awaited change for customers,” many customers did not agree. They took to the internet to express their displeasure and anger, demanding that KFC reverse the change. It was the end of an era for one of the chain’s most unique sides, which had been on the menu since the early 1990s.
6. McDonald’s Fried Apple Pie
Apple pie in America is about as iconic as it gets. So is just about any type of deep fried food. Put the two of them together, and you have yourself a really delicious treat. And what better fast-food restaurant to market such an amazing dessert than McDonald’s. First introduced in 1968, the fried apple pie was a deep-fried pie served hot in a cardboard sleeve – similar to the one we know today. It was tasty, it was comforting – and it was also very bad for you – not much of a surprise there. Then, in 1992, McDonald’s turned the pie world upside down. As customers started expecting healthier menu choices from restaurants – even fast-food chains – and people became a little more health focused, McDonald’s replaced its crispy, delicious, fried crust with a much blander baked pie recipe. It obviously caused great upheaval among the fan base, causing the eruption of petitions left and right. Even though the new recipe was slightly healthier, it didn’t seem substantial enough to justify the loss of the deep-fried version, which angered fans even more. McD’s latest attempt to make the apple pie healthier was in 2018 when it changed the recipe yet again and switched it with something that contains less sugar and fewer ingredients. While it’s still not the healthiest thing you can get on the menu, it’s still a long way from the yummy, crispy deep-fried pie we once could have enjoyed.
5. Taco Bell Bell Beefer
When you want a break from the regular burger and fries, your first instinct is to probably go straight to Taco Bell and get yourself a crunchy taco. Makes sense, right? Well, as much as Taco Bell relies on a “think outside the bun” motto, back in the 1970s, the chain conformed to the burger norms and sold its own for a while. Initially introduced as a “chili burger,” the Bell Beefer was practically a hamburger that took everything good about a taco and put it in between two buns. Created mostly to compete with other burger chains, this Sloppy Joe lookalike had taco meat, lettuce, diced onions, and Taco Bell mild sauce. You could also choose to go “Supreme” with your Beefer and add some diced tomatoes and a three-cheese blend to the mix. No matter how reminiscent it was to a high school cafeteria lunch, the Bell Beefer still managed to gather a significant fanbase. However, the fanbase wasn’t big enough, and Taco Bell pulled the burger from the menu in the mid-’90s because not enough people were buying it. Today, even though it has been over 20 years since the Beefer went away, people are still not over it, and countless recipes are dedicated to recreating this taco-burger hybrid.
4. Burger King’s Dinner Baskets
Usually, when you go to a fast-food place, the one thing you can expect is for the service to be fast – it’s right there in the name, and it’s one of the most important features of the industry. But, there was a time when Burger King wanted to defy the fast-food laws of time and test the waters a little. In 1992, the chain embarked on a bold experiment in an effort to “change the way people think about fast food.” Burger King started offering dinnertime table service as part of their move to go slightly upscale, and it all revolved around the BK Dinner Baskets. Every day, between 4 pm and 8 pm, when you placed an order, they would give you a number for your table as well as a little popcorn basket to munch on while you waited for your food. Waiters would bring out the food in baskets to your table, just like at a regular fancier restaurant. For as little as $2.99, you could get a Whopper Dinner Basket, a Steak Sandwich, Chicken, or Shrimp, along with your choice of sides. You could choose between fries, baked potato, and coleslaw or side salad. These baskets were accompanied by very high-energy commercials featuring Dan Cortese as Dan the Whopper Man. But even the excessive yell-y ads weren’t enough to keep the table service around, and Burger King retired the idea after only a two-year run.
3. McDonald’s McDLT
Don’t you just hate it when the veggies in your burger get warm? You know, as they should since your burger is warm? Well, if you did answer yes, then you would’ve loved this brilliant McDonald’s idea; the McDLT. Introduced to the menu in the 1980s, the McDLT seemed like a rather good idea – on the surface. It was a regular burger, only served in a double-sided Styrofoam container that kept “the hot side hot and the cool side cool.” On one side, you had your hot beef patty with the bottom bun, while the other side stored the lettuce, tomato, and the top bun. All you had to do was merge the two sides together and create your fresh burger. No more warm and soggy vegetables! After spending a good six years on the menu, the McDLT was discontinued following many complaints concerning the environmental impact of the packaging. McDonald’s was already facing public relations problems due to its standard “un-eco-friendly” packaging, but the one used for the McDLT was next level. As a way of becoming more environmentally friendly, McD’s eventually moved away from polystyrene packaging, and since styrofoam containers were necessary to keep the ingredients at the right temperatures, that meant we had to say goodbye to the McDLT. That’s when the Big ‘N Tasty made its appearance, the same simple ingredients, without the luxury of having them separated.
2. Wendy’s Bacon And Blue Burger
Wendy’s is known for having a lot of unique and one-of-a-kind menu items. From their signature Frosty to the square hamburgers, the chain has a lot good things going for them. Much like the other chains, Wendy’s is constantly trying to come up with new and tasty products to stand out from the sea of burger joints, and in 2015, it really thought it had hit the jackpot with the Bacon and Blue Burger. This fancy delicacy contained special ingredients and uncommon flavors not usually found in the fast-food world. It had everything to become a huge success. Blue cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes, a quarter-pound beef patty, onions, a special sauce, and a brioche bun were what were waiting for you when you ordered this burger. Now, the problem wasn’t with the taste. The problem was the nightmare of trying to eat this burger. Let’s just say it wasn’t the easiest thing to eat as far as fast-food goes. It was extremely messy, mostly because of the large variety of toppings, especially if you were trying to sneak a quick bite on your drive to work – it was impossible to do without reaching for the napkin stash. Despite its sloppy and hard-to-eat nature, the Bacon and Blue Burger still ended up with many disappointed fans when it was taken off the menu. While it may be considered a fail, it gets an “A” for effort.
1. Taco Bell Enchirito
Taco Bell has had to bid bitter farewells to many menu items over the years, some more heartbreaking than others. Like the time the beloved Enchirito inexplicably disappeared from the menu in 2013. Probably one of the most sought-after ex-menu items from Taco Bell, the Enchirito wasn’t just pretty good – it was better than that, it was exquisite. It became everyone’s favorite enchilada-burrito mashup since it offered the best of both worlds! Similar to a burrito, the dish consisted of ground beef, frijoles (or beans), and onions in a soft tortilla and was smothered in sauce and cheese, like an enchilada. Advertised as a re-heatable meal that came in oven-safe packaging, the Enchirito was a true fan favorite, and its departure left very big shoes to fill. But, Taco Bell didn’t let us down completely; there is still a way for you to get your hands on one. Just order it off the secret menu! If the employees don’t know it by name, just ask for a Burrito Supreme with extra beef and cheese, a side of red sauce, sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, and for two sides of the three-cheese blend. Then you ask for all the cheese and sauce to be on top of the burrito, then heat it up, and voila! You can experience the goodness of the Enchirito, even though it’s been years since being part of the official menu.