Over the course of fast-food history, we’ve had a lot of icons grace our stomachs, but, we’re always bound to come across a few bad apples along the way. As life isn’t always only filled with successes, here are the Top 10 Fast Food Items That Totally FAILED In America (Part 4).
10. McDonald’s – McWrap
Everybody knows that McDonald’s is not the place you go to when you’re in the mood for some healthy food. No, McDonald’s is the place you go when you want something greasy, tasty, familiar, and fast. So, when the McWraps made their debut in 2013, it left a lot of people wondering if McDonald’s had lost its way and was beginning to drift away from its original motto. This release was supposed to make customers who love fresh sandwiches stray away from Subway and also be a big hit with health-conscious millennials. However, the McWraps did neither. The chain was trying to look more appealing to the younger generation in search of healthier fare, but the McWrap marketing did not go according to plan, and the item ended up only lasting a couple of years before it was slowly phased out. It’s not that they weren’t good; they were actually pretty delicious and convenient; the concept just never fully caught on with customers. Apparently, fresh vegetables wrapped in a tortilla were not what people associated McDonald’s with, and the idea freaked a lot of them out. The sales weren’t as high as expected and, in the end, just cost more for the chain to make than they actually brought in. Plus, the McWraps were too time-consuming to assemble: a good 60 seconds versus 10 seconds for a burger. In the end, they were simply not worth the hassle, and McD’s got rid of them.
9. Pizza Hut – Flavor of Now
Pizza is one of the foods in life that just seems timeless. We will probably – and hopefully – never get tired of the good old toppings, sauce, and crust as they are simply ingrained in our culture. As Pizza Hut began playing with the winning recipe back in 2014, it soon realized the importance of classics. The “Flavor of Now” menu was another attempt by a chain to attract hungry millennial customers by featuring “innovative” pizza toppings. The line had 5 new toppings, which included premium salami, sliced banana peppers, classic meatballs, fresh spinach, and even Peruvian cherry peppers. But that’s not all: it also had 8 all-new crust flavors like Honey Sriracha, Salted Pretzel, and Fiery Red Pepper to make sure your pizza had fancy flavors going all the way to the edge. You could combine these with sauces like Classic Marinara, Creamy garlic Parmesan, or Buffalo and top it off with a drizzle of balsamic, barbeque, or really any type of flavor punch you could think of. While on the surface, it sounds like a genius idea that should be an immediate success, it’s not exactly clear what happened. Pizza Hut’s attempt to make the place upscale was not embraced by customers, which forced the chain to go back to its regular pizza offerings. Pizza Hut was just trying to become “elite” and look more sophisticated, but the idea just ended up blowing up instead. A big fail, indeed!
8. Dunkin’- Free Iced Coffee Day
If you put two of people’s favorite things in the same sentence, you can be sure of having a great success on your hands. In Dunkin’s case, it was when they decided to put “free” and “iced coffee” together to create one of the best events ever. At least, it should’ve been. Back in May of 2010, to treat its loyal customers and celebrate its 60th anniversary, Dunkin decided to announce a “free iced coffee” day, and obviously, it got people really excited. However, as the chain learned the hard way, there is such a thing as “reading the fine print carefully” – something not a lot of people did before showing up at their local Dunkin’s expecting a free cup of iced joe. People who bothered to read the fine print knew that this amazing promotion was only taking place at “participating locations” in six states. Those who didn’t get that far in their reading marched down to their local Dunkin’ all giddy, unaware of the disappointment they would later experience. Now, before the age of the internet, this kind of slip-up might have led to vicious riots and donut looting, but instead, the furious customers took their frustrations online, leaving angry comments on Dunkin’s social media accounts. Needless to say, Dunkin’ made sure never to make the same mistake again and always put key information where everyone can see it.
7. McDonald’s -McLean Deluxe
Decidedly, “McDonald’s” and “diet” do not belong in the same sentence. Back in the 1990s however, McD’s tried to market its food as a more “sophisticated” fast food option by releasing an entire deluxe line. It had the intention of capturing the adult consumer market by presenting a burger with more “grown-up” tastes, whatever that means. Among this line was the McLean Deluxe. The burger was supposed to be the “healthier” version of a regular McDonald’s burger and consisted of ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, along with a reduced-fat patty. It was advertised as 90% fat-free as it contained 10 grams of fat, compared to the Big Mac’s 26. You would think that a burger with such a low-fat content would have loads of appeal, but as it turns out, it had the complete opposite reaction. You see, in order to make the meat so lean, the fat had to be replaced with something else. In this case, it was carrageenan, a chemical derived from red seaweed. The problem? The taste of the patty, or rather the lack thereof. The patty was described as being flavorless and unappealing, and it wasn’t long before the use of carrageenan was put to shame. After only a few years, the McLean Deluxe was pulled from the menu, as well as the rest of the Deluxe line. The line is still known today as a major marketing failure, which will follow McDonald’s forever.
6. Burger King – Bacon Sundae
You say “bacon,” and everyone’s on board. You say “sundae,” and oof you’ve got yourself a deal. But if you say “bacon sundae,” now you’ve gone too far. Don’t get us wrong, the sweet and salty combination is usually one of the best culinary experiences, but it has to be done properly. It seems like when Burger King decided to come up with its bacon sundae in 2012 as part of its new limited edition summer menu, it didn’t get the memo of what is acceptable and what isn’t. The dessert wasn’t anything too complicated, really; it consisted of plain vanilla soft-serve along with some chocolate and caramel syrup and some bacon bits sprinkled on top. Had BK stopped there, it might’ve been somewhat okay, but no, it took it one step further. The sundae also featured a giant, thick strip of bacon, just sticking out of the cup. That’s where people had trouble. Most people admitted that the bacon was useless and would’ve rather eaten a standard caramel and chocolate sundae. It’s not that people didn’t like the bacon; it just didn’t seem to belong there. The overall response was pretty neutral – nothing too crazy bad, but nothing crazy good either. In light of the public’s feedback, the Bacon Sundae was pulled and never returned to the menu. Everybody loves bacon, but sometimes, certain lines simply cannot be crossed.
5. Taco Bell – Waffle Taco
Chances are, you’ve heard about this particular flop before. It was such a disaster for Taco Bell; people still talk about it today. Of course, we’re talking about the Waffle Taco. The Waffle Taco was invented in an attempt to jazz up the chain’s breakfast menu – and let’s just say there would’ve been way better ways to do so. In 2014, Taco Bell decided to take a waffle folded into a taco-like shape and fill it with your choice of bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs. Oh, and don’t forget the packet of syrup you got on the side to drizzle on top. The waffle was described as a little sweet, which didn’t overpower the rest of the toppings, and was similar to a frozen waffle. While it doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world on paper, in reality, people had a lot to say about this breakfast “innovation.” Apparently, the waffle was not crispy in the slightest and was overly oily, not at all what a waffle should be. For some, though, the Waffle Taco wasn’t bad at all and even became a fan favorite, but since it wasn’t as successful as the chain had hoped, it was pulled from the menu only a year after its introduction. Taco Bell tried to replace the Waffle Taco with a Biscuit Taco, fitting a similar model: a taco-shaped biscuit filled with breakfast-ey fillings, but alas, this one didn’t make the cut either. Maybe Taco Bell should stick to what it does best – and obviously that’s not breakfast!
4. McDonald’s – Super Size
Not exactly a food item, but still a pretty notable fast-food fail that happened right here. Starting in 1993, McDonald’s would offer its customers the possibility to “upgrade” their already pretty huge meal by “supersizing it.” The supersize option was available for your soda, leading up to a good 42 ounces, as well as for your French fries for a total of 7 ounces. Even though this offer sounds a little over the top to begin with, it was still acceptable and very common. Well, until it was phased out in 2004. One of the main reasons why the supersize option was removed from the McD’s menu was due to the documentary “Super Size Me,” directed by Morgan Spurlock. The social experiment involved Spurlock eating only McDonald’s for 30 days straight to see what effects it would have on his body. After a month of sustaining himself with 3 fast-food meals a day and “supersizing” his meal whenever he was offered, the results were rather scary and unsettling. His impressive weight gain and psychological repercussions had a lot of people worried. This put a spotlight of bad publicity on McDonald’s. After the documentary came out, McDonald’s was suddenly ready to turn over a new leaf and wanted to make a larger effort to make their menu healthier. No matter what pushed the chain to take this step, the important part is, the “supersize me” option is no longer available.
3. In-N-Out – 100×100
When it comes to food challenges, most people are always down, no matter what it implies. And since cheesy burgers are one of the best ways to treat yourself, a burger challenge shouldn’t be too scary, right? At In-N-Out, every burger is cooked fresh to order and tailored to fit your preferences and appetite. You can get the regular cheeseburger with only one patty, or you can spice things up and add an extra patty – or two – or apparently 99! Technically, the chain offers the 3×3, which includes three beef patties and three slices of cheese along with the 4×4. Those are the official and highest meat to cheese ratios that can be found on the menu. But, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and want to test the limits of your stomach, you can pretty much get as many patties as you want, and for a while, you could even get a burger with as many as 100 beef patties and 100 slices of cheese – the 100×100! If you think this doesn’t sound all that legit, today, you would be right. After the beast of a burger was served as part of the secret menu, the chain received some unwanted attention and decided to institute a damage control policy stating that no burger larger than a 4×4 could be made under any circumstances. Obviously, some In-N-Out locations will still go a little beyond the 4×4 limit and make some unauthorized options, but not the 100×100.
2. Burger King – Halloween Whopper
Burger King is no stranger to adding some colorful touches to their Whoppers, especially around Halloween. Over the years, we’ve pretty much seen every color of the rainbow: from red to green to translucent white; Halloween is a pretty spooky time to go to Burger King. Back in 2015, BK was looking to scare up even more sales during the holiday and released its Halloween Whopper, which was the definition of a “dark burger.” It featured all the regular Whopper toppings, only they were all between tinted black buns and came with A1 steak sauce. Not only was it not exactly the most appetizing burger ever, but many customers reported some very unusual – ahem – bowel movements after indulging in the creepy Whopper. Indeed, because of all the artificial coloring added to the bun, the Halloween Whopper seemed to turn people’s stools a frightening shade of green, and those people immediately took to social media to share their experiences. Medical experts were obviously quick to say this colorful side effect was nothing to worry about, but still, it didn’t leave a lot of customers eager to get their hands on one. We appreciate the effort, but maybe Burger King should steer clear of colored buns for a while.
1. Dairy Queen – MooLatte
Even though this particular item is still on the menu today, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t qualify as a total fast food failure. As a way of competing with the Starbucks’ craze, in 2004 Dairy Queen decided to offer its very own blended coffee called the MooLatte. The mixture of coffee and ice cream was an instant hit, and people seemed to get on board with the idea pretty quickly – well, at least until the word got around that the name of the beverage wasn’t exactly appropriate. Somehow, the drink went straight from the lab to the menu without anyone even realizing the obvious resemblance to a politically incorrect term to refer to a biracial person. The word mulatto, which is derived from the Spanish word for “mule,” is considered a slur, which left people wondering whether or not DQ was aware of its mistake. Slate magazine even went as far as questioning the mental competence of Dairy Queen’s corporate leadership. Ouch. The controversy eventually faded into the background, and most people seemed to move on from this faux pas, but it was never entirely forgotten.