We've all experienced that sinking feeling of regret upon ordering a new, or 'improved' menu item from our favourite fast food chain. It might be a whim, or a purposeful mission to obtain what you just witnessed on the TV screen during a hunger-fuelled munch run, but whatever the circumstance is, you find yourself with a brown bag full of unappetizing at best, and inedible at worst, assembly-line produced concoction.
Some of these menu innovations are so unappealing that even the sight of their plastic stand-ins on TV commercials are enough to make your gag reflex kick-in, but sometimes those same commercials create false senses of anticipation that only end up in a disappointing experience that, at least these days, can be visually documented on your Insta account! Take the Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks as one prime example of how something visually appealing can taste so, so wrong on that first sip, a beverage that only gets less and less appealing as the you continues to consume it! Or, on the other side of the coin, Sonic’s Pickle Slush – a beverage that looks and tastes just plain wrong.
Indeed, this list of fast food creations will leave your taste buds and your stomach cringing at the thought. It may be simple bland disappointment, a truly terrible taste for the senses to endure, or perhaps an alarming disregard for general daily intake guidelines - the following menu items from household fast food chains are collectively guilty of becoming known as fast food flops!
20 Chipotle: Critics Not Crazy for Queso
Chipotle is one of those fast food establishments plagued by a consistent pattern of unpleasant news headlines over the years. While it appears to be a challenge to keep their meat at the proper temperature as to avoid the multiplication of harmful bacteria, the overwhelming amount of reported cases of food poisoning is not the only woe of Chipotle. When the chain launched Queso, one of its most anticipated menu items, fans of the southwest style fast food rushed to taste the cheese dip only to be horribly disappointed. One Business Insider review stated the opinion that the dip was an abomination more closely resembled a thin, mealy broccoli cheddar soup than the classic nacho chip accompaniment. Needless to say, we’re not rushing out to try this disappointing menu item!
19 A Double Don't: The KFC Double Down Hot Dog
KFC has been called out for many things in the past, most memorably with their Famous Bowls, which has been mocked by fans and critics alike as a mish-mash concoction of randomness that takes the cake for its artery-clogging abilities. However, this latest horror takes franken-food to a whole ‘nother level. Meet the Double Down Hot Dog: a hotdog cradled in a piece of fried chicken. Its ridiculous, its absurd, and comes slathered in a confusing combination of mayonnaise, cheese, and ketchup. The end result comes out looking less like something you’d like to put in your mouth, to say the very least. We’d give this this blasphemy of a hotdog a letter grade F-, shame on you, KFC!
18 McDonald's Forsakes the Cheeseburger in New Happy Meals
It appears that the new,'improved' Happy Meal will no longer include cheeseburgers on the menu. After the wildly popular Super Size Me documentary revealed some of the horrible truths about consuming fast food on the daily, McDonald’s has spared no effort to scrub its artery-clogging reputation clean. Since that time, consumers have witnessed the creation of many new McDonald’s "healthy'' menu innovations, including a selection of salads, wraps, and low-fat options designed to make the fast food giant more appealing to the health-conscious consumer. However, this latest move is considered a bust by customers. While McDonald’s insists that customers can still ask for the cheeseburger option, menus will no longer list the item in an effort to encourage other choices.
17 Starbucks: One Unicorn That Should Stay a Myth
Maybe this next one case is one where Starbucks should’ve just stuck to coffee, and coffee alone. The release of the Unicorn Frappuccino in 2017 led to a surge in Starbucks hashtags and Insta posts all displaying the brashly colored beverage featuring bright pink, purple, and blue swirls. Described by Starvucks as both flavour and colour changing, the one of a kind Unicorn Frap mixes sweet and sour in a highly unsuccessful way. The tropical mango crème clashes violently with an insane pucker power that only heightens the more you stir. Needless to say, the Unicorn has since gone extinct on Starbucks menus across North America!
16 Long John Silver's Shrivelled Fried Shrimp
The old adage that you could literally deep-fry a shoe and it would taste good has been put to the test with this latest deep-fried shrimp on the menu of Long John Silver’s. Seriously, when you see a deep fried menu item on a food flop list, there must be something really wrong – and it looks like Long John Silver’s has found a way to ruin Fried Shrimp for everyone! Food critics have instead described what should be juicy, crispy and delicious as rubbery, desiccated seafood. After 48 years in the business, you’d think Long John Silver’s would have written the bible on ‘fast-seafood’, but it looks like this one was a hook, line, and stinker.
15 Arby's Freaky Fish Sandwich
Arby’s is known for having the meats, but the latest option from the sea seems to have missed the mark, big time! Featuring an awkwardly diamond shaped piece of tasteless, soggy fried fish sandwiched between an incredibly sad looking, flattened bun that, when viewed as a whole, closely resembles a depressed beige couch cushion more than an edible meal. The Fish Sandwich appears on menus as an unquestionable afterthought for Arby’s, as is seemingly the case with many fast food chains that only seem to offer the seafood option as an alternative. Even worse, the type of fish was only revealed as Alaskan Pollock after one reviewer left an unsettling conclusion that Arby’s fails to list the information anywhere online or on its menu.
14 Tim Horton's Dismally Tasteless Coffee
Every year there seems to be a new running joke about Tim Horton’s Coffee – how they must be adding nicotine to the brew to make it extra addicting, how the only real reason to go its for the breakfast sandwich, the coffee being a decided afterthought whose purpose is to simply to wash down your breakfast on the go! The latter seems to be getting truer by the year, and despite national ad campaigns claiming Timmy’s serves Canada’s favourite cup of coffee, there has been a unquestionable dip in the flavour and consistency in recent times. The thin, watery consistency of the brew is initially covered up by a heavy dose of cream and sugar, however the smokescreen effect quickly wanes with each decrease in the beverage’s temperature. It's even worse with the assortment of cafe lattes that lacks depth, character, and any true flavour besides the grotesque amount of artificial syrups pumped into each recipe.
13 Taco Bell's Not-So-Cheesy Gordito Crunch
The Cheesy Gordito Crunch from Taco Bell sounds like a fast food lover’s dream. Described by the company as a combination of warmed “pillowy” flatbread smothered in three cheeses melted onto a crunchy taco inside with a Pepper Jack sauce to top it off lead the imagination to all sorts of delicious places. However, this is one case where the idea appears better than the actual creation. Not only is this a massive carb-load, reviewers of the Cheesy Gordito Crunch have complained about a number of issues including a lack of cheese, or a poor distribution across the flatbread, as well as dry, cardboard-like flatbread. One review pulled back the blankets on the innards of their Gordito Crunch to discover a measly few shreds of cheese lining the inside of a sad looking meal. Tsk tsk, looks like a failing grade for the not-so-Cheesy Gordito Crunch.
12 Wendy's Chili, Questionable At Best
At Wendy’s, it's a big deal that the beef patties are fresh never frozen and grilled upon order, or so the TV ads claim. So you'd think that the same standards of quality exist for their other menu items, however all is not how it seems according to one former employee of the fast food chain. While freshness is a factor striven for with the hamburger patties, the chilli has been relegated to the status of second-class citizen. The quintessential comfort food item is allegedly made with questionable leftovers from the grill, long expired and scraped off at the end of each day. The bits of meat are allegedly added to a warming drawer of scraps until enough accumulates to make a new batch of chilli. Yummy!
11 KFC Waffle Double Down Is A Double Don't
The KFC Double-Down is as sinful as fast food gets. Two extra crunchy pieces of deep fried chicken surpass the traditional bun, housing cheese and bacon along with the Colonel’s secret sauce. However, this past year Canadian KFC locations began offering an even greater extravagance – the Waffle Double Down!
Yep, the addition of a Belgian waffle and a signature maple aioli represent the latest absurd creation from the fried chicken giant. However, the reviews were less than stellar. The maple aioli was a decided bust, and not only is the sandwich bone dry from lack of sauce, the extreme crunchiness of the deep-fried chicken ‘bun’ ends up slashing the roof of your mouth to bits, resulting in an incredibly unenjoyable fast-food experience!
10 A&W's 'Diet' Chicken
The long life of A&W’s Chubby Chicken campaign has witnessed many variations of the chicken menu, the least appealing of which has to be the bone-in option. You know it’s really bad if patrons describe the ‘chubby’ chicken as being on a diet. Indeed, it seems the bone-in chicken is nearly all bone and no chicken, with a suspiciously generous layer of breading one is led to believe is present simply to disguise the lack of meat! Sadly, it appears the Burger Family has been neglecting the henhouse (wink, wink), so the next time you consider ordering chicken at this classic burger joint, think again.
9 McDonald’s Triple No-No Breakfast Sandwich
While traditional McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches have been praised in comparison to other fat-filled breakfast options from other chains, the premiere of the Triple Stack in 2018 was a unquestionable step in the other direction. Full of excessive calories, the Triple Stack Breakfast Sandwich includes two sausage patties with cheese, bacon, and egg, bringing the breakfast sandwich to ridiculous new heights. Just try wrapping your head (and lips) around the enormous fact that your consuming the majority of your daily calorie and fat intake in your first few bites of the day – yikes! Add in the option of the griddlecakes and you’re in dangerous territory!
8 Carl's Jr.'s Tasteless Tex-Mex Bacon Burger
When the Tex-Mex Bacon Burger premiered from Carl’s Jr. consumers were outraged on two levels. First, the ad campaign featuring scantily clad supermodels engaged in a staged volleyball tournament parodying border issues was tasteless on one level - however, the burger itself was just as tasteless, this time in a literal sense.
A classic combination of poblano peppers, onions, and bacon all somehow missed the mark, disappointing the majority of Carl’s Jr. customers who reported a lack of consistency in toppings (one review stated they didn't even get the signature peppers and onions), poor quality lettuce, and a bun that just doesn’t hold up to its filling. The fact that Carl’s Jr. has restaurant-level prices means you’re actually better off heading to a sit-down eatery, even if it means an extra tip on the bill.
7 Sonic's Putrid Pickle Juice Slush
While some mash-up fast food creations are just shy of genius, others are so far from the mark that you wonder what state of mind company developers were in when they approved such horrific concepts as the Pickle Juice Slush. The new creation from Sonic is the centrepiece of a baffling mystery, a blasphemy so great that simply the thought of trying it makes the gag reflex take-off involuntarily. The cringe factor of this nuclear-green coloured slush is overwhelming to most, however some are adventurous enough to taste the sour-sweet combination Sonic Spokespeople say is an answer to the call for innovation and creativity amongst their boldest consumers. Question is, do you dare?
6 Pizza Hut's Hot Mess: The Hot Dog Bites Pizza
An abominable creation in the eyes of all true pizza lovers, this horrific mishmash of hot dogs and pizza is the latest version of stuff-crust debuted in 2018 from Pizza Hut. Cocktail sized hot dogs are rolled in Pizza Hut’s signature dough, placed in a ring, forming a questionable crust that looks suspiciously difficult to enjoy. The pizza toppings remain true to classic Pizza Hut, the bottom of the crust was horridly soggy according to Business Insider reviewers. The Pretzel crust option was a no-go due to overwhelming saltiness. Overall, the Hotdog Bites Pizza was considered edible – after more than a few drinks, relegating this latest pizza innovation to the dark corners of regrettable late night snacking.
5 The Burger King Chicken Big King Sandwich Is A Big Don't
The BK Chicken Big King is supposed to be the chain’s king of the chicken sandwiches. Featuring not one but two breaded chicken fillets with a slab of waxy processed cheese, the Chicken Big King is an assortment of toppings seemingly designed to distract from the failings of each individual ingredient, not least to say the overwhelmingly dry presence of the chicken patties.
“It’s two flattened sponges of salty protein separated by a piece of bread.”– GrubGrade.com
Needless to say, the addition of thousand island dressing and sweet pickles couldn't distract from the disappointing poor quality of the Chicken Big King.
4 Jack in the Box's Bacon Milkshake
It’s always disappointing to find a lacking use of bacon in the world of fast food. Jack In The Box has managed just that with the Bacon Milkshake, a disgusting amalgamation of vanilla ice cream and artificial bacon flavored syrup. Interestingly, Jack In The Box menu developers went with a mild bacon flavor dominated by a smoky aroma and taste described by customers as off-putting, and disappointing in its obvious artificiality.
Probably the strangest aspect of the Bacon Milkshake is the after note of coffee on the back of the palate, probably a product of its unnatural origins. The suspicious absence of any real bacon in the shake only adds to the mystery of why anyone would go to the unorthodox lengths of creating a dairy-based bacon beverage in the first place, only to cut out the star ingredient!
3 Dunkin' Donuts Breakfast Croissant
The go-to place for a fast breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts has built its reputation not on health, but on indulgence during that first meal of the day. One of the most divisive menu items up for grabs is the Breakfast Croissant, loaded with cheese, bacon and a dose of egg for good measure, this monster will set you back 700 calories (close to half the recommended daily intake for adults) and pack on an grand total of 20 grams of saturated fat (that's 100% of your daily intake).
However, that's not the end of the horror story. Just check out the scarily long list of unpronounceable ingredients that even your nutritionist will have trouble identifying. This is one breakfast creation that should be avoided at all costs!
2 Chick-Fil-A's Tasteless Grilled Nuggets
Now offered on Chic-Fil-A menus across America, the Grilled Nuggets are suggested as a healthier alternative to the classic breaded nugget. But, as usual, the perceived choice between a classic breaded option and the grilled alternative really comes down to trading flavour for the illusion of health. The bite sized grilled nuggets have been accused by customers of being bland, rubbery, with little in the way of flavour despite the enormous amount of money and research that went into revamping the grilled chicken. And, at a price close to $5.00, the snack-sized portion leaves the consumer with much to desire.
1 Denny’s Mac ‘n Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt
Just no. No, God. Please no. No. No. Noooooooo! The words of Michael Scott in season 5 episode 8 of The Office come immediately to mind upon laying eyes Denny’s Mac ‘n Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt. Even the name is just wrong. A combination of a grilled cheese, hamburger, and mac ‘n cheese is an ambitious undertaking, and really, which other chain could we really expect this from other than the same Denny’s that brought us the Grilled Cheese Melt (mozzarella sticks layered in a grilled cheese melt) and the Bacon Sundae. Personally, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking it's a good idea to go down that road, and those who have dared to taste this novelty item have been sorely disappointed to find a salt-bomb lacking in any real flavour.