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10 Biggest Fast-Food Failures

April 4, 2013
Owensville High School

10 Biggest Fast-Food Failures

Brittni Cebulak


            Hot dog stuffed pizza? Bacon sundaes? Every day, the fast food industry is coming up with strange food items to compete with their counterparts. However, some of these edible inventions never caught on with the general public . . . or just were not very edible at all.


1.)    Lay’s WOW Chips—In 1998, Lay's released WOW chips as a low-calorie snack food made with the fat-free substitute Olestra. What could be better than having your chips without gaining a pound? How about if you need to run to the bathroom constantly?  The FDA required a warning on WOW chips stating that Olestra “may cause anal leakage.” After consumers realized the side effects, demand for WOW chips plummeted.


2.)    McLobster—For some reason, McDonald’s thought it could market quality seafood in a fast food joint.  The sandwich, which is lobster, special sauce and lettuce shoved in a hot dog bun, did not go over too well except with people in New England and easternCanada.  In 2011, there were Internet rumors that it was making a nationwide comeback, but as with all foods with a mythical mystique, this was false.


3.)    Frescata—In 2006, Wendy’s released Frescata deli sandwiches to compete with Subway restaurants.  With fancy options like ham and cheese with pesto, the made-to-order sandwiches were sure to be a hit. However, Wendy’s customers did not go for them because they took longer to prepare, compared with the assembly line burgers.  Wendy’s discontinued them in 2007.


4.)    Burger King Table Service—In 1991, Burger King offered table service for those who did not want the extra hassle of carrying their own tray to the table. Also, during the hours of 5pm to 8pm, customers got to snack on complementary popcorn while awaiting their meal.  Not bad, huh?  Surprisingly, the service did not catch on with customers who did not appear to mind the burden of carrying their own trays.  


5.)    Wendy’s Superbar—In the late ‘80s, Wendy’s launched the Superbar, offering everything from salad to hot food, like Mexican, and Italian items.  The problem was that it was not fast food and it was not high enough quality slow food.   In the early 1990s, the Superbar became extinct, although there is an online effort to bring it back.


6.)    Enormous Omelet Sandwich—In 2005, Burger King thumbed its nose at the health conscious eater with this colossal egg sandwich consisting of eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage on a sesame seed roll.  If the size did not stop people, the 330 milligrams of cholesterol and 1940 milligrams of sodium did.  At first breakfast sales skyrocketed, but then the novelty wore off.  It is now discontinued in theU.S., but it is still clogging the arteries of those overseas.


7.)    McSpaghetti—McDonald’s proved it should stay out of Italian cuisine business with its version of pasta and red sauce. Reviews of this dish complained it was bland and it was quickly discontinued.  Still, in other countries, like thePhilippines, McDonald's still offers McSpaghetti on their menu, often paired with a fried chicken leg.


8.)    Arch Deluxe—Marketed as a burger for “grown-up” tastes, the Arch Deluxe was basically a Quarter Pounder with cheese on a different kind of bun, with peppered bacon and a top-secret mustard and mayonnaise sauce. After a 300 million dollars ad campaign, McDonald's execs, who had bet on $1 billion in sales, realized the burger just did not taste very good.


9.)    Hula Burger—In 1962, McDonald’s introduced this meatless burger made out of a pineapple slice to cater to Catholic customers who were observing Lent. It failed miserably. Non-meat-eating Catholics preferred a different alternative to the burger on the McDonald’s menu, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich. 


10.)                        Bell Beefer—Taco Bell tried its hand at burgers—sort of—with this sloppy-joe-like creation to compete with other fast food chains. The sandwich simply took everything that is in a taco -- ground beef, cheese and lettuce -- and put it on a bun. TacoBell discontinued the BellBeefer at the end of the 1980s after less than stellar sales, although the sandwich did have a loyal fan base, which to this day continues to petition the company to bring it back.




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