Fast food chains have made a definite impact on the restaurant industry and in many people’s lives. They target the masses, for the most part, trying to provide all three meals of the day in a fast, efficient, and fulfilling manner. In order to stay relevant and edge out the competition (i.e., each other), fast food joints also come out with new things on a regular basis.
However, these new offerings might take off, or they might not. Some research and market surveys might warn these companies that a product wouldn’t be well-received in advance, but not always. Hence, there have been some really strange food items introduced by some of the biggest names in the fast food business. Below are some examples:
Breakfast menus are available in almost all fast food restaurants, and Wendy’s used to be one of them. However, the organization announced that it would discontinue its breakfast at most of its locations back in 2013. This meant that they only offered breakfast on a national level for around a year.
While the company put a lot of effort into its breakfast, it resulted in an overall flop. According to the CEO, the morning market for fast food costs too much and is also too crowded for profit. Almost every breakfast item that Wendy’s produced was a failure, including the steel-cut oatmeal, sausage biscuits, and artisan sandwiches. Plus, making the breakfast items distracted the staff from tasks for the rest of the day.
Eventually Wendy’s did make a comeback in the now very popular breakfast market and had a full menu.
Wendy’s offers some of the most unique items in the fast food industry, but they don’t always work out. They once tried out a country-style buffet called the SuperBar. Most of the items were salads, giving people the option to make their own combinations with all the fixings. The fixed price was a low one, around $2.99 in most places.
However, the problem here was the SuperBar being too much of a success. It was supposed to be a no-refills option, but many customers managed to get some freebies in without the employees noticing. Plus, keeping the buffet bar clean and well-stocked was too difficult and expensive, along with the money lost. Hence, the SuperBar was discontinued.
McDonald’s Hula Burger
The Hula Burger at McDonald’s basically replaces the meat patty with a pineapple slice. The slice had been grilled and was made in order to target those Catholics who observed meatless Fridays. Today, they might have been an option for vegetarians. The rest of the item consisted of melted cheese and a bun.
While the thinking behind the burger was rational, it didn’t take into account the consumers’ tastes. First off, the combination of pineapple and cheese wasn’t popular at all (it has a cult following in pizza, though). Secondly, people who observed religion on that level didn’t consume much fast food either.
The Hula Burger was meant as an answer to the Filet-o-Fish, which was the idea of a franchise owner and not the main company. As we know now, the Filet-o-Fish was the clear winner in taste while also keeping Catholic traditions in mind.
McDonald’s has tried its hands at vastly different food items and placed a ‘Mc’ at the beginning to signify their ownership. These could change according to the country they’re in, with the McArabia in the UAE being a prime example. However, its attempt to add Italian choices with the McSpaghetti wasn’t such a good idea in America.
Perhaps this was because American consumers mostly look for a quick grab-and-go option when the consume McDonald’s. The noodles in a fast food bag just weren’t conducive to eating in the car and made a mess in any case. While this item may have flopped in its home country, it’s still quite popular in the Philippines.
Frings was a new item introduced by the fast food joint Jack-In-The-Box. These were nothing much, just a combination of onion rings and French fries in one box. The idea was a unique one, to be sure, but it didn’t last very long. As it turns out, customers liked the option of either just fries or just onion rings.
Pizza Hut has managed to make pizza a fast food, even though McDonald’s had to cancel this item due to the time it took. However, there were times when even Pizza Hut couldn’t make a certain kind of pizza successful. One of these times was the Priazzo, when Pizza Hut tried to rival the Chicago-style pizza.
The Priazzo was a success in terms of taste, but it took a long time to prepare. Pizza Hut sunk huge funds into the advertising and development of the item, but customers were not satisfied with the waiting. As a result, the restaurant had to pull the Priazzo off the menu.
The Double Down sandwich by KFC was a combination of bacon strips, the Colonel’s secret sauce, and melted cheese. It was all sandwiched between two chicken fillets in place of bread or a bun. The idea was unique, but it was simply too unhealthy to be popular.
Even though it didn’t sell properly, this item is still available at several KFC locations outside of America. However, they’re mostly limited-edition.
Taco Bell is known for trying out different items in order to attract their customers. Among these was the Seafood Salad back in the 1980s. The item bombed big time, as the salad led to several cases of food posison9ng. Had Taco Bell been any less of a giant corporation, it would probably not have survived this debacle. However, it was forced to do away with the salad.
This was an item by the fast food restaurant Sonic. They were slices of dill pickle coated in batter and deep-fried. Introduced in 2004, they started out as a popular food item but demand quickly dropped. Now, Sonic brings them back for special occasions like its 50th anniversary. Plus, some say that it’s a secret menu item that’s still available.
The McAfrika’s failure is worth mentioning here, simply because it failed due to poor timing. The combination was simple enough, being beef, tomato, lettuce and cheese wrapped in pita bread. It wasn’t available in America but was launched in Norway.
However, the timing couldn’t have been worse. This was in 2002 when Southern Africa was facing a serious famine. There was a lot of public outrage, but McDonald’s still insisted on the launch. Needless to say, the company’s reputation went down quite a bit in that area.
While many customers might prefer the classic items from their favorite fast food restaurants, some new items are welcome as well. However, they’re always a gamble, as is evident from the entries above. This emphasizes the importance of surveys and customer feedback, as no amount of pushing will make a food item popular when it simply isn’t liked by the target audience. On the other hand, perhaps fast food companies should look into bringing some well-loved items back, such as McDonald’s Szechuan sauce.