Biggest fast food failures of all time

Love it or loathe it, fast food is the backbone of American cuisine. It might be a controversial statement, but there are really only a handful of iconic fast food menu items. For every Big Mac and Whopper there are hundreds of other menu items that somehow made it out of the test kitchens and had the fast food eating masses scratching their heads. Unlike certain items that have a cult following (I'm looking at you, McDonald's Szechuan Sauce), that have a chance to be brought back, it's probably safe to say these fast food failures won't be resurrected in the near or distant future even if they somehow manage to work their way back into the pop culture zeitgeist.

McDonald's Arch Deluxe

McDonald's has always been a family restaurant with a strong focus on making kids happy. This is why the McDonaldland characters were successful and why they launched the Happy Meal. If McDonald's didn't like kids, they wouldn't have spent millions of dollars on creating epic Play Places. In 1996 though, the Golden Arches wanted appear more grown up, so they released the hamburger equivalent of a 15-year-old at a semi formal in an ill-fitting suit and a clip-on tie.

The Arch Deluxe was a burger for grownups and featured a quarter-pound patty on an artisan bun topped with peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a secret sauce that was supposed to be fancier than the secret sauce that's found on the Big Mac. McDonald's promoted the hell out of this burger, showing the world that it wasn't for kids (oort of the opposite of Trix cereal), and that it was only for sophisticated palates, yet despite extensive market research, the burger was an epic failure, because everyone saw that McDonald's was trying to be something they're clearly not. Hey McDonald's, any kid can tell you, nobody likes a poser.

Burger King Satisfries

When Burger King launched Satisfries in 2013, the Home of the Whopper basically told the world, "We can be healthy too!" However, BK's Satisfries were more like, "saddest fries." The low-calorie fries failed for many reasons.

First of all, everyone knows french fries aren't a health food and when you try to make junk food healthy, it just isn't going to taste good. If someone wants a healthier side dish option at a fast food restaurant, they'll opt for the apple slices. Second, the fries were more money — most people want the best bang for their buck when they eat fast food. Finally, the fries weren't even that healthy! A medium order of the crinkle cut french fries clocked in at 340 calories. Despite even replacing regular fries with Satisfries in kids' meals, Burger King phased out the side item a year later in 2014 due to poor sales.

Wendy's Frescata

Before Wendy's became known for sending out epic Tweets, and doing things in their own quirky way, back in 2006 they wanted to hop on the fresh sandwich bandwagon and try to give Subway a run for their money. Unfortunately that run was more like a short, leisurely stroll. Wendy's launched a line of deli sandwiches called Frescata in an attempt to appear healthy and to appeal to younger consumers who were into freshness when it comes to fast food.

The sandwiches originally came in four varieties: Frescata Club, Roasted Turkey with Basil Pesto, Black Forest Ham & Swiss, and Roasted Turkey & Swiss. The Frescata Italiana was added a few months after initial product launch. Although the sandwiches were a fan favorite, Wendy's pulled them from the menu less than a year later. Prep for the sandwiches was difficult and slow. The artisan rolls were baked fresh and every sandwich was made to order. The chain simply wasn't ready to prepare them efficiently. Wendy's is all about freshness now, but it doesn't look like a freshly prepared deli-style sandwich will be on their menu ever again.

McDonald's McDLT

The McDonald's McDLT might have helped launch the career of Seinfeld's Jason Alexander with a commercial that probably has one of the best jingles of the decade, but it wasn't an uber successful burger even though it remained on the menu from 1984 until the early 1990s.

The McDLT was served in a styrofoam container which was the main reason for its demise, but it wasn't placed in just any container, the whole gimmick around the McDLT was that it had to be served in a massive styrofoam container that would make Greenpeace cringe. One side featured the hot hamburger patty and bottom bun and the other side had lettuce, tomato, and a slice of cheese. The fancy container was designed to "keep the hot side hot, and the cool side cool." Those who ordered the sandwich had to do the final prep work by stacking the two sides together. Ken Forton told the blog, Serious Eats that a lot of McDonald's locations couldn't properly prepare the burger stating, "There was a special heating-cooling machine that we had. It was like a rack heater, but cold on one side, and hot on the other. I think a lot of locations just used regular heaters, so customers only ever got warm burgers."

Taco Bell Seafood Salad

Taco Bell doesn't try to hide the fact that they're the king of unhealthy late night munchies. They might have the Cantina Bell menu with healthier options, but that's not their bread and butter, or rather chips and salsa. The 1980s was a different time and Taco Bell was trying to play catch up with the bigger fast food chains.

In 1986 they introduced a Seafood Salad hoping to win the hearts and stomachs of health-conscious individuals and those who adhere to not eating meat during Lent. They were also trying to throw a left hook at McDonald's and their successful Filet-O-Fish. The Seafood Salad was in a taco bowl and had everything that would usually go in a taco bowl like cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and olives, but replaced the beef with shrimp, whitefish, and crab. It was discontinued because nobody wants fish when they go to Taco Bell.

Burger King A.1. Halloween Whopper

Back in 2014, Burger King in Japan released the Kuro burger, a premium burger with black cheese and a black bun. A year later, Burger King in the good ol' USA released the A.1. Halloween Whopper. This Whopper featured a black bun which got its color from A.1. Steak Sauce being baked inside. Although this was going to be a seasonal menu item, the chain received quite a bit of negative press regarding what happens after you actually eat and digest a burger with a black bun.

In October, 2015 USA Today reported that several Burger King customers tweeted at the restaurant chain complaining that after they ate the A.1. Halloween Whopper their poop was green. Pamela Reilly, a naturopathic doctor and certified nutrition counselor told USA Today, "To make poop turn that color green, it would require far more dye than is in the typical type of A.1., my guess is that they're using a concentrated form."

McDonald's McSalad Shakers

Salads are usually the last thing someone orders when they go to McDonald's an want to eat something quickly, but in 2000 Mickey D's was trying to appeal to healthy eaters on the go with McSalad Shakers. According to QSR Magazine, the McSalad Shaker was "…served in a tall, clear cup with a domed lid that allowed customers on the go to pour on their choice of dressing and shake it up, spreading the dressing evenly throughout."

Honestly, who wants to eat an entire meal in a Venti-sized, plastic latte cup? The McSalad Shaker came in three varieties: A meatless garden salad, a chef salad with plastic looking chunks of ham and turkey, and a chicken Caesar salad with rubbery chicken that looked exactly like the turkey in the chef salad only with little grill lines.

Burger King BK Dinner Baskets

How long do you usually spend inside of a fast food restaurant? How often do you even go inside of a fast food restaurant to order your food and eat it? Burger King wanted to change the way their customers consumed their food by offering BK Dinner Baskets in 1992.

From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. your local Burger King would change into their fancy clothes and become something more than just a fast food burger joint. BK would serve their food in dinner baskets and bring it to your table. Customers had a choice between french fries and a baked potato, a salad or coleslaw, and a main entree item which was either a piece of fried chicken, a steak sandwich, fried shrimp, or a classic Whopper. Customers were also able to enjoy complimentary popcorn while they waited. Even though Burger King promoted the BK Dinner Baskets and table service extensively using Dan Cortese from MTV Sports, the fast food chain quickly retired the gimmick and the whole thing was forgotten, just like Dan Cortese.

McDonald's Pizza

Back in the 1970s a lot of McDonald's purists scoffed at the Egg McMuffin. For 44 years it's been a breakfast mainstay on the menu. A decade and some change later, marketing execs at Mickey D's thought they had found the cure for the fast food chain's slow dinnertime business: serve pizza.

McDonald's launched their "fresh baked pizza" in 1989 and it left a bad taste in the mouths of pizza fast food restaurants like Pizza Hut. The popular pizza chain even aired a commercial that told customers that the pizza served at the Golden Arches was inferior and used frozen dough. According to Mental Floss, the only official word regarding pizza's removal from McDonald's menu comes from McDonald's in Canada. In a response to an online question asked by Nichols P. of Montreal, QC about the nostalgic item, a McDonald's representative stated, "Although it was a popular menu item in Canada, the preparation time was about 11 minutes—which was way too long for us. Every McDonald's has a busy kitchen and the pizza slowed down our game. And since speed of service is a top priority and expected by our customers, we thought it best to remove this menu item. For now, our pizzas will have to remain a tasty bit of history."

Think you'd need a Delorean to get some McDonald's pizza? There are actually two McDonald's locations going rogue and selling pies right now in the United States. They're not the same thing, but they're close! One is in West Virginia and the other is Ohio.

McDonald's Mighty Wings

There was a brief moment when the Mighty Kids Meal wasn't the only "mighty" thing on the McDonald's menu. McDonald's bone-in wings were an epic failure, yet for some reason they were oddly brought back in 2016 in some locations and then quickly disappeared again.

The wings weren't successful for a variety of reasons, including being extremely expensive. When McDonald's launched the product at the start of the 2013 NFL season, they were charging $1 per wing. Considering you can get a McDouble for the price of a tiny little chicken wing, they weren't exactly a good value. Bloomberg reported back in 2014 that McDonald's began to sell the wings at a lower price point (60 cents per wing) because the chain had an astonishing surplus of 10 million pounds of frozen wings. Not only was the price still too high, AdvertisingAge said a lot of McDonald's customers found the wings much too spicy. Of course, any spicy chicken wing can be cured with a healthy dip in ranch dressing, but you and I both know how stingy they can be with handing out dipping sauces at the drive-thru window.

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