Mashed's Exclusive Survey Uncovers Which Chain Restaurant's Frozen Products Are The Least Like The Real Thing

The freezer section of any given grocery store seems to keep getting bigger and more deluxe with every passing year. What used to be limited to ice cream and veggies is now stocked with all varieties of ready-to-eat frozen meals and other delicacies. This isn't all just in our heads, either. The frozen food market is expected to enjoy significant growth in 2022, to the tune of 6.85%, according to an industry research report.

Vendors have capitalized on people's love of convenient foods by producing many restaurant-branded products for the freezer section. For example, brick-and-mortar TGI Friday's locations are shuttered in many cities, but plenty of stores stock frozen versions of the chain's menu items, like sliders, potato skins, and dips, according to Kraft Heinz.

Arby's, which people frequently patronize for the legendary curly fries, also peddles the frozen version in many retail locations, like Kroger, Walmart, and Target. Then there are Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes, which need only to be defrosted to be enjoyed, per Thrillist.

Many shoppers line up to sample these items, with their mouth-watering packaging and promise of restaurant-like quality. Sadly, some don't live up to expectations.

Here are the most disappointing chain restaurant frozen products, according to Mashed readers

Whether it's realistic or not, when people buy a restaurant-branded frozen product, they expect it to taste similar, if not identical, to the fresh version. Well, 582 Mashed readers were polled with the question, "Which chain restaurant's frozen products are the least like the real thing?"

People are apparently most disappointed with the quality of White Castle's frozen sliders, which took 24.23% of the vote. The chain has sold more than $28 billion of its sliders throughout its history, according to QSR Magazine. With that kind of cash coming in, one would think the company can afford to invest a little extra into making the frozen versions of the famous product more palatable.

Next on the list of disappointing restaurant frozen products are PF Chang's Frozen Entrees, at 18.21%. Items include Mongolian-style beef, orange chicken, sweet and sour chicken, and many more, per the company's site.

Auntie Anne's frozen pretzels scored an unfortunate third-place finish, with 16.32% of the vote, followed by TGI Friday's Frozen Appetizers (14.95%) and Cheesecake Factory's cheesecakes (14.43%). The final product on the list was California Pizza Kitchen's frozen pizzas, which garnered only 11.86% of the vote.

Hey, even if it's not as good as the real deal, at least you don't have to pay a tip, right?