The Most Over-Hyped Fast Food Items Of 2019

While there have been a number of crazy food trends and gimmicks throughout the past decade, it was in 2019 that so many came to a head. 

Some of them were genuinely delicious, but also, you know, sparked nothing short of riots. Others were just obviously a marketing ploy, hoping to cash in on the novelty factor (or the absolutely weird I can't believe someone would eat that factor). 

The fact is, everyone wants to go viral. This is especially true for brands. What would be better than a product taking over the internet and thus leading to endless lines outside the door and customers sharing your crazy sandwich or multi-colored drink on their social media, further spreading the message? 

However, sometimes this happens and it's not all it's cracked up to be, and sometimes the hype dies soon after it reaches its critical point... rendering all that advertising money more or less useless when it turns out the dish that's being peddled is actually super gross. Womp womp. 

Which of these overly-hyped fast food items from 2019 did you find yourself falling for?

Burger King Impossible Whopper

When it was first announced, there was a lot of hype and excitement from the plant eating community about Burger King's Impossible Whopper. But the big question was... would it be any good? They had the interest of the masses already, and as one of the first fast food chains to offer a meat-free option, Burger King definitely had the market. 

Impossible Burgers are known for being very meat-like in texture and taste. But Impossible Burgers are also major salt bombs, containing even more sodium content than the original Whopper at a stunning 1080 mg. It also has more carbs and sugar than the original Whopper. Being plant-based doesn't necessarily mean something is good for you, but it was disappointing news to some.

One of the biggest let-downs of the Impossible Whopper, though, was Burger King's initial failure to disclose that the plant-based burgers were still being cooked on the same griddle as real meat. After all, they were marketing the burger as 100 percent plants, zero percent beef, and there would definitely be some cross contamination when they share a grill.  

This means the Impossible Whopper technically isn't vegetarian, let alone vegan, so all that hype was for nothing. Sorry, plant eaters. This one may not be for you, after all.

Jack in the Box Burger Dippers

Trying to re-create a dish in a different form is an interesting task, and can be successful if done right and in an innovative manner. Also probably most praise worthy on a cooking competition show or something... maybe not in actual practice. 

Nevertheless, Jack in the Box began to stir up excitement and curiosity when it was reported they were testing burger dippers in Sacramento, California in February 2019. That is, a burger, but in a sort of french fry-ish form that you could dip into ketchup or a sauce of your choice. 

Again, it's an interesting idea, it just ended up not being executed as well as it could have been. First off, they never should have labeled it as the "burger you eat like a fry." Though that did get a lot of people talking as the news spread far and wide. They're not really french fries in any way. Think of them as more of mozzarella sticks, especially given that they're fried with cheese inside. 

Also, Jack in the Box was a bit late to this turning regular food into french fries game. Dunkin' Donuts has already launched their donut fries, and McDonald's came out with Donut Sticks soon after. Not to mention the fact that Burger King has been selling chicken fries for years.

The test store and its customers must have been pretty meh about them because the dippers went no further than Sacramento. So much for all of that excitement, right? 

Sorry, Jack in the Box Burger Dippers... you tried. Hype isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Little Caesars Frito Pie Pizza

When it was reported that Little Caesars was testing out a Frito Pie Pizza in Tennessee in June 2019, the hype was huge.

Obviously this was a play on a much loved junk food staple, Frito pie — and if there's one thing America loves, it's junk food. Essentially, Frito pie is a bag of Fritos with chili on top. Sometimes you get a little fancy and add cheese or green onion, but nothing more. It's delicious and simple, and is a favorite among many tailgaters and college students. 

Turning a beloved food invention into a pizza isn't a terrible idea, but maybe this just wasn't the right one to try. It did cause a stir, if only for everyone going, "Say what?" But the hype just didn't live up to the actual pizza, and customers called Little Caesars out on their gimmick.

Also, the Fritos didn't even come on the pizza. They were still in the bag and the customer had to put them on top. No, this isn't a particularly difficult task, but it does kind of beg the question of what the whole point is. If it's a Frito Pie Pizza, shouldn't it come with Fritos already on the pizza? 

Little Caesars said this was to maintain the integrity and crispiness of the Fritos, and we get that, but it's kind of a cop-out. Why did they make a fuss about a new pizza when they could have just sold a bag of Fritos along with the pizzas they already made? For all the hype, this was nothing special.

Carl's Jr. bacon truffle menu items

Truffles are not typically something you associate with fast food. Truffles, the subterranean fungus typically found around oak and hazelnut trees, are one of the most expensive ingredients in the world. Black truffles, on average, cost $95 an ounce. White truffles can cost as much as $168 an ounce. No one is going to spend that much on a burger from Carl's Jr., are they?

"Truffle is traditionally viewed as a rare indulgence, and we're bringing it to the everyday dining experience by infusing the distinct truffle flavor into an entirely new offering for our burger-loving customers," explained Owen Klein, the Vice President of Culinary Innovation at CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl's Jr, upon the nationwide roll-out of the truffle items in March 2019. 

Infused means it's probably truffle oil that's been used. And while still not cheap, it is far more cost effective than using actual truffles. The whole schtick of the truffle burger and fries is that allure of luxury. It's a good hype machine, that's for sure. Fancy fast food? Sure, why not. People got pretty excited.

The reviews were relatively positive, though not mind-blowing — and certianly not worth all the hype. People said that the truffle flavor took over the cheese, and the whole thing was quite greasy. 

It was an interesting idea, and elevating fast food could be a thing, but maybe Carl's Jr went too fancy too quick. You have to build people up to truffles.

SONIC Red Bull Slushes

Sonic Drive-In, in terms of fast food restaurants, already has built-in hype. They come to you on roller skates! That's just fun, and truthfully, should be hyped up.

However, when it comes to Sonic's famous slushes, they're always trying to get more people to drive on up and make an order. Even if that order gives you wiiiiiiings. Yup, that's right, Sonic paired up with Red Bull to give the masses not only a sugar rush, but an energy boost as well in the spring and summer of 2019.

Sometimes overly hyped means that it item was really good and needed to be around longer. The Sonic Red Bull slush and its Red Bull Cherry Limeade version were only available from the end of April to June. That's it! 

People loved this slush. It was refreshing, energizing, and actually a really good collaboration. Add a little vodka, and you really had a summer drink worth having. Yet Sonic pulled it instead of extending it. Why did you have to do us all dirty, like that Sonic? 

Customers were singing its praises, word was getting around, and then bam. Gone. 

Over hyped to the point customers were annoyed they couldn't get it. This was just a case of not really listening to the customer base, and hyping something up so much that everyone wanted it, only to take it away. Let people give you money, Sonic! 

Burger King Taco

Ok, hear us out. If your name has burger in it... maybe... just stick to burgers? Not that we don't want brands to be creative and push the envelope, but really, for all the fuss and talk about the Burger King Taco there was, there was at least seven times more people having indigestion after eating said taco.

Maybe Burger King was delusionally trying to unseat Jack in the Box as the fast food budget taco king (minus Taco Bell of course). Jack in the Box sold over over half a million tacos with its two for 99 cents price tag in 2016. Yeah, that's a pipe dream and a half, that one. 

No, Burger King, these tacos don't even deserve to be called tacos. They are sludgy, gooey, ground meat messes in a soggy tortilla shell that just make you sad. No one should be sad eating a taco. These were downright depressing.

Burger King had a taco variant on its menu in 2010, so maybe they were just hoping people had forgotten that when they launched their campaign for their $1 crispy tacos in July 2019. Alas, that's not the case. They hyped up the taco a lot, saying their West Coast customers loved them and so they should go national. They used imagery that made it look almost passable, but in the end it was universally panned by critics — and cursed in bathrooms everywhere.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Ranch Fries

Taco Bell was also a victim of the over hype machine that was the 2019 fast food industry. 

If you're not familiar with it, the Carolina Reaper is the spiciest pepper in the world. Think of the spiciest pepper you've ever eaten, and then triple it... at least. Maybe quadruple. The fact is, it's spicy. It's a 2,200,000 on the Scoville Scale actually. That's 200 times more hot than a jalapeno, just for comparison. So of course, were it to be added to a dish, it was going to get noticed. Enter Taco Bell's Steak Reaper Ranch Fries (and their burrito sibling).

The hype over these was that Taco Bell wanted to attract spice heads and those who wondered just how hot these fries were going to be. Just how much pain did you want to be in while eating french fries, essentially. 

The reaper pepper was added to the ranch sauce that goes on top of a mix of french fries and steak. The sauce was far hotter than their Fire sauce, though maybe not quite at Diablo sauce level because of the ranch. Basically, it wasn't going to send anyone into a coughing fit. So much for the Carolina Reaper. The general consensus was that the burrito was better and more substantial. 

Also, they simply can't compare to Taco Bell's Nacho Fries. Those were the real winner of 2019. That being said, some of the hype must have worked, as the burrito remains while the fries died off. Sometimes hype works, but that still doesn't mean it's worth it.

Starbucks Tie-Dye Frappuccino

Another month, another Starbucks limited edition frappuccino trying to make it big. Frankly, they'll never reach Unicorn Frappuccino success again, it's just not going to happen. 

However, Starbucks keeps playing the game, and they tried once again in 2019 to come out with an insanely colorful and weird tasting drink in hopes of making it onto everyone's Instagram pages. 

The Tie-Dye Frappuccino from Starbucks was supposed to be their "it" drink of the summer. To Starbucks' credit, they out-right admit they were just trying to make something that looked like summer, that was pretty and colorful. Did anyone notice that they built up all that hype and didn't really talk at all about the actual taste of the drink? Who cares about how a drink tastes when it looks so great with the one filter, right?

We will admit the the use of powders (turmeric, beet, and spirulina respectively) to give each frappuccino a unique tie dye look is really kind of genius, but when the drink is basically just a regular creme frappuccino with mysterious "tropical fruit flavor," we have to raise our eyebrows a bit. Not to mention the Tie-Dye Frappucino, much like all of their other over-hyped limited time drinks, was only available for a few days. 

Come on now, Starbucks. The pictures were indeed pretty, but most of them didn't even look like the ones in your pictures, and that was really the whole point, right? Overly hyped for sure.

KFC Cheetos Sandwich

This monstrosity is one of those menu items that was made purely to either disgust people or to get them to try it out of morbid curiosity. 

Look, KFC chicken is not bad, and Cheetos are not bad. Together, it's a neon orange horror show that one should probably only eat when highly intoxicated. Look, nothing should be that vibrant color of orange. Especially not something you're going to put into your body.

All that said, this was an insanely clever idea on KFC and Cheetos' part. Of course people were going to run out to try this. How could they not? The hype was real. 

It looked so toxic, so junk food iconic, that not trying it seemed like a crime. And that's more of less what happened. 

The KFC Cheetos Sandwich was introduced as part of a pop-up in Manhattan that offered other KFC and Cheetos creations like hot wings done Cheetos style, Cheetos topped fries, and best/worst of all, Cheetos macaroni and cheese. Though it's really the sandwich that captured people's attentions (and stomach issues).

The sandwich itself tasted like stale Cheetos on a chicken sandwiched drenched in Cheetos oil. No real surprise there. The overall consensus was that it just missed the mark, not living up to the hype and insane marketing. 

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich

Now, don't get us wrong. We love the chicken sandwich from Popeye's. It's a crispy, juicy work of art. 

However, the insane furor over this sandwich created more of a fuss than the thing itself. It's release, and subsequent viral tornado was one of the most insane examples of capitalism gone haywire we've ever seen. What really topped it, however, was its return later in the year

Look, the sandwich is delicious, but that's no reason to actually throw punches. Or ruin your car. Or murder someone. No sandwich is worth actually dying over. The tragedy really marked how overly hyped the Popeye's creation had become, and the danger of consumerism getting out of hand. At the end of the day, it's just a chicken sandwich.

A customer even had the audacity to sue Popeye's over not being able to get a chicken sandwich. 

And let's not even get started on the adverse effects on the poor Popeye's employees who had to deal with this all along the way. Long shifts, feet going numb, brawls of their own, and dealing with constant threats from customers... maybe the chicken sandwich shouldn't have come back at all? 

Besides, a lot of customers complained that it's second coming wasn't as food at the first, with patties being smaller, or simply just not as good.

Sometimes there's hype, and sometimes there's truly being overly hyped to the point of danger. Popeye's chicken sandwich definitely falls into the latter category.