Fighting off a fast-food craving? Never fear — this list of artery-clogging menu items will leave you wishing for a garden salad and a cold shower. Some of these foods were so gag-worthy that they lasted only days. Others were brought back by popular demand, despite their monumental lack of healthiness. Better put your lunch to the side while you read this list.
Pop Quiz: What is inside a McDonald’s Mc Hot Dog? Chicken nuggets? A lil’ Big Mac? A few pieces of McGriddle? Even one of McDonald’s founders, Ray Kroc, was against selling dogs before this item’s mid-’90s release. “There’s no telling what’s inside,” he said. We’re not lovin’ it.
It sounds like we’re making this one up. BK launched the Bacon Sundae in 2012 to reviews that were as mixed as its ingredients. The dessert was a standard vanilla sundae topped with bacon bits AND two strips of fried bacon. Needless to say, it didn’t last.
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Nobody else was testing mac and cheese in 2008. Why not give it a try? Jack in the Box introduced their Cheesy Macaroni Bites in made-to-go, triangular form. Orange triangles? Doritos would like a word.
Jack in the Box
Okay, we wouldn’t mind having these back, but as actually healthy options. McDonald’s McSalad Shakers were nearly as fattening as their other menu items. This time, Ronald, consult Wendy’s for some creative ideas. Yeah, we went there. Apple pecan chicken shakers? Yes, please.
Only at Popeye’s would they try this craziness. The Sweet & Crunchy tenders were made with cookie dough batter, and people weren’t buying it. Obviously. They lasted for a single month in 2017. Would you give them a try?
Pork ribs on Burger King’s menu? One weekend in 2010, BK gave it a shot and were met with wild success! They were so shocked that they completely ran out by Saturday. Unfortunately, customers reported feeling sick to their stomachs by Sunday. Management said, “That’s all, folks.”
The Taco Bell Bell Beefer (yes, two “bells”) was introduced in the 1970s as a sloppy joe-style alternative to the burger. Hey, Taco Bell… you do realize that to-go food shouldn’t be messy, right? Never mind. Look who we’re asking.
BK tried to take a stab back at Taco Bell back in 2016 and they missed — big time. The Whopperito was basically ground-up beef from a Whopper stuffed into a tortilla. Thanks, BK, but most of us don’t need our Whopper to look pre-chewed.
Remember the story of Chicken Little, the paranoid chicken who thought the world was ending? Apparently, KFC thought the world might be kaput when they introduced this tiny item in the 1980s. Fans say it was worse when they brought it back in 2012 — the year of the Mayan apocalypse. Creepy.
Down south, it isn’t uncommon to find meat paired with waffles. It also isn’t uncommon to find authentic tacos. But put the two together and you have a major 2014 flop. This attempt at “breakfast to-go” was just a syrupy, eggy mess — definitely not a balanced breakfast.
No, Pizza Hut. Just no. Taco Bell has crazy, taco-related items covered. Do you really think you’ll be able to compete? To our dismay, Pizza Hut’s Taco Pizza turned out to be a huge hit in the 1970s. Maybe we’re wrong about this one. Free pizza love, man.
Ever wish you could violently shake your food before consuming it? These fries came complete with a shakable bag and a packet of “Flavor Blast.” The commercials had stars like Bart Simpson doing “the jackhammer, the helicopter, and the boogie shake.” Eventually, BK shook them off the shelves.
Ah, yes. Many remember the infamous KFC Double Down Sandwich. This 2010 release was called one of the “unhealthiest fast food sandwiches in history.” Two deep-fried chicken pieces replaced the buns on a bacon, cheese, and “special sauce” sandwich. Instant classic — and stomachache.
We got seasick just reading the name. After McDonald’s successfully launched the Filet-O-Fish in the 1980s, Taco Bell wanted to join in on the seafood market. This “salad” was served with a deep-fried taco shell, heavy cheese, and three types of fish. Gag.
No, you’re thinking of onion rings. McDonald’s Onion Nuggets of the ’70s were definitely not what you’re expecting. They took clumps of diced onion, breaded them, and fried them up to create a “chicken nugget alternative” texture. Rings take a lot less work, guys. Blegh.
When Taco Bell tried to bring back this monster burrito in 2016, fans were thoroughly unimpressed. They wanted the huge, beef-and-cheese-filled heart attack in a roll-up they remembered from the summer of 2011. Perhaps this loss was for the best.
In Japan, restaurants can get away with more… creative choices. That’s why McDonald’s only released their Halloween Choco Fries to the Japanese public back in 2016. It came with two drizzles: chocolate and pumpkin sauce. But doesn’t ketchup already look like blood?
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Even if you love French toast, Sonic’s French Toaster was a bit much. It came on two giant slices with eggs, cheese, and your choice of bacon or sausage. Due to sticky fingers, the morning treat returned in 2015 — minus the French toast. Boo!
Back in the late 80’s, the “McPizza” (a customer nickname) hoped to knockout competitors like Dominos and Pizza Hut. What happened? With a higher cost and longer cook time (coming in at, heaven-forbid, six whole minutes), customers weren’t having a slice of the pie.
In 1997, Wendy’s introduced pitas with either Caesar or Greek salad stuffing — pushing back against the “wrap” craze. The thing about wraps is; they’re wrapped. As in, they don’t fall apart the second you take a bite. By 2000, they called it a wrap on the pitas. But what about fast food items you can’t afford not to order?
If you’re looking to leave Arby’s with a full stomach, don’t order several different items. Stick with the Meat Mountain sandwich: chicken tenders, turkey, bacon, ham, brisket, corned beef, steak, and roast beef. Eat each separately, then, check your blood pressure.
You’d think that buying larger quantities of items would be a better bang for you buck, but at McDonald’s, it’s actually cheaper to buy several smaller quantities of nuggets if you’re looking to eat a lot of them.
If you and a buddy go to Subway and both plan on eating a six-inch sandwich, it’s way more cost effective to order a foot long and split it. Of course, you both need to want the same thing.
Ordering a quesadilla from Taco Bell is always a safe bet, but few people ever ask for it double grilled. This makes the tortillas extra crispy, and Taco Bell enthusiasts claim it enhances the flavor tenfold.
No matter what item you order at Chipotle, you’re always allowed to get extra rice at no additional charge. Adding an extra heap of rice will fill you up more, and it can even help stretch one meal into two.
Shake Shack enthusiasts might know about this secret menu item, but most who visit are unaware they have a peanut butter and bacon burger. Order a bacon burger and a side of peanut sauce. Then, combine and enjoy!
Hawaiian pizza is a very polarizing flavor combination, but Domino’s offers it as an option. However, even though they have a specialty pineapple-and-ham pie, ordering a plain pie and adding those ingredients separately is cheaper.
Big Macs on their own aren’t cheap, so here’s a nifty trick: Order a double cheeseburger, ask for special sauce instead of ketchup and mustard, and add pickles and lettuce. Boom. A Big Mac without the middle bun.
One of the reasons why people love the fish filet sandwich at McDonald’s is because the bun is steamed, fluffier, and superior tasting. And, you can swap it in with any burger if you don’t want fish.
Starbucks offers customers the option to buy their own re-usable cups they can bring back for refills and avoid a 10-cent charge for paper cups. All those dimes add up if you’re a frequent customer.
Jamba Juice employees are required to allow whatever kind of substitutions a customer wants, which means there are tons of different creations to think up. Study the menu and figure out which ultimate smoothie is most cost effective.
If you’re looking to shovel down a towering stack of four beef patties, four slices of cheese, and bacon, then Burger King’s Quad Stacker has your name all over it. A lotta sandwich for a little money.
It’s always a bummer when the employees at Chipotle skimp on the proteins when making your burrito. Next time, ask for an equal amount of two different meats so your burrito bulges like it’s meant to.
If you consider yourself a Burger King connoisseur, then you better get yourself a Crown Club Card to join their exclusive rewards program. The more you order, the more points you get, and that means free stuff.
Fan’s of Arby’s go there for the roast beef, and the Classic Roast Beef Sandwich is a popular choice. But, ordering two Junior Roast Beef Sandwiches gets you more meat, and that means you leave happier.
Sonic is a super underrated chain, but those who know about its greatness are familiar with the purple Sprite. For those unfamiliar, ask a worker to mix Powerade, cranberry juice, and Sprite together. Voila, purple Sprite!
Carbohydrates have quickly become the enemy of those trying to lose weight, and In-N-Out Burger has those people covered. Order the Flying Dutchmen and you’ll get two grilled patties with cheese sans the buns.
Sometimes the burritos they stuff at Chipotle are too huge to finish in one sitting, but they get soggy if you wait until later. So, order a burrito bowl with warm tortillas on the side instead.
When you order a drink at Starbucks that comes with whipped cream, a good portion of the drink is just whipped cream, which robs you of liquid. Next time, ask for a drink in the next size up.
Although rush hour isn’t an ideal time to eat when you’re in a hurry, the food is always the freshest and the most competent employees are working. And, the best employees will also tell you to avoid certain foods.
21. For those looking for a vegetarian-friendly gravy option, cheaper fast-food restaurants like KFC are actually a better choice than most high-end restaurants. Cheap takeout spots will often use dry, pre-mixed gravies, whereas your local five-star French eatery likely uses pan drippings from meat dishes.
22. Let’s be honest: everything on the menu at Buffalo Wild Wings is questionable at best. But for those that do opt to put their stomachs on the line, it’s best not to miss the lunch and dinner rushes. Between the hours of 12:45 and 4:30, daring diners can expect a nice heaping plate of crusty, hours-old wings.
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23. Shelling out $15 for a hotdog is already insane, but actually eating one might be even crazier. After being grilled, the hotdogs are left in a vat of water until someone orders one.
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24. Sure, it may make you feel like a big shot when you order from the beer taps, but maybe it’s best to just stick to the bottle for now. Beer taps are rarely cleaned, causing mold and bacteria to build up in the lines… and fall right into your drink.
25. If the taste of Burger King chicken fries wasn’t enough to get you to stop eating them, maybe their cooking method will. BK’s chicken fries are fried immediately upon delivery, left to sit on an open tray, and then fried again when someone wants them “fresh.” Rock-solid chicken anyone?
26. Lovers of pickles will be heartbroken to hear that servers and cooks use their often-unwashed hands to fish pickles out of their briny buckets, contaminating the pickle juice with a thin layer of film that builds on the surface.
27. Like beer taps, milkshake machines are rarely cleaned, due in large part to how difficult they are to disassemble and sanitize. The metal straws they’re served with barely get cleaned either. Yum!
28. Bacteria-wise, the dirty martini is actually one of the dirtiest out there. According to one bar expert, most bartenders pour the olive brine right from the garnish tray when mixing this drink. But, hey: at least they’re upfront about it.
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29. Though it may look fancy, it’s best to avoid water that’s had any kind of citrus fruit floating in it, especially lemons. More often than not, lemons aren’t washed or disinfected before being dropped in water.
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30. Shockingly, the Filet-o-Fish is actually one of the freshest of all the McDonald’s menu options — that is, unless you live in the central U.S. While the fast-food giant boasts a steady supply of fish to their coastal restaurants, you’ll need some extra tartar sauce at their franchises in most land-locked states.
31. Sushi lovers be warned: you might want to pack an extra pair of underwear the next time you order “white tuna” from your favorite sushi spot. While this fish – actually called Escolar – is buttery and delicious, its high oil content causes intense gastrointestinal distress.
32. No, it’s not the eggs or the meat that’ll get you: it’s the sauce. Bacteria love hollandaise, and according to the late Anthony Bourdain, most restaurants let the savory sauce sit in open vats for weeks on end, allowing mold and other contaminants to accumulate.
33. While it won’t come as a shock to know that Wendy’s uses old burgers to make their signature chili, the method they use to recycle the meat is enough to make anyone reconsider their next visit. After putting all leftover patties in a vat of water, restaurant workers microwave them for ten minutes and then chop them up for later use.
34. Now, you may be wondering: all salads? Pretty much. Salads are one of the most mishandled dishes at restaurants, as they’re usually thrown together by un-gloved waiters looking to quickly get back to waiting tables. And forget about salads at pizza places: they’re basically just heaps of rotting, frozen lettuce.
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35. Being able to grab a McMuffin or a stack of pancakes at all hours of the day might sound enticing, but you’re fooling yourself if you think that sausage patty is fresh off the grill. Unless it’s before 11 AM, any breakfast item you order will come to you straight out of the microwave.
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36. It may seem counterintuitive, but the dishes that waiters push the most are usually the least fresh out of all the menu options. When chefs want to get rid of ingredients that have been sitting around too long, they simply toss them together and call it a “special.” Bon appétit!
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37. The next time you’re looking for a meatless alternative to satisfy your barbecue cravings, it’s probably best to grill one up yourself. Unless you’re at a restaurant known for its vegetarian options, odds are your “Beyond Meat” burger is being grilled on the same flat top as someone else’s bacon cheeseburger.
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38.Though Subway may advocate for their customers to “eat fresh,” their tuna salad is anything but. Not only is this rarely ordered menu item often expired before it’s ever opened, but some workers even cover old date labels with new ones to avoid getting in trouble when serving it.
39. This international pancake house may be known for its egg dishes, but it turns out that your omelet would probably go better with syrup and butter than with any of your favorite salty toppings. IHOP is known to mix pancake batter with its omelets.
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