The fast food world is always changing. It has to, it has no choice really. The food business is so competitive that standing still pretty much means failure, and this is particularly true for fast food. Coming up with new products is where it is at for these industry giants. Sometimes, okay…most of the time, these products fail, but that doesn’t stop them from continuing to try.
There are so many fast food places competing for the almighty buck. There are the industry giants of course, like Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but there are tons of up and comers like Sonic and Carl’s Jr. to fight off. And then to top it all off, more and more Americans are trying to eat healthier, and are trying to eat more local and organic food. All of this means less dollars are going towards fast food, and makes the competition for these dollars even tighter.
Because of this, teams of marketing and production people gather constantly to try and think of new products. Most of them fail, like Kentucky Fried Chicken’s horrific Double Down Dog, which was basically a hot dog wrapped in Chicken (ummm, gross) or things like McPizza, but they just keep trotting them out. What follows are 15 products that are either new in 2016 and are out now, or are items that are being tested in small markets. Let’s hope you are hungry because here are 15 new fast food items you might be able to get this year. Eat up – just don’t try them all at once.
15. Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos
Okay, what? Why, in the name of all that is holy, would someone think this is a good idea? How many of these do you have to eat before you actually have a heart attack? These are mozzarella sticks that have Cheetos dust stuck to the outside and then for good measure they put some Mac and Cheese inside. Okay, so maybe it is just me, but this sounds super bad. When I was growing up, Burger King was right up there with McDonald’s, but as the years have gone on it has slipped a bit further down. The fact that they think something like this is a good idea is probably a good reason why 90% of the population would not consider this as something they would eat even if they were starving to death. But hey to each his own, if you want some of these they are out now.
14. Taco Bell Flamin’ Hot Fritos Taco
All right, so to me this is the same kind of scene as the Cheetos mac and cheese. When I go to eat Mexican food I don’t think to myself “man, this taco sure is good, the only thing that would make it better is if the shell were made of Fritos.” Maybe I am alone on this, though; it would not be the first time that myself and American culture did not see eye to eye. Basically this is a taco in a shell that is seasoned with Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot seasoning which does not sound all that bad I suppose. Okay I lied- it does sound bad. Taco Bell is really trying to break out of the mold and come up with some new products as you will see further down this list. Whether you think that is awesome or scary is kind of up to you.
13. The McChoco Potato
Wait, what? A McChoco Potato? Again, who comes up with this stuff. This is what McDonald’s said about this new product on Twitter “Everybody has a sweet side and a salty side. Now, with McChoco Potato, you don’t have to choose!” Well I suppose I do have a bit of a choice still; I could choose to run away from McDonald’s as fast as I can. Now I actually like McDonald’s. It is a total standby in a pinch when you are on the road, need a quick bite or have a bit of a hangover. But with that said, this makes no sense to me at all. A plate of potatoes with chocolate drizzled on top? Why? This fails on two levels. People at McDonald’s just want regular fries and people that might want something more extravagant would never go to McDonald’s in the first place. This will not catch on.
12. Carl’s Jr. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Burger
I never got the people that put the chips on their sandwich. You know the ones- they buy a sandwich and then they buy a bag of chips, then they take the chips and put them on their sandwich and eat them all together. Why do people do that? Well, apparently Carl’s Jr thinks there is a reason. They just came out with this burger that has a ton of flaming hot Cheetos on the top. This makes no sense. “Man, that burger is good, the only thing that would make it better is if I had a bunch of Cheetos on it” does not compute with me. And what is it with Cheetos? Why does that sound good? I mean when I grill up a steak, would I throw some Cheetos on top? No. Then why would I want to do that on a burger? I have no idea.
11. Dunkin’ Donuts Bacon Sausages
This one seriously makes me kind of mad. When I was growing up Dunkin Donuts was just fine. They had good coffee and decent donuts. It was not anything special but it did the trick if that is what you were looking for. Over the last 10-20 years they decided to get into the food business, and let’s face it, most of what they make is not that good. Fine, no big crime there. But what they are doing now is just evil. High quality bacon is awesome, as is high quality sausage. Dunkin’ Donuts uses low quality bacon and sausage, which is still not that bad. But now they are making what they call bacon sausages, where the bacon is actually inside the sausage. Yeah, I am going to pass on this. And I will do so without ever even being slightly curious as to what it tastes like.
10. Burger King Extra Long Buttery Cheeseburger
Okay, so I know I am being super-negative so far. It is not like I mean to do so, it is just that all of this stuff sounds super-awful. If you are expecting to hear a different take on this one, you might want to skip right over it. The Burger King Extra Long Buttery Cheeseburger sounds just extra awful. First of all, who thinks describing anything as “extra long and buttery” makes it sound like something you would want to eat? Basically this is a burger on a long hoagie roll that is covered with buttery garlic sauce. This sounds like it might cause an extra long trip to the bathroom. Seriously Burger King, you guys have to step up your game because products like this are not going to lead you back to the top of the fast food mountain, I can promise you that for certain.
9. Taco Bell Croissant Tacos
Okay, so the most I can say for these is they do not look totally awful. I can’t imagine thinking of a place that serves bad Mexican food as a place to go for breakfast but if one does go, having some egg and sausage on a croissant does not sound so bad. It is hard to make a bad croissant, pretty much everything on one tastes okay. The only real issue I have with this is the whole taco thing. If you shape a piece of bread like a taco, and put things in it that don’t usually go on a taco is it still a taco? Like if I take one piece of white bread and put some ham and cheese on it and then fold it up like a taco am I eating a taco? I say no, but I bet Taco Bell just might disagree with me.
8. McDonald’s Sweet Potato Fries
All right. This one sounds good. Personally I still prefer regular old fries to sweet potato fries. To me sweet potato fries are good for a little while, but I can’t pound them down in quite the same way as good old regular fries, and McDonald’s fries are pretty darn good. Still, this one might have some legs. More and more if you eat out you see sweet potato fries on the menu and a lot of people love them, so this new addition to the menu just might work. It also is just nice and simple, which is what places like McDonald’s are known for, decent burgers and decent fries. No need to get out of the mold, just do what you do best. As long as they don’t try to combine the sweet potato fries with Cheetos in some way we should be all set.
All right, I am pushing the envelope a bit here as the KFchizza actually came out in 2015. The reason I am including it is that apparently the Chizza is huge in India. In fact, there has been a competition going on where they are going to give away a million rupees for the Millionth Chizza sold. If you had not figured it out, or perhaps you were trying to avoid thinking about it, the Chizza is a large flat piece of chicken that has pizza toppings on it, like sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Sounds great right? Anyway, in America the Chizza somehow has not quite caught on, but not in India. Listen to the General manager of KFC India when he says “At KFC, it has been our constant endeavour to offer customers something new, exciting and craveable; the Chizza is all that and much more.” Mmm… Chizza.
6. McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks
McDonald’s again shows that it is a bit above and beyond when it comes to the new products. Where others keep trying to put together something that is eye catching and often bizarre, McDonald’s sticks to the staples. Do Mozzarella sticks sound super- exciting? No, they do not. But they also do not sound totally disgusting, which on this list is a big plus. Mozzarella sticks have long been the type of thing that you would order in a sports bar for an app, or at a local pub. Some people like them and some don’t, but it still is an item that might have a shot at sticking around. The fact that McDonald’s puts these out while Burger King puts out the same thing covered in Cheetos crumbs with Mac and Cheese in the middle kind of shows which chain is a little desperate.
5. Taco Bell 2wister Tacos
For those of you who really dig Taco Bell, and can never decide which taco to try, they have come out with something they call 2wister tacos, which is basically a way to combine two flavors. These tacos are Double Decker Tacos – 2wisters come in two varieties, a Cheesy + Crunchy version and a Spicy + Cool. This does not excite me a whole lot, but then again I tend to go to a Mexican take-out place down the street, where the guys that own it actually are Mexican and they use high quality ingredients. Going to a Mexican place where my food is prepared by a 15-year-old goth kid doesn’t quite do it for me. Mexican is that kind of thing where you sort of want it to be authentic. With that said, this item does not sound as bad as most on this list.
4. McDonald’s “Chef Crafted” Customization Options
This one is kind of interesting, although I don’t see how it would ever work on a large scale. It appears that McDonald’s is experimenting, mostly in San Diego, with a bit of a higher end burger experience. You can choose things to be made specifically with things like buffalo bacon, pico guacamole, and maple bacon dijon. You can also choose things like the type of bun and the type of patty. This sounds good for sure, but there are already so many places like Elevation Burger, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, that are doing this type of thing. It is interesting that McDonald’s thinks it can compete, or that it even wants to. In my opinion they should just keep doing what they do best, and not try to compete with other people on their level, but what do I know. I write for a living.
3. Real Rotisserie Chicken And Carved Turkey Sandwiches At Subway
I never quite got Subway, and this is even before their spokesman Jared got busted for messing around with child pornography and sent to prison. Why don’t I get Subway? Well, it is simple. While other fast food options are things that are hard, or impossible to get at your corner store, not so with sandwiches. I mean you can walk into any store and get a sandwich that is as good, or way better than what you get from Subway. It really is not very good and does not use good ingredients. They are now going to offer sandwiches featuring rotisserie chicken and carved turkey, which is kind of like saying “Hey, our sandwiches were always pretty bad, but they are actually kind of better now.” I am still not buying that the quality is going to be there, but hey, to each his own.
2. Wendy’s Bacon Mozzarella Cheeseburger
This one I honestly just can’t tell whether is will be good or not. It is being billed as something that is part burger and part pizza and is currently available in test markets in the states of Washington, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The burger is adorned with garlic cheese sauce, a ton of mozzarella, a quarter pound patty, spring mix, and a red onion garlic brioche bun. All right first of all this isn’t part pizza. You know how I know this? Well, because pizza is not a hamburger. You can’t just put mozzarella on something and say it is part pizza. Things do not work that way. With all that said, Wendy’s is actually pretty darn good at making burgers- some say they have the best fast good burger out there. So I bet the burger is pretty good, it is just the marketing that is kind of ridiculous.
1. McDonald’s Mini Meals
If these look kind of familiar, well they are. The Happy meal is a meal for kids that you get with the little toy inside. Well, it turns out that a lot of adults order it for themselves as well so McDonald’s decided to market the same thing towards adults. Mini Meals all have a sandwich, small fries and a small drink for under $4. This makes sense on a lot of levels. It isn’t that fast food is so bad for you, (although it kind of is) it is more the enormous portions. If you just have a small amount of something that is not that good for you, then you still get that fast food hit without all of the calories and grease. It being economical is also a factor- mini meals get you back to the days that you could get some fast food and not have it cost you ten bucks, and that in itself is a good thing.