19 Failed Fast-Food Menu Items You'll Never See Again
What would you do if your favorite order fell onto a growing list of discontinued fast-food items? You might be devastated, but you'd also be comforted in knowing that you're not alone. Thousands of fast-food enthusiasts have some practical solutions to that particular problem, after coping with their own beloved fast food items disappearing from their favorite menus. From Change.org petitions to Twitter hashtags to Facebook groups and—judging from the level of enthusiasm—possibly even candlelit vigils, fast-food devotees will stop at nothing to see these discontinued items returned to their favorite chains.
Fans' efforts aren't without success, either. Due to popular demand, McDonald's brought back the beloved '90s sensation, the McRib after a full decade off the menu. An episode of The Simpsons is dedicated to chasing the sandwich around the country, proving that it holds a special place as an icon of American culture.
But the McRib is far from the only failed fast-food menu item consumers demand to return. From tasty miniature cinnamon buns to whopping, extra-extra-large tacos, almost everyone has that one treat they miss and secretly wish would make a comeback. Here are the discontinued fast-food items fans hope will reappear on menus.
And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
KFC's Potato Wedges
Most fast-food restaurants serve fries, but KFC was an exception, until now. KFC discontinued its potato wedges this month and is switching to serving fries instead. Yep, we're heartbroken too.
Pizza Hut's Triple Decker Pizza
Certain things are objectively true: The sky is blue, 2+2=4, and pizza with more cheese is better. The good folks at Pizza Hut know this, which is why they stuffed as much cheese into this multi-layered pizza as they possibly could. Part of the late-'90s boom of novelty fast food items, the Triple Decker secured a permanent place in customers' hearts. Over twenty years after its launch, a Facebook fan page still pays homage to the legendary pie.
Burger King's Chicken Tenders
Behold the mysterious case of the retired chicken tenders that never were. A Facebook page titled "Bring Back Burger King's Chicken Tenders" has thousands of likes along with many angry fans who derided the company's attempt at replacing tenders with nuggets. In September 2018, Burger King announced that it would be serving chicken tenders, seemingly caving to public pressure with an encore appearance. The only catch? They claim they've never served chicken tenders on the menu before, and have even created a series of commercials that play on the false memory of the retired menu item.
Want to keep the nostalgia going? These Old TV Dinners Will Make You So Nostalgic For Your Childhood.
Wendy's Frescata Sandwiches
Subway gained a massive market share and was at its height in the early 2000s. The story could've stopped there with a sandwich monopoly, but because spunky redheads are not known for backing down from a challenge, Wendy's instead created a line of deli-style sandwiches in response. Many people loved the Frescata sandwiches and remember them to this day. Unfortunately for those fans, Frescatas were discontinued just one year after their introduction in 2006 due to poor sales and long prep times.
McDonald's Arch Deluxe
Were you alive during the 1990s? Then surely you remember the craze that was the Arch Deluxe. McDonald's threw $150 million at marketing the burger, which included a quarter-pound beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, peppered bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, on a sesame seed bun. If this sounds like a remix of the Big Mac theme song embedded in all of our brains, you're not alone. Most people dismissed the Arch Deluxe as a more expensive Big Mac, and it proved to be one of the biggest marketing flops of all time. But others with more sensitive, refined fast food palettes declared the Arch Deluxe the greatest burger in history and were dismayed at its demise. Luckily, more than two decades later, they got their way (sort of) when McDonald's unveiled the Archburger in 2018.
Whataburger's Steak Fajitas
This Texas-based chain has hundreds of locations, mostly across the South and Southwest. As the name would suggest, the restaurant is famous for its burgers, but there's a hardcore fanbase out there who believed it should be renamed "Whatafajita," until its legendary steak fajitas were discontinued in the early 2000s. As this guy so eloquently put it via a comment on Whataburger's Facebook page, "Why did y'all stop selling the beef fajitas?"
Taco Bell's Cheesarito
The Cheesarito is a simple, inexpensive pleasure of cheese, scallions, and the delightfully vague "taco sauce" nestled in a soft tortilla. The South-of-the-border chain discontinued the Cheesarito but enthusiasts need not despair. As the truly sophisticated fast-food patron knows, there are no finer delicacies than those on Taco Bell's "secret menu," where you can still find the glorious Cheesarito. Though for some folks, living in the shadows of the secret menu isn't enough.
McDonald's Fried Apple Pie
As customers increasingly expect healthier menu choices from restaurants, even fast-food chains have jumped on the bandwagon. In response to public demand for more nutritious apple pies, McDonald's replaced its crispy, delicious, fried crust with a much blander baked pie recipe.
Though it's slightly healthier, the difference doesn't seem substantial enough to justify the swap. The fried version reportedly has 240 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 25 grams of carbs, while the baked version has the same number of calories, 11 grams of fat, and 33 grams of carbs. A petition to make apple pie fried again puts it like this: "McDonald's, we know you're not good for us, and you never will be. You found a way to make kale salad unhealthier than a Big Mac. You managed to cram six days' worth of added sugar into your oatmeal. We know you will never succeed here."
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco
Do you like tacos? The answer to that question is surprisingly irrelevant to whether you'd like Taco Bell's Waffle Taco. This foray into breakfast foods is a full diner breakfast wrapped in one convenient package. It was launched in 2014 and nixed in 2015 in favor of the Biscuit Taco, your run of the mill egg and sausage breakfast sandwich curved into a taco-shaped novelty biscuit. When the breakfast-savvy public realized that curving a biscuit doesn't make it any tastier, they launched a full-fledged Change.org campaign to restore the Waffle Taco to the menu.
Sonic's French Toaster
This sandwich included two massive slices of French toast, eggs, and bacon or sausage. The breakfast of champions was introduced in 2015 but, inexplicably, Sonic chose to replace it with the inferior Breakfast Toaster. This sandwich removes the best part—French toast—and replaces it with Texas toast, losing the sweet-savory combo that devotees loved. But don't listen to me; take it from a guy who drove 20 miles just to get one.
McDonald's Szechuan Sauce
You may not be concerned about what sauce you eat your McNuggets with, but there are at least 45,126 people out there that think you need to get your priorities straight. That's the number of signatures on a Change.org petition devoted to bringing back the McDonald's Szechuan sauce.
Burger King's Cini-Minis
In the late '90s, Burger King started an unlikely turf war with Cinnabon, introducing its response to the famous pastries. Cini-Minis were delectable, miniature rolls of sugary, gooey tastiness, and they were a hit among fans of the King. One Change.org petitioner's pain is still very real: "Cini-Minis were a large part of my childhood, and Burger King chicken-stripped them away from me like the jesters they are."
KFC's Double Down
Let's say your job is "sandwich designer" and your job description is "person that creates new sandwiches," but you're also a Kanye-type and refuse to stifle your self-proclaimed genius, no matter what the public may say. In that case, you might replace your bread with two deep-fried chicken filets, fill it defiantly with only cheese and special sauce, then still have the nerve to advertise it as a "sandwich" knowing full-well what sandwiches look like. This is the [loosely interpreted] story of the KFC Double Down. It was the butt of many jokes when it was released, but its death was mourned by scores—so much so that it made a return for a limited time in 2014 due to popular demand, and many still carry a torch for the "sandwich" to this day.
McDonald's McSalad Shakers
Fast food isn't always about the taste—it's about convenience and choice. That's where the fans of McDonald's Salad Shakers come in. The novelty of the plastic cup alone led to a Facebook group of fans dedicated to bringing it back. Here's the core of their argument: "This was a revolutionary way for the fast-food giant to sell healthy, nutritious food in a convenient, portable way with almost no mess." Taste aside, they make a good point.
McDonald's Beef Tallow Fries
While vegetarians rejoiced when McDonald's switched from using beef fat to vegetable oil for their French fries, not everyone was pleased. As numerous sources have noted, it's not your imagination that the fries tasted better when you were a kid. The switch in the early '90s still has people riled up after all these years. The vegetable oil fries lack the savory flavor of old, but never fear—if you're committed, you can whip up a homemade batch of beef-fat-fried goodness.
Yep, it's been proven! This Is Why McDonald's Fries Are So Addictive.
Taco Bell's XXL Chalupas
Introduced in 2010, this is a super-sized version of a classic Taco Bell menu item, featuring a fried flatbread stuffed with ground beef, taco sauce, and a mountain of cheese. There are still fans out there demanding its return who have called the new Double Chalupa nothing more than a false prophecy.
Burger King's Crown-Shaped Nuggets
Crown-shaped nuggets are exactly what they sound like. We don't have to like things for logical reasons, OK? But if you need to analyze it, eating crown-shaped nuggets was the socially acceptable version of wearing the Burger King crown on your birthday as a kid, and don't we all still deserve that feeling? They were available from 2006 to 2011 and are survived only by a very sincerely written petition seeking to "bring awareness" about returning these nuggets to the throne.
KFC's Original Popcorn Chicken
Popcorn chicken was huge in the late nineties because it cut to the core of why we love fried chicken—the fried part. Fans put pressure on KFC to bring back popcorn chicken, and KFC obliged in the form of Popcorn Nuggets, a slightly larger iteration of the original. Justice is served (at 620 calories per serving).
Jack in the Box's Cheesy Macaroni Bites
Cheesy Macaroni Bites were introduced to Jack in the Box's menu in 2008 with advertisements that made the odd claim that, due to their compact triangular shape, it was a safer item to eat while driving. While no one has ever thought to eat regular macaroni and cheese while driving in the entire history of cars, these delightful little salt and fat bombs didn't need decent advertising to become a cult favorite.
For more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.