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6 Popular Fast-Food Items That Were Cut From Menus This Year

It's the end of an era for several beloved options.

There's no doubt that the past couple of years have been a roller coaster for businesses, especially restaurants grappling with the endless ebb and flow of labor shortages, supply chain snafus, and the cost of ingredients. All of these factors were key contributors to menu cuts.

Since time immemorial, discontinuing items has been par for the course at fast-food restaurants, and it's something that's become all too commonplace in recent years.

While some discontinued menu items eventually make comebacks, the same fate hasn't held true for others—for every Mexican Pizza renaissance, there's a Pizza Slider that's been lost to time. Basically, if you'd rather not have your heart broken, it's best not to get too attached to the new vegan chorizo or Cake Batter Latte.

So far, 2022 has seen a whirlwind of menu changes, with seemingly as many removals as there have been additions. As fast-food chains continue to grapple with shortages and staffing woes, pivots have been made to edit menus down and focus on quality over quantity as much as possible. From ice cream treats to an entire format of ordering, here are some popular fast-food items that have been nixed so far this year.

5 Truths About Burger Chains That Will Make You Lose Your Appetite

Salads at Burger King

burger king salad
Burger King / Facebook

In this day and age, you'd think a fast-food restaurant would make more concerted efforts to offer fresher, healthier menu options. In some cases, that's been true. In others, like at Burger King, the complete opposite took place.

Earlier this year, the Whopper-slinger decided that New Year's resolutions were over, opting to cut salads from its menus entirely. Bold move.

Perhaps, with the addition of the plant-based Impossible Whopper, Burger King felt there was no need for actual plants on its menu anymore? With salads disappearing from other fast-food chains as well, it looks like customers will just have to go to dedicated salad restaurants now.

Dairy Items at Burger King

burger king sundaes
Burger King / Facebook

Burger King also decided to remove another portion of the food pyramid from its menu, putting several of its dairy items on the chopping block.

In a move to simplify operations and speed up service at its drive-thrus, the chain discontinued sundaes, whipped toppings, and chocolate milk.

These were less popular menu items anyway, but if you were heading to your local BK with the hopes of getting a fudge sundae with whipped cream and a chocolate milk chaser, you literally won't find any of that.

$1 Drinks at McDonald's

mcdonalds drink
NP27 / Shutterstock

The Dollar Menu at McDonald's has seen more ups and downs than an elevator on the fritz, with pricing and offerings changing wildly over the years. Remember when Dollar Menu items actually cost a dollar? The good old days!

Lately, that budget-focused menu saw the removal of yet another item: soda. According to The Wall Street Journal, operators of McDonald's restaurants across the nation have stopped offering the $1 any-size drink option due to inflation. Without the deal in place, you'll now pay several dimes more to quench your thirst at Mickey D's.

Vanilla Frosty at Wendy's

wendy's vanilla frosty
Courtesy of Wendy's

While Burger King may have dwindled its dairy offerings, Wendy's went the opposite direction and doubled down with the recent-ish introduction of its Vanilla Frosty. For many years, the fast-food chain's iconic dessert only came in chocolate flavor, but vanilla was a huge hit—and one of our favorite ice cream desserts of any fast-food chain.

Well, buckle up, because Wendy's has now made the audacious move of replacing this instant fan favorite (at least temporarily, we hope) with another new flavor. After earning acclaim in Canada, and rumors swirling of its debut in the U.S., the Strawberry Frosty has become a reality. That's all well and good, but since most Wendy's locations only have the capacity for two flavors—and that OG chocolate obviously isn't going anywhere—that means vanilla had to be sidelined for the new fruity version.

Here's the hopeful news, though: while vanilla may be temporarily unavailable, strawberry is billed as a seasonal flavor, which means vanilla may return in the fall. We've had our hearts broken before, though, so we'll believe it when we see it.

Customization at Subway

subway employee

Subway used to be the kind of mix-and-match sandwich chain where you could have it your way, opting for whatever ingredients, dressings, meats, and cheeses you'd like. But if there's one thing we've come to expect from Subway, it's that it's willing to try just about anything to keep its sandwich empire running.

Enter drastic changes, like overhauling the franchisee system and offering "grab & go"-style selections. If all that wasn't dizzying enough, Subway recently upended its entire menu format. As part of its ongoing Eat Fresh Refresh campaign, the chain has begun to move away from menu customization it's so known for, instead opting for a straightforward menu of 12 sandwiches to be ordered by the number.

It's a bold move, so here's hoping that customers love the new Subway Series sandwiches enough to keep coming back.

A dishonorable discharge

starbucks chicken maple butter and egg sandwich
Courtesy of Starbucks

While this recently nixed sandwich at Starbucks wasn't on around long enough to become a customer favorite, the surprising brevity of its tenure earns it a slot on this list of surprising fast-food menu decisions.

The Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich at Starbucks was billed as a limited-time summer menu special, which seems weird in and of itself, considering maple butter doesn't exactly scream "summer." What's even weirder is that the sandwich had a shelf life of less than a week.

After debuting on menus on June 21, it was quickly discontinued across the nation on June 26. Why the abrupt turnaround? It looks like quality concerns and potential food safety issues may have been a factor in the chain's decision. So if you were one of the rare few to try this unusual summer sandwich at Starbucks, count yourself lucky—or rather, unlucky.

Matt Kirouac
Matt Kirouac is a travel and food writer and culinary school graduate, with a passion for national parks, all things Disney, and road trip restaurants. Read more about Matt