8 Completely Ridiculous Restaurant Commercials From the 1980s Slideshow

7) Brown Derby

The food in modern commercials looks so perfectly manicured that it’s odd to see a commercial advertising food that actually looks like food. In this brief ad for Brown Derby, a now-defunct Hollywood-based chain widely credited with having invented the Cobb Salad, a $4.95 special is advertised: sirloin steak, Boston scrod, or beef shish kebab, with soup and salad. A cartoon mascot them awkwardly transforms himself into a map of the U.S. None of the dishes look particularly appetizing, unfortunately, and we’re still trying to figure out what the heck a scrod is. 

5) Sambo’s

"We’re bringing down the high price of bringing up your kid," this commercial claimed as it advertised an awkwardly composed $0.25 "Samburger Jr." that appears way too tall for a kid to eat. Although we will admit that the kid saying "Dad, haven’t you heard of inflation?" after being given a quarter is pretty funny.

While the chain had no connection to the book The Story of Little Black Sambo, many people drew an obvious connotation and the company was met with a handful of protests and lawsuits. Even though there were more than 1,000 outposts in 47 states in 1981, only one remains today, in Santa Barbara, Calif. 

4) Beefsteak Charlie’s

"I’m Beefsteak Charlie and you’re going to get spoiled with free shrimp," the mustachioed spokesman for this now-defunct (sensing a trend here?) New York chain tells the audience in a moderately condescending tone. Crazy-eyed cooks and servers then sing at the camera while awkwardly dangling a steak and carrying a comically large bowl of shrimp. Charlie then gets a little too close for comfort to a kid eating some free shrimp. How low in quality does shrimp have to be for a restaurant to give it away for free?

2) A&W

There’s something just slightly off about this Canadian commercial for the once-popular chain of A&W restaurants, but we can’t put our finger on it. Maybe it’s the bear that’s apparently conducting a band that can’t have more than three members. Maybe it’s the whole head of iceberg lettuce being torn apart. Maybe it’s the downright terrible jingle, loaded with gibberish. It might be the mystery ring of meat that they top the burger with (could that possibly be bacon?). One thing’s for certain, though: this commercial is completely ridiculous.