If you’re a loyal devotee of fast food, seeing one of your favorite menu items at a fast food chain disappear can feel like a death in the family. All right, maybe it’s not that tragic, but you’ll certainly feel the loss. We’ve rounded up 10 fast food items that were taken off of menus, and that are certainly missed.
Items are added to and removed from fast food menus all the time. Some are limited-time offers that are destined for a short run. These may be introduced to test markets to see how they perform (with the ultimate goal of rolling them out nationally if they succeed), or they might hit all national locations for a brief window of time each year in order to keep the hype going (like McDonald’s infamous McRib). Sometimes chains strike gold with a new release; just look at Taco Bell’s now-legendary Doritos Locos, which generated more than a billion dollars in revenue for the chain within months of their release. But other items don’t fare as well, disappearing from menus for a host of reasons.
Some fast food items fall by the wayside simply because they’re too difficult to prepare and employees can’t work it into their workflow. This was the case with Shake Shack’s hand-cut fries, which were rolled out a couple years ago and quickly removed from menus once corporate realized that it prohibitively difficult to outfit existing locations with fry-cutting equipment, train the staff, and maintain quality control. Most other menu items say farewell once sales slack off and the cost of keeping the ingredients on hand becomes too high.
But not all discontinued fast food menu items are gone forever. Look at the semi-infamous chicken fries from Burger King, which returned to menus in 2015 after a three-year hiatus. But if a fast food item has been discontinued, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone wants to see it back on menus. Take McDonald’s ill-advised McLean, which replaced some of the fat in the burger patty with water and a thickener called carrageenan. Nobody wanted one of those the first time around in 1991, and nobody wants it now.