If there’s one style of food that’s more synonymous with American dining than any other, it’s fast food. Burgers, fried, chicken nuggets… you know fast food when you see it. And while it could be argued that the majority of fast food items deserve their places on their respective menus, some of them really never should have existed at all.
Fast food menus have exploded in size in recent years, with more and more items being added, many seemingly at random. Even though the success of chains like In-N-Out and Shake Shack has proven that it’s wiser to focus on a making handful of core menu items really good than constantly throwing things against the wall (in this case, the wall being an unsuspecting American public) and seeing what sticks, the fast food parade marches on as more and more people opt for seemingly healthier options at fast-casual chains like Panera Bread or Chipotle. These are desperate times for fast food, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
That’s not to say that all completely pointless fast food menu items are recent innovations (as you’ll see), or that all recent innovations have been pointless. For example, take Wendy’s recently launched Baconator fries: besides being a wise extension of their Baconator brand, they’re fries topped with cheese sauce, bacon, and more cheese, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And we’re willing to admit the hot dog stuffed-crust pizza from Pizza Hut is brilliant. In this era of preposterous mashups, it’s almost refreshing to see a fast food combination that should have been invented years ago: pizza and pigs in a blanket.
Some of these fast food items were experiments that were never really meant to last; others were big-budget menu items with huge marketing programs behind them that ended up failing miserably. A few are still on menus as of this publication date, but that doesn’t make them any less pointless. Read on for 10 fast food items that really shouldn’t have ever existed in the first place.
McDonald’s: Mighty Wings
When McDonald’s decided back in the summer of 2013 that they were finally going to roll out their Mighty Wings — breaded and fried chicken wings — on a national scale, the timing seemed right: wings were everywhere, competitors like Buffalo Wild Wings were booming, and everyone was tiring of burgers. But they were too expensive and too spicy, and people just didn’t really feel right eating wings at McDonald’s. The product failed miserably, leaving 10 million pounds of unsold wings sitting around. Even though they actually tasted pretty good if you could handle the spice, there was just no reason for these to make it onto the menu.
Burger King: Satisfries
Burger King spent millions of dollars developing and rolling out a lower-calorie French fry in 2013, even though there was zero demand for them. Despite a marketing push, nobody bought them, because nobody who’s eating fries cares if they’re healthy or not. They fell off just about every location’s menu within a year of their release. More like saddest fries.