These fast food chains are the very same establishments that brought you deliciously addictive items like the Big Mac, Whopper, and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. However, not everything they’ve developed over the years was a success. In fact, many of their ideas were disastrous failures. Some ideas were so preposterous that you might question the sanity of the big wigs who were running these companies at the time. Without further ado, here are twelve examples of the most epic fast food failures over the years.
1. McDonald’s Hulaburger
In a failed attempt to cater to Catholics who avoided meat on Fridays during Lent, McDonalds created the Hula Burger in the 1960s. The decline in Friday sales apparently drove the chain crazy enough to come up with the insane idea of replacing meat entirely with grilled pineapple. Regardless of the absence of meat, the ‘burger’ still came with cheese and ketchup, making it somehow even more disgusting than a plain pineapple sandwich.
Continue through the gallery to see more epic fast food failures!
2. Burger King Kuro Burger
The Burger King Kuro Burger — which translates to Black Burger — was released in Japan in 2014. It features not only a jet-black bun but also black cheese and black sauce containing squid ink. The standard Kuro Pearl is a stripped down version, but you can step up to the Kuro Diamond that comes with onions, lettuce, and tomato. While it is certainly an eye-catching and intriguing idea, the taste has been compared to that of a microwaved salisbury steak.
3. McDonald’s Black Burger
The McDonald’s black burger was released to compete with Burger King’s similarly black Kuro burger. While Burger King’s version was jet black in color due to the combined use of bamboo charcoal and a special sauce, McDonald’s burger was more often described as a dull gray color, as well as limp when compared to the promotional photos. The burger thankfully did not stay on the menu very long and was only offered for a short promotional time around Halloween.
4. Burger King Tacos
This sad excuse for a taco was discontinued by Burger King in 2003. The taco was filled with a meager amount of meat and often described as soggy. There’s a good reason they are known as Burger King and not Taco King.
5. Wendy’s Superbar
In the late 1980s, Wendys took its salad bar to a whole new level by introducing the Superbar. This was essentially a buffet that incorporated not only salad and fruit, but also various cold pastas and mexican fair. Despite the strange assortment, the Superbar actually lasted for close to a decade before being discontinued.
6. Taco Bell Beefer
Long before Taco Bell decided you should ‘Think Outside the Bun,’ they tried exactly the opposite. In the 1970s they thought it would be ingenious to shove some taco meat into a hamburger bun with some cheese and veggies. Aside from it being extremely unhealthy, the loose ground beef obviously did not stay in the bun very long. Needless to say, it probably was not the best fast food item to eat while driving.
7. McDonald’s McStuffin
There is not much to say about this short-lived product. It was essentially McDonald’s take on a Hot Pocket and was discontinued very shortly after being introduced.
8. McDonald’s McSpaghetti
In the 1970s the fast food industry had a lot of competition, forcing every chain to try branching out.
That need to broaden horizons led to the laughable attempt by McDonald’s to add spaghetti to their menu. At the time they also added other pasta dinners like lasagna and Alfredo.
The McSpaghetti did not last very long and was shortly discontinued in most markets. The product actually did do well in the Philippines, and is still being sold today supplemented with rice and a piece of chicken.
9. Burger King Table Service
For some inexplicable reason, in the early 1990s Burger King tried to appeal to families looking for a more full-service experience. The logic doesn’t seem to make sense, but they believed adding table service to fast food would draw a more high-class crowd.
The table service was complemented by the addition of ‘Dinner Baskets’ which were essentially combo meals served in a slightly more elegant way. The baskets could include things like the classic Whopper, or new short-lived items like fried clams and shrimp.
To make the meal a complete fine dining experience, people were also given popcorn to snack on while they waited for their food.
10. Burger King Meatloaf Sandwich
The Burger King meatloaf sandwich was released as a new addition for the BK table service. It was simply too disgusting to not give it its own shout out.
The sandwich was flame-broiled and served with onions and ketchup, and featured in commercials with Bob Eucker.
11. McDonald’s Onion Nuggets
The McDonald’s Onion Nuggets are fairly self-explanatory. They were chopped onions that were dipped in batter and deep fried in the shape of nuggets.
The item was introduced in the late 1970s and quickly discontinued. In fact, it was discontinued so quickly that it seems impossible to find a single person that has ever tried it.
There is physical evidence of the item’s existence, though.
A McDonald’s senior archives manager named Mike Bullington preserved a sample of the original cardboard packaging in a climate controlled room in Illinois.
12. McDonald’s McAfrika
McDonald’s has been featured on close to half of this list, but it’s not our fault they’ve had so many failures to talk about!
The McAfrika actually doesn’t look entirely undesirable. It was basically a beef patty shoved into a pita with tomato and cheese, and claimed to follow a traditional African recipe. It was sold in Norway during the 2002 Olympic games.
The failure reached epic proportions due to the disastrous timing of the product’s release. The regions of southern Africa were going through a serious famine at the time, so the name was criticized at being more than just a tad inconsiderate. It did not help that it was only being sold in Norway which is one of the richest nations.
The McAfrika was not pulled by McDonald’s early, and was sold as planned through the year. However, the chain’s spokesperson did apologize for the coincidental timing and they set up donation boxes for African aid within participating Norway locations.