These Are the Worst Fast Food Trends That Need to Die in 2018
Some fast food trends are great (like some fast food chains’ creativity with their value menus). But others may make you scratch your head — or convince you that the people behind the menus have questionable taste. Below, check out the worst fast food trends that we hope to see fade away in 2018 — and one topping we’re sick of seeing (page 9).
The Daily Meal reports that over the past few years, Cheetos have slowly been making their way onto fast food menus. Burger King introduced Mac n’ Cheetos and Cheetos Chicken Fries. Taco Bell created a Cheetos burrito. The Daily Meal speculates that we’ll soon see “a fast food burger dusted with Cheetos topping or a Cheetos-flavored bun.” But for anyone who dislikes the fake taste of Cheetos — or hates the way the orange dust sticks to your fingers and teeth — that doesn’t sound like a positive development.
Next: This fast food trend will leave you with a lukewarm meal.
2. Fast food delivery
The Daily Meal reports that it’s just a matter of time before you can get all your fast food favorites delivered to your door. With delivery options by Uber and Postmates already on the proverbial table, the publication thinks that all of the major fast food chains will get on board soon. But do you want them to? A burger or an order of fries typically only tastes right when served piping hot. So it probably wouldn’t be a great experience to have a lukewarm meal delivered to your door.
Next: This trend didn’t live up to the hype.
3. Szechuan sauce
McDonald’s has brought back its infamous Szechuan sauce, but we can’t be alone in hoping this is a trend that passes with 2018. As Eater explains, “In 1998, McDonald’s created it as a tie-in for Disney’s Mulan. An episode of the cartoon series Rick and Morty touted it in April 2017; and in October of the same year, McDonald’s revived the condiment and distributed a limited supply to a few locales. Fans stampeded the stores, even rioting at some when supplies ran out.” But as Eater found out, the sauce has little spice to it and tastes overwhelmingly sweet.
Next: This sandwich comes and goes, but we’d be happy to see it disappear for good.
Eat This, Not That! reports that another nostalgic misstep McDonald’s made was its choice to bring back the McRib. This menu item dates back to the 1980s and seems to illustrate a similarly outdated approach to nutrition since it consists of shredded and reconstituted meat. As Chicago Magazine reports, the obviously fake sandwich comes and goes from the McDonald’s menu thanks to the limited supply of pork trimmings — and the way prices for that “material” go up when McDonald’s brings back the sandwich and starts buying a lot of it.
Next: Too much color?
5. Bizarrely dyed foods
Whether it’s rainbows or black burger buns, dyed food seems to be a big fad these days. We can’t say why, but it’s just not disappearing. While the novelty of a black dyed burger bun might be worth it for some, it doesn’t make the meal look any more appetizing.
Next: These will end your meal on an entirely too-sweet note.
6. Dessert ‘mashups’
We have nothing against fast food chains that want to have some fun with their dessert menus. But we do take issue with the idea that you have to include a half-dozen different flavors in each decadent — and calorically rich — dessert. As Eat This, Not That! notes, one of the biggest fast food trends is toward these dessert “mashups,” ranging from Taco Bell’s Kit Kat Chocoladillas to IHOP’s Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast. Not only are these desserts an unhealthy way to end a fast food meal, but they often pack in so many flavors — and so much sugar — that they overwhelm your palate.
Next: Watching it happen
7. Assembly lines
Sometimes it’s fun to watch your food get made in front of you — but only so many times. We love a Chipotle burrito as much as the next person, but eventually it gets tiresome to shout your order out over the assembly line. There has to be a more efficient way of doing this. It especially gets tough when the restaurant is crowded and noisy. Sometimes the assembly line makes the ordering process feel even less human — and more demanding.
Next: Fast food chains rarely get these right.
8. Mediocre riffs on ‘cultural influences’
Another of the biggest fast food trends involves chains looking to other cuisines for inspiration — and failing to do them justice. Arby’s began serving gyros filled with deli meat, for instance. And fast casual chains have introduced poke bowls that don’t measure up to the flavorful versions you can find in Hawaii. Eat This, Not That! points out that Quiznos has also introduced a Gyro Flatbread, and Pei Wei Asian Diner now serves a Spicy Polynesian Poke Bowl. But as you might imagine, the fast food versions of these items don’t quite measure up to their inspiration.
Next: This condiment doesn’t need to go on everything.
As more fast food chains try to add a little bit of Mexican flavor to their menus, more have opted to introduce queso, according to Eat This, Not That. This dip can taste great — especially if it contains real cheddar and peppers. But fast food chains like Wendy’s have begun putting it all kinds of places it doesn’t belong, such as on the Bacon Queso Burger. And don’t forget that even if queso doesn’t cost extra, it still adds lots of extra calories to your meal.
Next: People probably only order these for the Instagram shot.
10. Extravagant milkshakes
Almost everybody loves milkshakes, especially from fast food chains. But as Eat This, Not That! points out, one of the worst fast food trends involves extravagant milkshakes that nobody should really order. Starbucks started the trend with its Unicorn Frappucino, which contained edible glitter. Arby’s followed suit with its Liger Shake — named for a hypothetical lion-tiger hybrid — with orange cream and chocolate swirls. Burger King then introduced a Froot Loops shake with a whopping 103 grams of sugar.
Next: This fast food trend isn’t good for anyone.
One of the more positive fast food trends to emerge recently involved a few chains downsizing some of their sandwiches and meals to make them just a little bit healthier. But conversely, some of those same chains have opted to add even bigger meals and sandwiches to their menus. As Eat This, Not That! explains, “Just as McDonald’s downsized its Big Mac with the Mac Jr., it also supersized the old time favorite with the Grand Mac.” But this trend is pretty terrible for your health, so we’re hoping it goes away soon.
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Additional reporting by John Wolfe