15 Bizarre Fast-Food Gimmicks We Want a Refund On

From McSpaghetti to a heart attack on a fried chicken bun, here are some of the biggest fast-food fails in history.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Those who indulge in fast food because it’s a great way to save money at restaurants and an easy lunch or dinner option are often delighted when fast-food giants switch up their menus. 

There’s nothing wrong with a little variety — but some of the world’s most popular chains have been a little too ambitious at times.

Here are 15 of the most bizarre fast-food failures that customers deserve a McRefund on.

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McDonald’s McSpaghetti

gargantiopa/Adobe McDonald's worker holding bag of fast food

McGross. McDonald’s has tried many adventurous menu items over its 70-year history, and McSpaghetti was perhaps one of its biggest missteps.

Around the ‘70s and ‘80s, the fast-food giant tried offering more dinner-friendly options, but it quickly learned to stay in its lane. Today, there is only one McDonald’s in the U.S. that offers the McSpaghetti in Orlando, Florida.

Burger King’s Whopperito

vulcanus/Adobe germany nuremberg burger king branch

For some reason, Burger King decided in 2016 to offer its famed Whopper in burrito form — and it wasn't received well. It featured the same ingredients in any Whopper — burger meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato — except it was wrapped in a flour tortilla.

Losing the bun was not necessary — and Burger King quickly decided to lose the Whopperito.

KFC’s Double Down

dvoevnore/Adobe kfc fast food restaurant

For the sake of the nation’s heart health, it’s probably a good thing that the Double Down was removed from KFC’s menu. The famed sandwich featured two pieces of fried chicken as a “bun” and was packed with cheese and bacon.

Due to a bit of a cult following, the bun-less monstrosity has been brought back a few times for limited periods, including a stint in 2023.

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McDonald’s McLobster

Chatchai/Adobe McDonald's in Thailand

When you want a good lobster roll, McDonald’s probably isn’t your first choice — but that didn’t stop the restaurant from trying to make the McLobster, a lobster roll served on a hot dog bun, happen in the ‘90s.

While the sandwich was never popular, it occasionally still pops up on menus in New England.

Taco Bell’s Bell Beefer

Refrina/Adobe exterior of taco bell

The Bell Beefer could be considered Taco Bell’s version of a sloppy Joe. It was packed with ground meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce, and border sauce, and served on a bun.

It was on Taco Bell’s menu from the mid-’70s to the mid-’90s, but its popularity tanked. It did make brief comebacks a few times — but it hasn’t stuck.

Wendy’s Frescata sandwiches

IanDewarPhotography/Adobe  logo of Wendy's

Around 2006, Wendy’s introduced a line of “Frescata” deli sandwiches to compete with Subway.

While they were marketed as a healthy alternative to burgers and fries, they took a bit too long to prepare for the average fast-food customer — and were quickly pulled from menus.

Burger King’s omelet sandwich

jetcityimage/Adobe burger king fast food

Burger King tried to up its breakfast game in 2005 when it began offering the Enormous Omelet Sandwich, which packed eggs, cheese, bacon, and sausage onto a sesame roll.

Initially popular, the sandwich eventually had to be pulled, perhaps after customers realized how much sodium they were consuming at 8 a.m.

Jack in the Box’s Frings

MelissaMN/Adobe jack in the box fast food

When you can’t decide between fries and onion rings, why not both? That was the thinking behind Jack in the Box’s short-lived Frings, introduced in 1979.

When customers didn’t seem too keen on shelling out cash on the combo deal, the item was axed a few years later.

McDonald’s Hula Burger

Refrina/Adobe mcdonalds restaurant building

Originally introduced in the ‘60s, the Hula Burger — which featured a grilled pineapple slice instead of a patty on a bun with cheese — became available around the same time as Mickie D’s other meatless option, the Filet-O-Fish.

It was much less popular and quickly got the ax.

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Burger King’s Satisfries

wolterke/Adobe Burger King restaurant at twilight and trademark logo

In 2014, Burger King announced the discontinuation of its short-lived “Satisfries” — a take on the chain’s french fries that were allegedly healthier because they absorbed less oil during frying.

However, customers didn’t see the allure, apparently, and since Satisfries were also more expensive ($1.89 for a small compared to $1.59 for regular fries), they didn’t sell well.

McDonald’s McDLT

Sampajano-Anizza/Adobe mcdonalds logo

The McDLT, a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato, came in a Styrofoam container that separated the meat from the veggies. It was available from the mid-’80s into the ‘90s when McDonald’s faced a PR crisis related to how the item was packaged.

It was deemed bad for the environment and quickly pulled from menus.

Pizza Hut’s Priazzo

Roland Magnusson/Adobe pizza hut restaurant sign

Pizza Hut’s short-lived Priazzo was meant to resemble a Chicago deep-dish pizza and was launched in the mid-’80s.

But like a deep dish, the Priazzo took quite a while to make, longer than diners were willing to wait or pay for — and the Priazzo disappeared a few years later.

Burger King’s sliders

shufilm/Adobe burger king guui-dong sign

Burger King has tried to rebrand its version of sliders a few times.

They were first called Burger Bundles, then Burger Buddies, and eventually Burger Shots. However, they all failed to make the company the money it had hoped for, and mini burgers were taken off the menu around 2004.

Pizza Hut’s Hot Dog Bites Pizza

jetcityimage/Adobe pizza hut fast casual restaurant

Pizza and mini hot dogs may make great appetizers, but that doesn’t mean they should be baked into one dish. Pizza Hut made this mistake back in 2015 with its Hot Dog Bites Pizza, a standard pizza with a “stuffed crust” made entirely of miniature hot dogs.

The gimmick was quietly removed from the menu shortly after its launch.

McDonald’s Super-Sized items

framarzo/Adobe mcdonald's restaurant on cloudy blue sky

Regardless of the controversy that came out about the film years later, the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" did a number on McDonald’s reputation. 

Shortly after it debuted, the restaurant started pulling the option to make its meals Super-Sized for a small fee.

Bottom line

Seika/Adobe fast food kitchen

Inflation has made many customers wary of indulging in fast food, but one surefire way to stretch your fast-food budget is to avoid the gimmicks.

A sandwich that subs in fried chicken for bread might seem great in theory, but sticking to the classics will keep you from spending money on something that could be a huge disappointment.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.