Greatest Fast-Food Flops of All-Time

Greatest Fast-Food Flops of All-Time

7 Fast-Food Menu Items that Met Untimely Ends

Iconic fast-food menu items like Burger King’s Whopper and McDonald’s Big Mac have become symbols of American fast-food culture and have helped brands become hugely successful. But these winning menu items don’t come along every day. In the quest to innovate, fast-food brands have made some notable failures.

Ingenuity has fueled the fast-food sector’s incredible growth. According to IBISWorld, fast-food restaurant revenue grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% to $387.5 billion over the past five years, including a 1.5% increase in 2023. Despite this growth, even the biggest and most popular brands have to keep ahead of changing trends to stay competitive.

In order to please customers with varied diets and diverse tastes, fast-food restaurants continually experiment with new menu additions, hoping for the next big thing. But not every risk has been rewarded. Let’s explore seven of the greatest fast-food flops of all-time.

1. A&W: 1/3 Pound Burger

When A&W released its 1/3 Pound Burger to compete with McDonald’s popular Quarter Pounder, it completely confused customers. According to a blog, customers had the incorrect perception that a 1/4 pound burger is larger than 1/3 pound. Eventually, A&W rebranded the menu item as “3/9 Pound Burger” in 2021 to boost sales.

2. Burger King: Enormous Omelet Sandwich

Burger King had a royal flop with the Enormous Omelette Sandwich. At 730 calories and 47 fat grams, the nutritionally hazardous sandwich (two eggs, a sausage patty, two slices of cheese and three strips of bacon) met its demise in 2005.

3. Chipotle: Queso Cheese Dip

Chipolte’s queso blanco dip is one of its most popular offerings. But the fast-food brand flopped its way to get there. In 2017, Chipotle’s first attempt at queso cheese dip was not well received on social media, with an unsatisfied customer calling it a “crime against cheese.” After two years of trying to improve the disappointing sauce, Chipotle turned their flop into a winning menu item.

4. Dairy Queen: Breeze

Dairy Queen released The Breeze in 1990 with a goal of making a health-focused version of its Blizzard dessert. Made with nonfat frozen yogurt instead of higher-calorie soft serve, The Breeze just didn’t taste the same and got the cold shoulder from fans of the ice cream franchise. Dairy Queen discontinued the flopped item nearly a decade after its release, according to

5. Jack in the Box: Frings

To relieve hungry customers from having to choose between onion rings and French fries, Jack in the Box created Frings. The fast-food franchise expected Frings to be the ’70s hottest new treat, but it turned out to be its biggest failure, according to

6. KFC: Double Down Sandwich

Greatest Fast-Food Flops of All-Time

KFC’s Double Down Sandwich fell as quickly as it rose in 2010. The cholesterol-maximized menu item included bacon, cheese and sauce positioned between two slabs of fried chicken instead of a bun. reports that despite its failure, the sandwich had rabid fans who staged a brief encore in 2014.

7. McDonald’s: McSpaghetti

Greatest Fast-Food Flops of All-Time

The Golden Arches has had its share of McDuds over the years. A notable one was McDonald’s McSpaghetti. Turns out, Italian food didn’t quite mix with McDonald’s standard American fare.Greatest Fast-Food Flops of All-Time

FranchiseWire is franchising’s favorite news source. We offer a one-stop destination for need- to-know information and practical inspiration about franchising. Our content delivers fresh perspectives and an unbiased look at the dynamic world of franchising. With expert contributing writers and journalists, we bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from all areas of franchising. We share best practices to help franchise professionals — franchisees and franchisors, grow and learn. Our engaging content doesn’t simply report, but provides unique insights and strategies.