18 fast-food menu items that customers are begging chains to bring back

Taco BellTaco Bell’s Beefy Crunch Burrito is gone but not forgotten.

In the world of fast food, some menu items are gone, but not forgotten.

Items like Taco Bell’s Beefy Crunch Burrito, McDonald’s McPizza, and Burger Kings’ ribs have become the stuff of legend. Customers beg the chains to bring back the iconic items. And, sometimes, these movements produce results.

Starbucks recently announced that the beloved S’mores Frappuccino will be returning to menus, sparking customer celebration. Burger King brought back Cini-Minis in 2018, after fans demanded the miniature cinnamon rolls’ return. The chain also brought back chicken fries in 2015, following a petition to resurrect the menu item.

“It was a great example of our team mining social media and connecting with our younger guests,” José Cil, CEO of Burger King’s parent company Restaurant Brands International, recently told Business Insider. “We have a very loyal following of millions of guests, and they were demanding chicken fries.”


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But, some things are still stuck in the graveyard of beloved fast-food menu items.

Here are 18 menu items that may have disappeared from menus, but that at least some customers desperately want to see return:


Beefy Crunch Burrito

Support for the Beefy Crunch Burrito is one of the most organised movements around a fast-food item in the restaurant business. Since the item first appeared on menus in 2011, fans of the menu item have waged a vocal war with Taco Bell, in an attempt to bring the menu item back permanently.

The Beefy Crunch Facebook group has more than 73,000 members, many of whom regularly take to Taco Bell’s social media pages to express their displeasure that the Beefy Crunch Burrito isn’t available all the time.


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In April, the founder of the Beefy Crunch Movement, Richard Axton, announced he planned to shutter the page in May after eight years of fighting. Axton is a Taco Bell celebrity, even starring in an advertisement for the chain when the Beefy Crunch Burrito returned to menus for a limited time.

“As you know, I flew down to HQ on my own dime in December of last year to find out if there was any commitment to us or the Beefy Crunch Burrito in 2019. There was none,” Richard wrote on the Beefy Crunch Facebook page. “But they didn’t rule out the possibility that it could come back later in the year.”


Wendy’s Chicken Caesar Pita

Wendy’s/YouTube

Wendy’s Chicken Caesar Pita was a customer favourite in the late ’90s. Boasting low-fat Caesar dressing and warm bread, this dish (and the two others versions the chain introduced) was supposedly Wendy’s answer to the “wrap craze” that was taking over fast-food restaurants at the time.

The menu item made it about three years before it was discontinued. But its legacy lives on on sites like Pinterest and Top Secret Recipes, where many try to recreate it.


McDonald’s McSalad Shakers

McSalad Shakers were only on the menu for three years. But, at least some people wish they would return – there’s even a Facebook group trying to bring back the menu item.


Jack in the Box’s Cheesy Macaroni Bites

Jack in the Box

For some fast-food fan, Burger King’s Mac n’ Cheetos pale in comparison to Jack in the Box’s Cheesy Macaroni Bites.

Jack in the Box launched the macaroni bites back in 2008. These little triangles were filled with Kraft mac and cheese “enveloped in a crunchy, tempura-style coating.” Touted as “finger food” that was “convenient and portable,” it’s a mystery to us why these little bites didn’t become a permanent fixture on the chain’s menu.


Pizza Hut’s Taco Pizza

Pizza Hut/YouTube

You can get a Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell – but you can no longer get a Taco Pizza at Pizza Hut.

Introduced in the late ’70s, the Taco Pizza was just what it sounded like: a regular pizza smothered in taco toppings. If you’re still confused, take a look at the classically ‘70s commercial that introduced it.

Some call it the best pizza ever made. One couple even got engaged while eating a Taco Pizza in 1979. They ate one on the day of their engagement every year after and have been making their own version for decades since the pizza was discontinued. If you’re missing the Taco Pizza, or desperate to try a slice, there’s a Facebook page calling for the return of the menu item.


McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

McDonald’s spent an estimated $US150 million to $US200 million advertising the Arch Deluxe’s rollout in 1996 – at the time the most expensive promotional campaign in fast-food history,The New York Times reported.

Though the fast-food chain’s executives had predicted it would bring in $US1 billion in sales in 1996, the burger – which at $US2.09 to $US2.49 was on par with or pricier than typical McDonald’s fare – failed to win over customers and was discontinued in the late ’90s.

However, the burger won over a cult following. In early 2018, the chain tested a revamped Archburger, made with fresh beef, at a handful of location.


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Burger King’s ribs

hagan.blount/Flickr

In the summer of 2010, Burger King debuted what turned out to be a wildly successful limited-time menu item: pork ribs. People loved them so much that the chain sold 10 million of them and ran out a week before the offer was meant to end.

The $US8 per order ribs featured a light glaze, and fans speculate that their appeal came from the fact that they were real – not frozen – meat.


Wendy’s Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty

Wendy’s
Wendy’s has long been known for its answer to the milkshake: the Frosty. Back in 2009, the chain introduced a new flavour to its regular offerings of chocolate and vanilla. Dubbed the Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty, this treat lent itself well to the catchy music video it came to be known by. With lyrics like “Ooh baby, do you want to get frosty with me,” it’s no wonder we haven’t forgotten about this menu item. Sadly, the frosty only made it two years before being discontinued in 2011.


Sonic’s French Toaster Breakfast Sandwich

Sonic

Two breakfast classics moulded into one? Yes please.Sonic had the genius idea of squeezing eggs, cheese, and bacon or sausage between two mega-slices of French toast back in 2015 – and there’s never been a better breakfast of champions since.

The chain did come out with the Breakfast Toaster, which is similar but lacks the best part of the original: the French toast.


McDonald’s onion nuggets

McDonald’s

A true fast-food relic from the late ’70s, these deep-fried onion bits, part of McDonald’s dollar menu, were short lived. They were discontinued shortly after being introduced, though why remains a mystery.


Arby’s Sourdough Melts

Although some claimed that Arby’s sourdough bread was more “chewy” than “crispy,” there’s no debating that sourdough is the ideal bread for a melt. Introduced in the early 2000s, Arby’s melts came with ham and Swiss or roast beef and Thousand Island dressing.


KFC’s Double Down Sandwich

KFC debuted what can only be called one of the unhealthiest fast-food sandwiches in history in 2010, when they first put the Double Down on the menu. Made up of two fillets of deep-fried chicken and bacon, cheese, and special sauce, it was a short-lived calorie bomb that we can only think would make the best drunk food ever.

The sandwich’s artery-clogging ingredients didn’t stop diners from loving it. KFC was only planning on selling the Double Down for six weeks, but it decided to extend that period after selling close to 10 million sandwiches in the first couple of months after the menu item debuted.


McDonald’s Pizza

Although you may have heard of this late-’80s-era menu itemcalled the “McPizza,” it was never actually named that by McDonald’s. Instead, the chain just called it pizza and hoped that it would bring in customers who frequented other pizza chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Starting out as full-size pies, McDonald’s pizza was then offered in individual sizes with toppings like sausage, peppers, onions, pepperoni, and mushrooms before it was discontinued.

Two McDonald’s locations, one in Pomeroy, Ohio, and the other in Spencer, West Virginia, that kept pizza on the menu since the ’90s were forced to take the item off the menu in 2017, West Virginia Illustrated reported.

That means that pizza is now only on the menu at one McDonald’s location in the US – a restaurant in Florida that actually added pizza to the menu in 2016.


Read more:
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Taco Bell’s Bell Beefer

Taco Bell

Even the most devout Taco Bell fans might not know that the chain dipped its toes into the burger world back in the ’70s with the launch of the Bell Beefer. Basically a sloppy joe, the Beefer featured taco meat, onions, lettuce, and mild Border Sauce sandwiched between burger buns.

Taco Bell hoped the creation would compete with offerings from big burger chains like McDonald’s and Burger King, but it only lasted till the mid ’90s thanks to diners’ declining interest.Over 4,500 Facebook fans would still like to see the Beefer’s return, though.


Wendy’s Frescata Sandwiches

Wendy’s

Served on what the chain called “artisan bread,” these rolls were stacked with turkey or Black Forest ham and Swiss or chicken salad. An early-2000s commercial claimed there was a “picnic in every bite.”

Wendy’s hoped the sandwiches would draw customers from Subway, but they were removed from the menu shortly after being introduced in 2006 due to issues with assembling the sandwiches and keeping them consistent.


McDonald’s Chicken Selects

Facebook/McDonald’s

Advertised as a more “premium” version of McDonald’s regular chicken nuggets, these tenders were said to be made from “100% white chicken breast meat.” They had an 11-year run from 2002 to 2013.

Still, demand continued on social media. The Selects returned for a limited time in 2015, but they disappeared again by the end of the year.

In 2017, McDonald’s tried again. The fast-food chain debuted Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, which seem to be intended to fill the Chicken Selects-sized hole in customers’ hearts.


Wendy’s salad bar

In the ’80s and ’90s, Wendy’s offered a “Superbar” buffet,The Daily Meal reports. People could get salad, fruit, Mexican fare, pasta, and more.

The chain killed the “Superbar” in 1998 and discontinued all salad bars in 2006. But, some people still want to bring it back, forming a Facebook group in honour of Wendy’s past glory.


McDonald’s McDLT

The goal of the McDLT was to keep the burger’s hot patty warm, while the lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise would stay cool and crisp. The burger was served in a two-part polystyrene container, with the warm elements on one side and the cold toppings on the other, Serious Eats reports.

While McDonald’s more gourmet burgers have come and gone, the McDLT represented a major step forward in the fast-food chain’s attempt to improve the quality of its menu offerings.

Sarah Schmalbruch and Ashley Lutz contributed reporting on earlier versions of this article.

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