Companies are adding secret menu items as a way to connect with customers.Panera Bread is currently figuring out how to “promote” its own hidden menu of breakfast salads, NPR reported.
But secret menu items have existed organically for years.
“If you have a secret menu or if customers know the secret menu, they feel like they’re insiders,” Bret Thorn, senior food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, told NPR.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most impressive (and horrendous) secret combinations that are out there today. They aren’t always available at every location, but they’re worth asking for next time you’re ready to chow down.
The McGangBang, a McChicken sandwich wedged between a double cheeseburger, is the holy grail for carnivorous fast food eaters.
While not available at all McDonald's locations, hungry customers can still get this triple meat treat by employing a little ingenuity and creative manipulation of regular menu items.
By taking two items off of the Dollar Menu, diners can create this super sandwich for just $2.16.
Many people don't realise that the fast casual Mexican food chain Chipotle offers a secret menu, featuring items like cheese quesadillas, nacho-filled burritos, and the Quesarito, a customised burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla.
But diners who are aware of these hidden treasures often trade in Chipotle's regular fanfare for these savory alternatives.
One reviewer recently exclaimed, 'The Quesarito tastes like a toasted burrito but the quesadilla burrito wrapper provides a mouthful of warm, melted cheese in every bite.'
Starbucks' Raspberry Cheesecake Frappuccino is as sinful as it sounds.
Perhaps that's why it's almost never found on the coffee giant's regular menu.
This decadent blend of white chocolate and raspberry is just the start of Starbucks' secret drink line.
Other hidden favourites include the Biscotti Frappuccino, the Cinnamon Roll Cappuccino, and the Captain Crunch Frappuccino, which are only available per request.
The Protein Style Burger is one of In and Out's lighter and healthier secret menu items.
Crisp iceberg lettuce leaves replace the carbohydrate-dense hamburger buns while the beef patties on the inside still make the meal filling and satisfying.
In and Out is famous for customising its menu items to meet the needs of the customer and will always upgrade any regular burger to a Protein Style burger if desired.
Taco Bell is said to have one of the most complex menus of its kind, and we're not just talking about the well-known public menu.
The restaurant's secret menu includes items like the chilli Cheese Burrito, Double Grilled Quesadillas, and the Enchirito, which is an enchilada stuffed with beef, beans, cheese, diced onions, and topped with red sauce.
Ranker points out that aside from being secretive, the Enchirito is one of Taco Bell's only items that is typically eaten with a knife and fork (well, spork).
The Mc10:35 is a special sandwich that can only be ordered for 10 minutes each morning, during the changeover from McDonald's breakfast menu to its standard menu at 10:35 a.m.
Like the McGangBang, the Mc10:35 is the unlikely result of two merged menu items, in this case, the McDouble and the Egg McMuffin.
The sandwich is rumoured to have a cult like following of brunchers who cannot resist the combination of egg, Canadian bacon, and beef patties squished together under one bun.
This secret Whataburger beverage is so popular it has its own Facebook page.
The Hulk Green Drink is concocted by mixing green Powerade with Vault soda and ice.
Though technically this drink can be made anywhere that its ingredients are available, Whataburger is the only American fast food chain that regularly serves it up to thirsty customers.
And yes, it apparently turns your tongue green.
As the name suggests, Burger King's secret Suicide Burger could very well be the last thing you eat.
But even the threat of a triple bypass doesn't stop Suicide lovers who crave the four beef patties, four slices of cheese, heaping pile of bacon, and BK's own special sauce.
Other hidden favourites at the fast food chain include the BK Club, the BK Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich, and Frings, that is, a serving of fries and onion rings.
The Starbucks' Green Eye is not for the faint of heart.
Think three shots of espresso poured into a regular drip coffee.
Not offered on Starbucks' regular menu, this secret beverage joins others of its kind on the coffee giant's hidden menu.
Everyone likes a pizza sub. But everyone loves Subway's $5 Footlong Pizza Sub, which is only available on the restaurant's secret menu.
Subway's pizza sub comes with tomato sauce, salami, pepperoni, cheese, plus your choice of sandwich toppings.
While the pizza sub used to be a staple on Subway's regular menu, it was removed when the company began pushing its healthy eating initiatives.
McDonald's Big McChicken refers to a Big Mac whose buns have been replaced by fried chicken patties.
This super-sized sandwich is similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken's Double Down but is even bigger, meatier, and higher in calories than it's competitor's counterpart.
And, of course, it's only available on McDonald's secret menu.
Animal Style Fries are probably one of In-N-Out Burger's most well-known secret menu items.
Order this variety and your spuds will come topped with a mass of melty cheese, grilled onions, and a hearty ladle of Thousand Island dressing.
But fries aren't the only thing that can be animalized. Just about anything you order can be served up with this creamy spread.
Word on the street is that this drink tastes exactly like those green gummy bears you ate as a kid.
'Frings' are a dream come true for the indecisive Burger King eater.
Ordering 'Frings' will get you a mix of fries and onion rings instead of one or the other.
It's available at every Burger King location.
McDonald's Neapolitan shake is a secret menu item that includes chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavours.
The shake is available at any McDonald's location with milkshakes. A 'Shamrock' element can also be added when the green concoction is in season.
The McDonald's Land, Sea, and Air Burger is one secret menu item that maybe should remain a deep dark secret.
The sandwich consists of a beef patty, a Filet O' Fish patty, and a chicken patty, all smothered in tartar sauce and nestled between two buns.
Tartar sauce and beef? No thanks.
KFC's famous bowls already include chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, and cheese.
But those seeking to make it even more decadent can replace the corn with mac and cheese.
A KFC worker posted the tip on Reddit. Simply order the bowl and ask for mac and cheese instead of corn.
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