Last month Steve Johnson, pop culture writer at the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article about the identity crisis which seems to be gripping some fast food chains. Johnson points to relatively recent events like Subway offering falafel and McDonald’s foray into premium coffee, but this trend is something CT and I have discussed for years.
Wendy’s has always been our poster child for this behavior, because we were such fans of the classic Wendy’s offerings. The various experiments have included the SuperBar, pitas, Frescata sandwiches, various attempts at breakfast, and boneless wings among others. Dave Thomas was around for some of those, but the menu extensions seem to have come more frequently since his passing in 2002. It would have been somewhat understandable if the base product was mediocre to bad like McDonald’s, but Wendy’s has always had a solid formula in my book. As Johnson points out, there’s a lot to be said for a place with simple options that are done right (Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, In-n-Out Burger).
Let’s hear it, fellow lunchers. What are your favorite examples of fast food places straying from the path?