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9 Fast-Food Items That Made Waves in the Industry

Fast-food restaurants stopped the presses with items that range from genius to outrageous.

Two men choose food in a fast food restaurant.Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

People are very passionate about fast-food menu items

Fast-food menu staples like burgers and fries are always in high demand, but some chains like to shake things up with new or unique recipes, menus, and deals, too. Click on to see the fast-food menu items that not only made waves in the industry but were also the talk of the town.

popeyes chicken sandwichKDC-1/Shutterstock

Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich

Popeyes introduced a chicken sandwich to their menu in 2019 that’s actually stopping traffic. At one New Jersey Popeyes location, the drive-through line backed up into the main road, and caused major traffic jams and headaches for police. People in other parts of America are also withstanding hours-long lines to taste a sandwich so popular that it sold out way ahead of schedule, according to Fox News. Popeyes knows a thing or two about chicken, however, you might not know these Popeyes chicken facts.

vegan plant based burger split in half served on rustic cutting board with beerOskar Helgason/Shutterstock

Beyond Meat Burgers

Although the company started only selling patties in Whole Foods, Beyond Meat Burgers are now everywhere, from hotels to sports stadiums, in addition to restaurants, CNBC reports. And the plant-based vegan patty appeals to meat-eaters, too. That’s probably why fast-food and fast-casual restaurants including, White Castle, Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, Subway, TGI Friday’s, and Tim Hortons all serve Beyond Meat Burgers. In fact, many of the most popular vegetarian items at fast-food restaurants are Beyond Meat burgers.

 Two chicken donuts sandwich served on a white platekathrinerajalingam/Shutterstock

KFC’s Donut Sandwich

Chicken and waffles might be a classic dish, but KFC took things to another level by introducing the KFC Donut Sandwich. And there are mixed feelings about this indulgent menu item that sandwiches fried chicken and donuts. One report sums it up and says, “KFC’s new fried chicken and donut sandwich is terrifying and delicious.” People think the sandwich is in response to the new popular Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, while others think it’s just an easy way to eat a not-so-healthy food combination, Business Insider reports. If you like trying out-of-the-box foods, opt for one of these new fast-food items of 2019.

doritos locos tacorblfmr/Shutterstock

The Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos

Since the launch of the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, the fast-food chain has sold more than 450 million tacos, Fast Company reports. Although initial tests of the product flopped, the Dorito-like shell and taco is now a staple menu item. Word of mouth and social media blasts were so important to the success of the taco. Now, it’s not just a single product, either. Taco Bell and Frito-Lay signed a contract to they can collaborate in the future, so it’s probably not the last time Taco Bell will introduce new shell flavors. The theme of Taco Bell’s restaurants hasn’t changed too drastically, but their menu sure has.

mcribRobson90/ Shutterstock

The McDonald’s McRib

One of the fast-food items that continue to make waves is the McRib. McDonald’s introduced the sandwich in 1985, and it jumped on and off the menu for some 30 odd years. People are so obsessed with this menu item that there’s even a McRib locator website where you can either find or report a McRib sighting. Those who love the product might not love the fact that some reports claim it’s not a rib at all, but “restructured meat products,” Chicago Magazine reports. The McDonald’s menu has changed so much over the years. This is what it looked like the year you were born.

This, photo, shows a McDonald's McGriddle sandwich in New York. McDonald's plans to push its operational limits by testing the addition of the McGriddle to its all-day breakfast menu. The move comes after the company reported its biggest U.S. sales jump in nearly four years, following the launch of all-day breakfast in OctoberCandice Choi/Shutterstock

The McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Menu

After years of disappointing people at exactly 10:30 a.m., the previous breakfast cut-off time, on October 6th, 2015, McDonald’s finally gave people what they want—an all-day breakfast menu. There’s a reason why breakfast is such a big deal at McDonald’s. And although McDonald’s breakfast lovers don’t need to set their alarms for breakfast, there are other challenges. The additional menu and food prep slow down service, so McDonald’s announced that each McDonald’s location has the power to choose the breakfast items they want to serve, Mashed reports. You certainly won’t see them serving burgers in the morning.

MORGAN SPURLOCK Morgan Spurlock, director, producer and star of the documentary film "Super Size Me" clowns with a movie poster at the U S Comedy Arts Festival, in Aspen, Colo. The documentary, which chronicles the deterioration of Spurlock's health during a monthlong experiment eating nothing but McDonald's food, won a directing prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is set for wide release this spring. McDonalds announced Wednesday that it will Supersize fries and drinks in its more than 13,000 U.S. restaurants and will stop selling them altogether by year's end, except in promotionsE PABLO KOSMICKI/Shutterstock

McDonald’s Supersize Me Menu

McDonald’s might rotate the McRib, but there’s essentially no chance people will ever “Supersize” a menu item again. In the early late 1990s and 2000s, people could “Supersize” a menu item from McDonald’s for a bigger-than-large size option. The Golden Arches eliminated the menu item not long after the release of the documentary Supersize Me, which shows the effects of overeating McDonald’s. Still, the chain claims that this is the real reason they got rid of this menu option.

Shot of unidentify woman holding a piece of Double Down burger (The bunless burger features crispy bacon and slices of cheese sandwiched between two breaded chicken fillets) before eating.Boyloso/Shutterstock

KFC’s Double Down Sandwich

KFC is obviously known for its crispy fried chicken, and the fast-food chain took the opportunity to highlight it in a bread-less sandwich. Instead of a bun, the KFC Double Down Sandwich replaces bread slices with pieces of fried chicken. All the buzz about the concoction drove traffic to KFC.com, increasing it by 29 percent. The reason KFC’s fried chicken makes a good sandwich is that it’s so crispy thanks to this secret.

Shamrock shake,selective focusvm2002/Shutterstock

The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

People really look forward to the seasonal, minty McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. The original shake created in Philadelphia was the St. Patrick’s Day milkshake. In 2019, McDonald’s turned heads when they offered the shake in September. Locations in Philly exclusively offered the beverage in partnership with the NFL and the Eagles. Fans of the drink in other cities have to wait until the new year for another sip of this classic menu item, but you won’t see these failed McDonald’s items again.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.