The 10 Biggest Fast Food Flops Of 2022

Some things we tried this year left a bad taste in our mouths.

It felt like this year more than ever, our favorite chain restaurants were trying to mix things up. And while pushing yourself to be more innovative surely brings along its fair share of hits, there are also the inevitable misses that we must suffer through. Lucky for us, many of these were limited-time-only items that we'll never have to encounter again. And lucky for you, you'll now know what to avoid among the items that remain on the menu. Here are some of the worst fast food items we had the displeasure of tasting this year.

Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich (and Biscuit)

Wendy's was on a hot honey kick this year, releasing two new sandwiches at the same time, including its first new breakfast item in years, the Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit Sandwich, and the Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich. The Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit failed by whiffing the fundamentals. The components of the sandwich itself are just a nondescript biscuit and a dry piece of fried chicken, and if the base sandwich itself just sort of sucks, then nothing can rescue it, no matter what kind of exciting condiment you put on top.


The Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich, meanwhile, was both underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time. The concept makes sense, taking a base chicken patty and making it sweet, spicy, and tart, but it just didn't feel that inspired. The salt content was too much. The chicken patty was salty. The cheese was salty. The bacon was super salty. No amount of honey would be enough to rein in the saltiness of this thing. So it crashed spectacularly, and not in an entertaining way.

Dairy Queen’s Stackburgers

For the first time in 20 years, Dairy Queen has made an expansion to its hot food menu by releasing a new line of so-called Stackburgers, including a Cheeseburger, Two Cheese Deluxe, Bacon Two Cheese Deluxe, Loaded A1 (bacon and BBQ), and the FlameThrower (pepperjack, jalapeno bacon, spicy sauce).


On paper, these burgers sound pretty straightforward and serviceable. In practice, they're a big flop. All of Dairy Queen's Stackburgers feature pale beef with a strange, slightly springy texture. There's no flavor to the meat itself; it contains hardly any of the savory qualities you'd normally find in a beef burger. Particularly heinous is the cheese on each burger, which turned into a sweaty, chewy slice of dairy that dragged the whole thing down.

Panera’s Chicken Sandwiches

Panera needs to put the chicken filet down and step away from the brioche buns. On March 30, the fast-casual restaurant chain entered the chicken sandwich game with two new menu items: the Signature Take Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Take Chicken Sandwich.


The overall problem with the Signature Take sandwich was that the ingredients are a bunch of items that sound like they would pair well together—a chicken filet with a garlic aioli made out of white wine, garlic, "secret" spices, and extra virgin olive oil, topped with parmesan crisps and leafy greens—but actually don't combine at all. Each ingredient felt separated and out of place between the brioche buns. The Spicy Take suffered a similar problem, and the spicy sauce didn't bring enough heat to make up for it. Neither sandwich makes up for its price tag at $11 apiece.

Papa Johns’ Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza

Papa Johns' Epic Pepperoni-Stuffed Crust Pizza is the most literal flop on this whole list. The pizza portion is exactly what you'd expect from a Papa Johns pizza, which is to say: fine. But when you get to that crust stuffed with cheese and meat, the whole thing ends up being extraordinarily heavy, so much so that working through a slice is kind of a chore.


Burger King’s Cheesy Breakfast Melts

Burger King's Cheesy Breakfast Melts first fail on execution—the bread needs to be toasted for it to succeed. But mostly these are just boring sandwiches with nothing special to offer, and certainly nothing exciting enough to compete with other heavy hitters in the fast food breakfast world. Being disappointed with a Cheesy Breakfast Melt first thing in the morning isn't a great way to start your day.


Boston Market’s Rotisserie Chicken Nuggets

Boston Market went all in on the nuggets rush this year with its Rotisserie Chicken Nuggets. These bites aren't like typical nuggets that are fried or breaded—Boston Market's are literally just chunks of chicken breast cut up into uneven pieces, seasoned, and slapped onto a tray. Calling cubed chicken breast "nuggets" is pretty bold. They're salty, dry, stringy, and bland, and remind us of our own worst cooking. Who would want to pay for that?


Hart House

Kevin Hart was an early investor in Beyond Meat and has been a cheerleader for plant-based protein, crediting it with giving him more energy. But it doesn't seem as though that zeal has translated to his plant-based fast casual restaurant Hart House just yet.


The burger patty looked like raw meat. Beyond the texture, the flavor was unmistakably inspired by Boca Burgers. Eating it was a bad time. Biting into Hart House nuggets evoked a wet sponge dropped into some loamy soil. The restaurant's spicy fake chicken (chick'n) sandwich was significantly tastier, but Hart House is no boon to the growing plant-based meat industry.

Chipotle’s Garlic Guajillo Steak

Whenever Chipotle releases a limited-time-only protein option, it's like a game of roulette. The Garlic Guajillo Steak was described as a "dynamic combination of garlic and guajillo peppers, brought to life with real ingredients and classic cooking techniques." The biggest problem with this offering was the meat itself, which when sliced provided chunks of meat that each had a different texture. And there was little taste of the garlic or the guajillo—the flavor was beef, mostly plain.


Jimmy John’s All-American Beef Crunch

Jimmy John's limited-time-only All-American Beef Crunch was a roast beef sandwich with American cheese, thousand island dressing, pickles, lettuce, fresh onion, and crispy fried onion strings on Jimmy John's signature French bread. If those flavors sound familiar to you, that's because these condiments are already known to be a pretty great combination to pile on top of a burger. But that's the thing: This is a combination of toppings you'd ordinarily see specifically on a burger, not a sub.


The sandwich came pretty wet, with a lot of dressing. And from there the combination of ingredients continued to confuse between burgers and sandwiches. The two didn't particularly connect in between. Both the flavor and the texture of the sliced roast beef was distracting and didn't quite work.

Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Pub Burger

There's a lot going on with the Pretzel Bacon Pub Burger. Muenster cheese, crispy onions, beer cheese sauce, applewood smoked bacon, smokey honey mustard, and crinkle-cut pickles on a soft pretzel bun. Most of the ingredients get lost in that beer cheese, which is more thick and starchy than it is fatty and cheesy. It tastes mostly of thickening agents; there's none of the pungency or bite you'd expect from a quality beer cheese, and the flavor of the smokey honey mustard is too weak to stand out alongside it.


Ultimately, this burger is too heavy to achieve a balance of flavors. The Wendy's pretzel bun didn't really have much of that salty, roasted flavor, and the patty itself is flavorless. In short, Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Cheeseburger kind of falls flat.