What fast food you expect to get compared to what you actually get -


What fast food you expect to get compared to what you actually get

So, I went to some fast food places… I won’t say “restaurants”, just “places”. After a lifetime of disappointment, bafflement, and frustration with the food, I decided it was time to do a little test, and compare the food you get with the ads. (I’m always on the hunt for little projects like this. Stoked.) I brought the food home, tossed it into my photography studio, and did ad-style shoots, with pictures of the official ads on my computer next to me, so I could match the lighting and angles.

People around the world know fast food as one of the most reliable distributors of disappointment ever produced by the business world. We know that if we ever feel the need to complain about something, we can just grab a page out of a coupon booklet, adorned in pictures of juicy burgers, then go have a party. Why, the places themselves usually plaster their walls with pictures of juicy burgers – often hanging right over your table – so that you need only open your eyes to find something to compare your food with.

Needless to say, the results of my project were unsurprising… which shouldn’t be a surprise.


The Rules:

1 – I only care about size. I don’t care if my lettuce isn’t arranged like the crown on Caesar’s head.
2 – I have to show the most attractive angles of the food, with lighting identical to the ads.

Note: This is an ongoing project, started late 2010. It’s free to spread around, and repost anywhere, without permission.


taco bell, crunchy taco, fast food, false advertising, , mcdonalds, fast food, false advertising, actual, false, comparison, ads, vs, reality

The taco on the right is my life experience with Taco Bell. (best of two tacos that I bought)

Once upon a time, occasionally dropping in to Taco Bell was something I did, and I always held this grudge: I said, “If you have a company called TACO Bell… and you have this item on your menu called “Crunchy Taco” – you know, like your flagship item – let us hope to heaven up high that it doesn’t look like THIS.” (Seriously… we’ve got 3 ingredients in here: lettuce, cheese, and meat somewhere.)

Since these tacos are pretty dry and empty, I can only tolerate them with hot sauce, which, for me, is when they become good.


Tacos, Jack In The Box, fast food, false advertising, actual, false, comparison, ads, vs, reality

(The tacos come in 2.)

I picked these up at a location about half an hour from Jack In The Box’s corporate headquarters. Since I’m showing the largest tacos I could get, I can’t show you how they like to seal themselves shut, like a clam, so that you can’t even see inside. The cheese acts as a perfect glue at the edges. I swear, if you had to use one as a snorkel, to save your life, you would not get air.

They taste a lot better than they look, but that’s because I don’t actually think they’re tacos; they’re just tragically mis-shaped and misrepresented nacho pockets (or something). Pitching them as tacos is a crime against humanity, because we humans have standards of what a taco should look like. And not seal itself shut like.


fast, food, advertising, burger king, whopper, false, tiny, comparison, ads, vs, reality

Burger King has had this a long time coming. The Whopper I got the other night was a sight to behold. On one hand, it was exactly the size I remember them being, but it might’ve been the most uninspiring Whopper I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m certain it was just a collection of all the disappointment Burger King has ever served, manifest into a curse, which was now coming back to haunt them.


Okay, let’s give Burger King one more chance here…

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They need to fire the guy who does his yoga on top of the Whoppers.

I had a childhood of eating these, during the 99-cent Whopper sales they used to have. Mine here was $3.69. (They have the nerve to charge extra for cheese. Maybe they should consider charging extra for things when they decide to serve even half a Whopper.)

…while I was at it, I caught sight of a gargantuan Whopper Jr. photo on the menu, and couldn’t resist:

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“Get your burger’s worth,” eh, Burger King? (That was their slogan for a while.)

Before we continue, there’s something everyone should understand: burger size/presentation can certainly vary from location to location, even if we know that it usually isn’t by much. But, for example, when I was young, I once went to a Burger King right next to the beach, where I got a Whopper that was comparatively huge… and it hadtoasted buns. I never forgot that… though I later speculated it was probably because California is known for its great beach-side burger shops (REAL places), so, being next to the beach, this place had to compete.

MY nearest two locations, however, have issues. This is what I got when I asked them specifically for burgers as big as the ads:

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(The one in the middle has cheese. I forgot cheese on the other one.)

A fast food place can’t flatly turn down a request for a burger as big as the ads. They can’t say, “I’m sorry, we aren’t able to make burgers that big.”… so, I wanted to see if my two nearest locations would even try. For both orders, I (very politely) asked if my Whopper could be made exactly as big as the ones right behind the cashier, on the menu. Both times, the cashiers turned and took strangely long, careful looks, as if nobody had ever requested that before. They said sure.

Well… I like the pile of onions I got with the second one.

(Note: I’m sure you can find some location where they’ll at least TRY. Surely, it’s just a matter of getting the right people… but, considering that my first two tries were misfires, I wonder exactly what the ratio is between employees who will try, and ones who won’t. Employee training seems to teach absolutely no concept of preparing inviting food.)

Back to price… things always get worse at McDonald$:


big mac, mcdonalds, fast food, false advertising, comparison, ads, vs, reality, burger, hamburger

$4 now will get you one of these. ($3.99, to be exact, but that 99 is psychology that I think should be illegal.)

The size was pretty close to the ad… though I’m still trying to determine the planetary origins of this lettuce:

fast, food, advertising, mcdonalds, big mac, actual, false, tiny, comparison, ads, vs, reality, studio, photography

(That’s actually a pickle in the upper right.)

For those who don’t know, Big Macs come in a little box. Looking down in the box, and lifting the top bun, you ask yourself, “What is this empty, dry thing?” Apple fans know of Apple’s famous “unboxing experience” – when you open the gloriously friendly, won’t-destroy-your-hands packaging of an iPhone/iPad/etc – but, well, Big Macs are still working on theirs. They should come with little pink, polka-dotted bow-ties, or little top-hats… and, given the price, they should be made out of real fur.

Big Macs taste really good, though, at least to me… even coming out of the fridge, the next day. In comparison, a leftover Whopper, coming out of the fridge like a mushy old sock from a trash bin, is a different story.

After a little thinking, I realized something. I thought, “You know, these Big Macs I got seem to fit in the boxes pretty snugly… as if the boxes were designed ONLY to house the actual, served Big Macs. I wonder if the advertised ones would even fit.” So, I did a test:

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My measurements are unscientific, but extremely carefully done, so I certainly hold my candle to them.


big n tasty, mcdonalds, fast food, false advertising, actual, false, comparison, ads, vs, reality, burger


burnt paper

One of the burgers performed! The burger I got looks even more serious than the ad.
I got mine with cheese. It cost $4, or $3.79 without cheese.

Looking at the burger I got gives me this weird feeling, though, like the ad should have looked like this:

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angus deluxe, third pounder, mcdonalds, fast food, false advertising, actual, false, comparison, ads, vs, reality, burger

Another $4 burger (mine was $4.29, plus tax)…

Well, I really liked the lettuce I got with this one. You’ll certainly never see a Whopper or Big Mac with that kind of lettuce. But WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MEAT?! It seems to be on a diet, whereas the ad’s meat was only missing a cowbell…

Flavor-wise, for me, it’s a terribly boring burger. There are many $1 burgers that I prefer over this. When trying to figure out what keeps these on the menu, at least for this price, I think either some people out there really like them, or they sell as one-time-buys, intended for people who drop in late one night, and are deceived by the juicy picture… (and have a LOT of money).

This one also comes in a box (a wider, bigger box than the Big Mac), so, I had to test again:

angus deluxe, third pounder, mcdonalds, fast food, false advertising, actual, false, comparison, ads, vs, reality, burger

I hope McDonald’s does something about this. What I think we learn here is that some of their burgers not only don’t look like the ads, but physically CAN’T.

I’m wondering if the other Third Pounder burgers don’t fit in the boxes, and, for that matter, if there are other ways to show similar flaws. Examples I have in mind:

  1. Are some wrappers too small to fit ad-sized burgers? Could they simply not be closed?
  2. I’m fairly certain that many ad shots have all of the ingredients crammed up in the front. Should it be legal to do this, if the human mind perceives that the thickness seen in front must be wrapping around the entire burger, equally?
  3. Should you be able to call the “Third Pounders” that name if it’s only a third pound of meat while frozen, not when it’s served to you? When buying meat, it makes sense to see the pre-cooked weight, because you mentally classify that differently… but, when you’re being served something off a menu, if they say you’re getting a “third pound” of meat, who actually knows that they’re talking about the meat before it was cooked? Realize that shopping at any store that isn’t a restaurant ALWAYS has this “rule”: the weight tells you what you’re GETTING… not what it used to be. For instance, when you’re at a grocery store, all vegetables, fruit, MEAT, cereal, pasta, and everything else is labeled with the weight you’re GETTING. Restaurants are the ONLY places that reverse this rule, and it’s only done for meat. Ever notice that? Restaurant menus often have pictures of their items, with taglines like, “A half pound salad,” or, “Served with a quarter pound of ice cream,”… because that’s what you’re getting. When you’re about to buy a pound of fresh cheese, they don’t mention the cheese’s weight in milk. Even things that change while cooking, like bread, aren’t listed by their weight in dough. 2 points: 1) Cooked meat is the only thing that does this. 2) Never in my life did I buy a burger with a quarter-pound of meat thinking I would end up with half of that



Sourced from http://www.alphaila.com/articles/failure/fast-food-false-advertising-vs-reality/

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