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Fast food fails: reality vs adverts


Fast food adverts always instantly make you crave a burger, burrito or crispy fries but so often the reality is vastly different. Food photographers have a stock of tricks to make dishes look more tempting so when you actually get your meal, it can be a huge disappointment. Here we take a look at the worst offenders.




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Juicy meatballs drenched in marinara sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan in a toasted sub – lunch doesn’t get much better. But has anyone ever had a Subway that looks as good as the photos?




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This version looks far more familiar. When they’re actually made in-store, wrapped up and transported home, the reality often falls flat. You unwrap the paper to a squashed sub that was, at best, messily cut and at worse, falling apart. We can’t see any grated Parmesan in this one either.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This person did stop in for a burger but it didn’t live up to the hype or its name. The layer of bacon and cheese between the two patties as shown in the advert is missing. However, we suspect by the time they finished the hefty burger, it wasn’t such a bad thing the extra piece of meat had been forgotten.




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This $5 chicken and biscuit meal was available at the Southern-style fast food chain for a limited time only but sounded like a good deal. It contains three golden tenders, two sumptuous sides such as Cajun rice and fries, plus a bronze biscuit. The boxes on display in the advert are so bursting we don’t think they would be able to close shut.




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However, the box customers actually received looked more like this – less full and a little anaemic. Despite all the batter (one thing that lives up to the advert), the chicken doesn’t have the same golden color and looks like it lacks crunch. The biscuits are unevenly bronzed as if they were baked without care.




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For Gemini season, the days between 21 May and 21 June, Jack in the Box urged its followers to pick up two breakfast croissants for $4 and give one to your closest friend. The Supreme Croissant (on the left) is stuffed with grilled bacon, ham, a freshly cracked egg and American cheese. The Sausage Croissant (on the right) is the same but filled with a sausage patty, freshly cracked egg and American cheese. Both look tempting.




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If you turned up bearing these, we reckon your friend would be disappointed. The croissants look more soft and claggy than crisp and flaky. Inside the Supreme Croissant you can see the processed ham but not long strips of bacon overhanging the pastry. The pallid patty inside the Sausage Croissant doesn’t appeal either.




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A cheese-lover’s dream, the Taco Bell Triple Melt Burrito features Cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and nacho cheese, plus seasoned beef and rice in a flour tortilla. Look how it’s so full it’s spilling out of the wrap in the advert. And the best part? It’s only $1.




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After seeing what the inside of a Triple Melt Burrito looks like in real life, we understand why it’s only $1 – it’s all rice. There’s a measly amount of ground beef in this whole burrito and no cheese that we can see. That’s pretty bad for a dish called the Triple Melt.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


We know if we’re ordering takeout, we can’t expect it to come on a white plate like in the advert. However, served in takeaway packaging this French toast looks seriously soggy and unappealing. We can see where it was once sprinkled with icing sugar but quickly dissolved due to condensation in the plastic.




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This sweet deep-fried chicken dish was temporarily on the menu at Panda Express in 2016. The advert shows it bursting with fresh vegetables including green beans, red and yellow bell peppers and onions. It’s also covered in lashings of sweet, spicy and tangy sauce.




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This is what the inside of a General Tso’s Chicken box looked like in real life. It’s lacking all the fresh vegetable chunks that featured in the advert, with saucy stains and condensation up the side of a less-than-full box. We think the dish in the advert was given some serious food styling.




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At quick-service sandwich chain Arby’s, the Classic Beef ‘n’ Cheddar is one of the most popular options. Roast beef is topped with Cheddar and red ranch, and served in a toasted onion roll. The advert depicts molten cheese dripping over layers upon layers of beef slices in a buoyant bun. Red sauce has also been strategically dabbed around the bottom bun.




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Once you’ve rushed home and unwrapped your sandwich, the reality is often quite different. It has lost some height and where have those thick slices of roast beef and melted cheese gone? Why is the bun greasy? We knew the advert was too good to be true.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The ubiquitous convenience store is well-known for its hot bites including the Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt. It consists of sliced chicken breast, smoked bacon, Cheddar and ranch sauce in an Italian bun which is toasted when you buy it. The advert makes it look fresh and well-filled, displaying generous layers of meat, cheese and sauce.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


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