The Mind-Blowing World of Secret Fast Food Menus
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Editors note: Starbucks no longer carries Almond Syrup.
Over the past few months, we’ve discussed the financial health of a number of culinary companies, from good ‘ole American burger joints to fast-casual dining stops. While most of the previous conversation has centered on valuation metrics and cash flow analysis, it’s also important to take a more in-depth look at what’s for dinner. Unbeknownst to the average restaurant patron, there is a hidden world of off-menu foods. Some are past specials thought to be discontinued, others are popular items exclusive to certain locales, and a select few are works of art. So buckle up, you’re about to get a greasy burger with a side of secrecy. Oh, and don’t forget the Coke.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG)
First up on our list is Chipotle, which has been in the news recently for a variety of reasons; most notably for its massive stock sell-off and ShopHouse Kitchen expansion plans (here’s more details). Known for behemoth burritos and even larger bowls, Chipotle’s main draw is its ingredients, which are truly fresh to def. Aside from these traditional Tex-Mex options, the chain also offers the following trio: the Quesadilla, which is surprisingly not on the menu, but is perfect with the restaurant’s white cheddar and jack cheeses; Nachos, which are much better when loaded with tasty cilantro rice, black beans, steak, and guacamole; and last but not least, the Quesorito, a hybrid between a quesadilla and a burrito, for those days when a normal chicken and cheese quesadilla just won’t cut it. No, the latter isn’t a Godzilla knock-off; it might just be the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten.
Wendy’s (NASDAQ: WEN)
In the traditional fast food realm, Wendy’s is known for its premium quality and pricing over its less costly peers. Since the recession, shares of WEN have lost 18.4%, as revenues have been trending in the wrong direction. Many, including myself, complain that this once-fine establishment has lost its eatery edge, as a greater focus on health-conscious menu items has alienated its traditional customer base. While Wendy’s is best known for its square-cut burgers and sea salt fries, it also offers: the Barnyard, a sandwich stacked with beef, ham, bacon, and chicken as the name suggests; the Grand Slam, which has four meat patties; and the Value Crispy Chicken Club, a cheaper alternative to the Crispy Chicken that comes with bacon.
McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD)
It’s quite possible that McDonald’s has the largest hidden menu, because isn’t that what you expected from the restaurant that brought you the option to Super-Size your meal? So the next time you’re at your local Mickey D’s, you might want to slip the cashier a tip and order one of the following: the McChurger, an interesting combination of a double cheeseburger and a McChicken; the Land, Sea, and Air Burger, which is creatively named for its beef, chicken, and fish patties; the Monster Mac, which is a Big Mac with a ridiculous eight beef patties; and the Coke Float, which is a mixture of Coca-Cola and ice cream, yum. Other secret drinks include the Pie McFlurry, the Neopolitan Milkshake, and more. You get the point; we could go on all day.
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX)
As the leading brand in the specialty coffee market, Starbucks is known for its sheer geographical domination; chances are you can visit one just across the street. Many customers go for the standard cappuccinos and macchiatos, though this chain also offers a bevy of other caffeine-loaded drinks, including: the Red Eye, an espresso shot in regular coffee; the Cake Batter Frappuccino, which includes vanilla flavoring that tastes like, well, cake; the Dirty Chai, a Chai latte with espresso; the Zebra Mocha, which is a mixture of chocolate and white chocolate mochas; and the Widow Maker, a half-and-half of black tea and coffee. There are a few others, but these represent the cream of the crop, so to speak.
Aside from these four establishments, there are some other secret treats, like the Chicken Cordon Bleu at Arby’s, the original Chili at Chili’s, and the Wrecking Ball at Potbelly’s. That’s all for now, there’s a tasty Quesorito waiting for me at my friendly neighborhood Chipotle. Bon appétit!
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Fool blogger Jake Mann doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald's, and Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald's, and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.