From McDonald's Szechuan Sauce to the Popeyes' sandwich: 6 out-of-control fast-food menu launches that shook America to its core
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
- Popeyes' chicken sandwich recently took over America, sparking endless fast-food-centric debate and sending thousands of people to stores to try the new menu item.
- The chicken sandwich joins just a handful of launches that shook the country, with menu items going from a cheap lunch to cultural icons.
- From McDonald's Teenie Beanies to KFC's Double Down, here are the six biggest launches in fast-food history.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Fast-food chains add new items to the menu all the time.
Executives spend months developing a new dessert or sandwich, testing the menu item, and then finally letting the general public try the fruits of their labor. Ideally, this will bring more customers to the chain and boost sales for a few months.
Then there are the new menu items that shake the country to its core.
Suddenly, this new menu item is all anyone wants to talk about. Social media devolves into a spiderweb of debates about chain restaurants. The New Yorker and The New York Times start publishing think pieces about fast food. Workers' lives are in shambles, as customers begin rioting amidst menu item shortages.
The most recent juggernaut was Popeyes' chicken sandwich. But, there have been a handful of other menu items that have similarly possessed the American imagination.
Here are six menu launches in American history that were bigger than anyone could have anticipated.