Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Chipotle Employees Answers All Your Insider Questions!

Some real, live Chipotle employees took to Reddit yesterday to answer all those Chipotle questions you've been dying to ask! Here's a run-down of the most interesting answers, insider info and 'secrets' revealed!  (Answers are in italics.)

The Quesarito:

The Quesarito is a 'secret' menu item at Chipotle. You can ask for it and hope they'll make it for you! It is two burrito tortillas with cheese between them that is heated and pressed to essentially form a quesadilla. This quesadilla is then used as the wrap for your burrito. Do employees get annoyed when asked to make it?
Most people I know get a little annoyed when people order a quesarito especially when there's a line. But I personally don't mind! They just take a bit longer to make. And I thought it was pretty funny when TB came out with the quesarito, of course nothing beats the Chipotle original quesarito!
If your burrito is fairly large with a lot of stuff in it (especially liquidy stuff like sour cream, hot sauce etc) yes it is very annoying to roll and can be really difficult

Getting Extra stuff on your Burrito:
Q: Is it rude or not allowed to ask for extra beans or veggies? I always want to but I feel like they measure it so specifically I didn't know if it's a rule or not?
A: it's not rude unless you ask it in a rude, demanding way. just say "can I have extra ___ please?" and they won't have a problem! lots of people do it.
Personal favorite and the Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette: 
Q:  What's something you prefer from chipotle that very few know about?  A:  There's not much "secret" things that the workers know that the customers don't, but I guess we do get creative with the stuff we have. I've made a mini quesadilla/taco thing and it was great. (You take a soft taco tortilla, cover it with cheese, fold it in half, melt it in the press, open it back up, and make your taco. Also, we have this honey chipotle vinagreitte that's really good if sprinkled a little on top of your food (free!)

More food in a bowl than a burrito?

Q:  Why do I feel that I am getting more food in a bowl than in the burrito?  A:  That's because you are. In a bowl, you have all that bowl space and even if you get it filled completely that it starts stacking and getting taller, the lid is able to squish it down. But with a burrito, everything kinda needs to be in the center and be able to rolled into a burrito, so the portions are a bit smaller. but what you can do is get a bowl and tortilla on the side for no charge!
The Rice:
Q:  The recipe?  A:  Any type of white rice will do, we add a bit of soy oil, fresh ciltrano and citrus lime juice. basically just add a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro to your rice and mix! be sure not to make it too soggy or too dry. or, if you ask one of the workers or managers they'll be glad to tell you how it's made :)
Q:  Can I get plain white rice without cilantro?  A:  Absolutely!! You can ask them for plain rice, a lot of people do it and we already have plain rice in the back.
The chips:
Recipe?  A:  We actually get the chips uncooked in a box, and we fry them. After it's fried we squeeze lime juice and sea salt on it. Made fresh every day :)  also: if you want more lime you can just ask them for lime (we always have some in the back) and they'll give you some for free to squeeze onto your food! You're welcome :)
The Guacamole:
Q:  Okay but for real though, there is crack in the guacamole right?  It's unreal!
A:  Dude tell me about it. our guac is made of avocados, lime juice, sea salt, cilantro, onions, jalepeno, and lots of love!!!!!
Another Chipotle employee commented: Former employee here. Lots of love is lot's of labor, the avocados are hand pitted and smashed daily. The people at Chipotle work extremely hard, everything seems so fresh because almost all prep work is done the same day 8-11, almost nothing is received premixed, or even pre-cut. Props to your local Chipotle workers, they're bustin their asses off.
Why no queso?
Chipotle Kitchen Manager here! We don't serve queso sauce because there is no way to do it with the kind of cheese we use. All-natural cheese has oils it that would separate and get nasty if left to sit melted. However, I have heard that we're still trying to figure it out! Don't give up hope yet!
Food sourcing:
from another Chipotle employee:
 When I was being trained in, we watched a bunch of videos on Chipotle's ideals for free-range livestock and all that jazz. Our managers straight up told us that while we're doing our best to get only free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free meats, the demand for beef is more than we can actually get from free-range farms. That's where this sign comes from. Last I checked we were at a large percentage (weren't told specifics) of beef at those free-range farms.
In fact, we recently discussed an article Steve wrote, in which we were going to be importing quite a bit of steak from Australia, as we cannot meet our goal of all our steak being free-range and grass fed in the US yet. It sucks that we have to choose between local food sources and the free-range, but we hope that bringing this to light will let farmers in the US know that there is a market for non-"factory farms."
A career with Chipotle:
(from yet another Chipotle employee) Current chipotle GM here. 97% of promotions are internal. I started on prep, cutting veggies and sloshing through dishes. Worked up from there into kitchen manager, service manager, and finally GM in a little under 2 years. I'm 23, no degree. I make $53k base salary but get a $10k bonus for every crew member I promote into a gm position (expectation is two a year, if you are in a good area it can easily be 5+). Very very few people can be hired into these roles externally, mostly because chipotle is all about creating a special people culture where top performers are empowered to achieve high standards. We believe that getting the right people in crew positions and developing and encouraging them to take ownership of the entire store will allow everything else to fall in line. So our management culture is obviously a lot different from any other concept's where financials and such are the focus. I love the hell out of it though. I'm expecting to become a team leader (area manager) by 25 and then I will be looking at 6 figs.
more: The store level managers do all hiring and we hire based on 13 characteristics we believe to be readily identifiable and that cannot be taught but are ingrained in a person's upbringing-things like smart, happy, infectiously enthusiastic, etc. in the too stores, a candidate will go through three interviews before being hired. Once with the gm, once with an hourly manager, and once with several crew members. These are the things we do to help our crew "own" the store. They make decisions on who to hire and who to fire, who the next manager should be, etc.
The Chipotle Documentary
Q:  So I came across that documentary on Chipotle on Netflix. Have you seen it? Is it accurate? A: Yes! I've seen it twice actually, everything is pretty accurate. you should watch if you care about the background or history of chipotle, if not, it could be boring.
And finally...
Q:  How do you feel about Taco Bell?
A:  I actually love taco bell. Obviously Chipotle is a bit healthier, fresher ingredients, non GMO, etc, but Taco bell is cheaper and quicker.
Here's a link to the complete Reddit AMA.  It started with one user doing an AMA, but other Chipotle employees also showed up and answered or expanded upon some questions.  This was not an 'official' Chipotle AMA, but there is no reason to believe these employees aren't who they say they are.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sonic Drive-In's 2 New Cheesy Bread Dogs

Just in time for the 4th of July, Sonic presents their Ultimate Cheese and Bacon Cheesy Bread Dog and their Garlic Parmesan Cheesy Bread Dog!

Ultimate Cheese and Bacon Cheesy Bread Dog (aka the UCBCBD)
By our count, that brings to 10 the number of different coney's and hot dogs they have including their authentic Chicago dog and your basic corn dog.

And hey, at only 550 calories per dog, you can eat 4 of the UCBCBDs and be done with eating for the day.  Of course, then you be at 280% of your saturated fat intake for the day.  Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions.  (More nutrition details below.)

Sonic's PR copy:
"The two new adventurous offerings are sure to satisfy any summer hot dog cravings. The Ultimate Cheese and Bacon Cheesy Bread Dog takes a warm, soft hot dog bun with cheddar cheese baked right on it and tops the 100 percent pure beef dog with melty cheddar cheese sauce and crispy bacon. The Garlic Parmesan Cheesy Bread Dog takes the same delicious pure beef dog and warm cheddar bun and adds zesty Garlic Parmesan Sauce and grilled onions for those who like a little zing with their dogs."

Nutrition Facts
Ultimate Cheese & Bacon Cheesy Bread Dog
Serving Size 169g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 550 Calories from Fat 290
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 1580mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 17% Iron 38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calories diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Burger King's Proud Whopper

Burger King welcomes and embraces everyone.  That's the message with their "Proud Whopper."  What's so special about Burger King's new Proud Whopper?  Nothing!  Because "We are all the same inside!"  And that is pretty special.

You can see in the happy & touching video below, that BK in San Francisco offered their "Proud Whopper" to customers without really saying what made it different from the regular Whopper.  Until you unwrapped your burger.  The inside of the rainbow paper wrapping the burger exclaimed, "We Are All the Same Inside."

Smart and sweet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Hardee's / Carl's Jr.'s Big Chicken Fillet Sandwich Weighs In

Hardee's and Carl's Jr. introduced their "Big Chicken Fillet Sandwich" in May and yesterday they added the 'hot' Jalapeno version.

They both feature "a premium five-ounce chicken breast fillet seasoned in Southern spices, breaded and served on a Fresh Baked Bun with lettuce, tomato and red onion." The Jalapeno version adds "spicy jalapenos, pepper-Jack cheese and creamy Santa Fe Sauce." A bacon and Swiss version is also available.

The 'Big Chicken' weighs in at 331 grams.  That's more than the weight of 2 McDonald's Double Cheeseburgers.  And it has a 'round' 800 calories and 45 grams of fat.  The 'Big Chicken' has 2060 mg of Sodium, that's more than the amount of Sodium in 7 Large French Fries from McDonald's!  Full nutrition information below.
Jalapeno Big Chicken Fillet Sandwich
The commercial
Two Minute Revew
Big J's review

Serv. Size 331g Servings 1
Calories 800
  Fat Cal. 400
Total Fat 45 g 69% Total Carb. 65 g 22%
  Sat. Fat 8 g 40%   Fiber 4 g 16%
  Trans Fat ? g   Sugars 11 g
Cholesterol 90 mg 30% Protein 34 g
Sodium 2060 mg 86%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Burger King's Turkey Burger

News story from NBC about Burger King's new, limited-time Turkey Burgers:

Monday, March 04, 2013

Whataburger's Spicy Ketchup is Back... for awhile.

In (mostly*) Texas-only fast food news...

Whataburger's much loved and longed for Spicy Ketchup is back starting today, for a limited time.

Their jalapeno-infused Spicy Ketchup was introduced in January 2012 and didn't stay around nearly long enough.

Time to stock up!

*Although the vast majority of Whataburger restaurants are in Texas, they do have some in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Steak 'n Shake 7x7 Steakburger. Yes, It's Real!

There it is.  Right off their website.  The Steak 'n Shake 7x7 Steakburger.  Those 3x3's got nuthin' on this!

Monetary Cost:  $7.77.

Health Cost:  Much higher!

Nutrition Info (with the fries):

1570 Calories, 980 Calories from Fat.

Total Fat:  109 grams.  168% of daily value.

Cholesterol 290 mg.

Sodium 4570 mg.  190% of daily value.

Green or Gross: McDonald's Re-Using Cups

Is it saving space in our landfills and reducing plastic production, or is it just gross?

A McDonald's employee has uploaded a photo of his restaurant cleaning used soda cups.  He says that cups thrown away or left out in the restaurant are washed and re-used to serve drinks to customers.

A lot depends on the actual cleaning process, but if that process is adequate for sanitizing the cups, it is really no different than a restaurant that serves drinks in glasses and washes them, right?

Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A McDonalds Pro-Tip For Broke Students

The great idea in the photo below was posted to the sub-Reddit r/LifeProTips today.  It's a great way to save some money when you're craving a chicken salad from McDonalds.

Prices vary, but Reddit user 'HungLikeHamster' points out that at their McDonald's a "Premium" chicken salad is $5, but you can get a McChicken and a Side Salad for $1 each.  And ta-da...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

McDonalds Taking Advantage of the Mathematically Challenged?

Hmmm?  Steak and Egg Burrito, 2 for $4.  Small print: $1.69 each burrito.

And if you did happen to know that $4 is more than $3.38, and that you weren't getting a bargain by buying 2, but you wanted 2, how would you order.  Would you need to make to separate orders to get the $1.38 price?!?!  A mystery for the ages.

Clearly a mistake, but still....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why Is a Big Mac Cheaper Than a Salad?

Between the arrival of 'dollar' menus at fast food restaurants and the rising cost of fresh fruits and vegetables, we've reached an era where it is actually cheaper to feed your family at McDonald's than to go to the produce department, buy raw vegetables and cook a healthy meal at home.

There are many and varied reasons for this trend.  One, of course, is that McDonald's has more control over the market than the individual consumer.  But government policy comes into play as well; in particular the Farm Bill and the subsidies that support different types of food production in vastly different amounts.  The Farm Bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies primarily to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops for animals, which, in turn is a subsidy for meat and dairy production.  Fruit and vegetable farmers on the other hand receive less than 1 percent of total government subsidies from the Farm Bill.

This and much more information on this disparity is nicely presented in an article from Good Medicine magazine, a publication of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  Also from the article:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cannibalistic Chicken McBites TV Ad

Did anyone else notice the cannibalistic scene in one of McDonald's TV ads for their new Chicken McBites?

It's suggestive of feeding chicken to a chicken!

Sure it's just a car that looks like a chicken, but couldn't something similar be said of Chicken McBites themselves?

You can watch the whole ad below, but first, a little about the new Chicken McBites...

First, here's the complete nutritional facts:

Serv. Size 85g Servings 1
Calories 310
  Fat Cal. 170
Total Fat 19 g 29% Total Carb. 22 g 7%
  Sat. Fat 3 g 14%   Fiber 1 g 6%
  Trans Fat 0 g   Sugars 0 g
Cholesterol 35 mg 11% Protein 14 g
Sodium 490 mg 20%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

And second, here are the ingredients: Chicken breast chunks with rib meat, water, maltodextrin, modified rice starch, yeast extract, sodium phosphates, salt, modified tapioca starch, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, spices, carrageenan, natural (botanical and animal source) and artificial flavors, chicken broth, citric acid, spice extractive, gum arabic, lactic acid, chicken fat. Battered and breaded with: bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, food starch-modified, wheat gluten, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), salt, spices, garlic powder, dried onion, dried garlic, maltodextrin, onion powder, citric acid, natural (plant source) and artificial flavors, lactic acid, yellow corn flower, extractives of paprika and turmeric (color).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Burger King Begins Delivery Experiment

As part of continuing attempts to catch up to the market share of McDonald's and Wendy's, Burger King has begun to experiment with delivery.

That's right, you can get a Whopper delivered to your door!

Well, if you live in the Washington DC Metro area, within 10 minutes of 16 specific restaurants.

BK claims to have formulated new packaging that will get your burger and fries to your door hot and fresh.

If the pilot program works out, BKdelivers.com could be rolled out nationwide.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New "Spicy Ketchup" coming to Whataburger

I was just sent this Whataburger advertising image for "Spicy Ketchup" :

Whataburger's New Spicy Ketchup
 I don't know where the image came from, but it looks like an official Whataburger marketing piece.  I can't find any official information about when Whataburger's Spicy Ketchup will be available, but I found a couple unofficial references to it being available in January 2012 (update: this is confirmed; see below).  I've asked Whataburger's PR agency for clarification.

Regardless, this is exciting news for Whataburger fans.  Whataburger's "Fancy Ketchup" has a cult following and to add this spicy version to the mix is inspired.  I'm hoping it's as good as the ketchup/srichacha mix I've had at some indy burger joints.

UPDATE:  The Spicy Ketchup ad is from Whataburger's own Twitter feed (I should have found that!) and it will be available starting January 2, 2012!

If you see Whataburger's Spicy Ketchup in the wild, try it out and let us know about it:  tips@foodfacts.info

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Our McRib Photo Featured on Fox News

If you happened to catch Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld on Fox News last night, you'd have seen our photo of a 'naked' McDonald's McRib from our "Deconstructing McRib" feature from a few years back.

The hosts and panelists of the show discuss the varied ingredients of the McRib and whether or not that makes them not want to eat it.  When they flash Fast Food News' photo of the McRib up again, one of the panelists, Bill Schulz asks if anyone notices that it looks like a McDonald's Apple Pie.

The segment of the show on the McRib is below and, once again, here's that great 'naked' McRib photo:

But, really, that's not as gross as what's on the inside when you slice it open:

The rest of the photos from our McRib 'expose' are here.  And here's the video from last night:

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

McDonald's Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon

McDonald's has jumped on the Chipotle flavoring bandwagon with their new Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon burger.

It features a 1/3 pound Angus patty 'smothered in sensationally sweet 'n smoky Chipotle BBQ saude," with red onions, pickles and 2 slices of American cheese, and bacon on a sesame seed bun.

It is the highest calorie burger in McDonald's Angus line yet at 800.  Also, like the other Angus burgers it has 2 grams of those pesky Trans Fats.  The rest of the nutritional info is below.
"The new Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Third Pounder deliciously combines the bold flavors of tangy barbecue, smoky Chipotle peppers, premium toppings, and the Angus beef our customers have come to love—now offered with the great value, quality, and convenience they have come to expect from McDonald's," says Marta Fearon, director of U.S. Marketing for McDonald's USA. "And by offering consumers a Snack Wrap or Third Pound burger option, customers can choose how they experience this new bold Angus flavor."


Serv. Size 294g
Servings 1
Calories 800   Fat Cal. 350
Total Fat 39 g 60% Total Carb. 66 g 22%
  Sat. Fat 18 g 90%   Fiber 4 g 16%
  Trans Fat 2 g   Sugars 16 g
Cholesterol 145 mg 48% Protein 45 g
Sodium 2020 mg 84%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hardee's New Breakfast Platter, 860 calories for $2.50

Hardee's new Breakfast Platter supplies the cheap calories... only $2.50 for 860 calories and 55 grams of fat! (complete nutritional info below)

It has scrambled eggs, two strips of bacon, hash rounds potatoes and biscuits covered with sausage gravy.
“Hardee’s has many breakfast classics on its menu, and people often mix-and-match them to get the best of everything,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s Food Systems. “Well, now we’ve done that for them with the new Hardee Breakfast Platter. It’s got it all: eggs, bacon, potatoes, a buttermilk biscuit and sausage gravy. Normally, people would have to go to a sit-down restaurant or a breakfast diner to get a meal like that and would end up paying a lot more. Our new platter is, indeed, a ‘Hardee’ breakfast for people with hearty appetites on a budget.”


Serv. Size 372g
Servings 1

Calories 860
  Fat Cal. 490
Total Fat 55 g 85% Total Carb. 9 g 3%
  Sat. Fat 13 g 65%   Fiber 3 g 12%
  Trans Fat ? g   Sugars 4 g
Cholesterol 200 mg 67% Protein 19 g
Sodium 1860 mg 78%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

El Pollo Loco Introduces Fish Tacos

from El Pollo Loco:
Beginning Saturday, January 29 through mid April 2010, El Pollo Loco will offer two fish tacos-- the Classic Baja Fish Taco and the Spicy Avocado Fish Taco. Both tacos feature crispy beer battered Alaskan white fish tucked into warm corn tortillas and topped with shredded cabbage and fresh cilantro. The Classic Baja Fish Taco is drizzled with yogurt sauce mixed with El Pollo Loco’s signature house salsa recipe; the Spicy Avocado Fish Taco is topped with yogurt sauce combined with El Pollo Loco’s popular avocado salsa recipe. A slice of fresh lime adds a burst of citrus flavor to each taco. El Pollo Loco’s new limited time fish tacos are available individually and as a combo with a choice of any two fish tacos and a small drink.
Both are priced at a recommended $1.99 each. A combination meal is available featuring two tacos and a small drink for $5.29.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Taco Bell Responds to "Ground Beef" Claims

Per our previous post, Taco Bell has been accused, in a lawsuit, of serving Ground Beef in their tacos that does not contain enough 'real beef' to legally be called "Ground Beef."

Taco Bell's President has now responded in a video (below) and a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal.

Here's the full statement from Taco Bell's President, Greg Creed:
"The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts. Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you would buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It then is slow-cooked and simmered with proprietary seasonings and spices to provide Taco Bell's signature taste and texture. Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture. The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products. There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this."
What is in Taco Bell's recipe for seasoned beef?

"We're cooking with a proprietary recipe to give our seasoned beef flavor and texture, just like you would with any recipe you cook at home.

"For example, when you make chili, meatloaf or meatballs, you add your own recipe of seasoning and spices to give the beef flavor and texture, otherwise, it would taste just like unseasoned ground beef. We do the same thing with our recipe for seasoned beef.

"Our recipe for seasoned beef includes ingredients you'd find in your home or in the supermarket aisle today:
88% USDA-inspected quality beef
3-5% water for moisture
3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.

"Our seasoned beef contains no "extenders" to add volume, as some might use. For more information about our ingredients go to http://www.tacobell.com."

Greg Creed
President and Chief Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.
Here he is in a video Taco Bell posted on YouTube:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lawsuit Disputes Taco Bell's "Ground Beef" Claims

An Atlanta Law Firm, Beasley Allen, has filed a consumer rights class action lawsuit against Taco Bell claiming that what Taco Bells advertises and serves as "Ground Beef" can't legally be marketed and sold that way because it doesn't contain enough 'real beef.'

In their words, the lawsuit:
"challenges Taco Bell's practice of representing to consumers that its restaurants serve 'seasoned ground beef' or 'seasoned beef' filling in its products, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef. The lawsuit seeks to require Taco Bell to properly advertise and label food items, and to engage in a corrective advertising campaign to educate the public about the true content of its food products.

"According to standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the meat filling in Taco Bell's products does not meet the minimum standard requirement to be labeled and advertised as 'beef,' seasoned or otherwise."

Taco Bell has responded, via spokesman Rob Poetsch, but not directly denied the claims set forth in the suit:
"Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican-inspired food with great value. We’re happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit."