Is Fast Food Becoming Too Hot?

As we look to wrap the third financial quarter of the year, it’s worth looking at some of the fast-food trends of the second quarter. Namely, we’re concerned with reports that this year’s release of Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries didn’t perform as well as expected.

Okay, we’re not really concerned.

For a start there isn’t as much Ghost Pepper in Wendy’s special menu items as their names would suggest. Secondly, it’s not our company; the fast-food chain makes almost no difference to us personally. And, finally, there’s no telling whether the Ghost Pepper fries were the cause of the burger restaurant’s lower than expected sales in the second quarter.

What we do find interesting, however, is the comment made in the news regarding the desire of customers for hotter than hell menu items. It seems there is a belief that those who gave the fast-food Ghost Pepper fries a try in 2015 weren’t necessarily prepared to do the same in 2016.

So, Are Fast Food Heat Levels Rising Too Quickly?

Just about everyone in the fast-food burger world has tried spicy gimmicks to lure customers through their doors (or at least into the drive-thru lane).

Burger King, for example, created a burger that made for interesting (and slightly terrifying) bathroom experiences. It was damned hot as far as fast food goes, but perhaps not as hot as all that.

The same can be said about Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries. Well, not the colors of excrement, but the heat levels were perhaps too hot for the ordinary consumer. Chili heads found no trouble enjoy the slightly plasticized spicy cheese, but it was a little too much for 2015 consumers to head back for more.

Is fast food really the place then for hellishly hot peppers? You expect the strange disruptions to digestion, but it’s possible that the heat levels are too hot.

Perhaps the public’s introduction to wild pepper flavors and burning mouths shouldn’t be the domain of fast-food restaurants. Maybe the movement needs to stay in sports bars where patrons are more likely to opt for hotter flavors when induced by their friends… and draft beers.

Fast Food Joints Keep Trying

It appears Taco Bell cares as much about the efforts of Wendy’s and other fast-food chains with less than stellar second-quarter earnings.

Or maybe they believe they can do it better. They were prompted to develop Fire sauce to appease the market – and then the Diablo. The latter is admittedly hot for a fast-food condiment. (It won’t make you beg for your life like a Mad Dog hot sauce will, but it’s not bad in a pinch.)

Taco Bell is going out on a limb with its new Cheddar Habanero Quesarito. Never mind what a Quesarito is, the word Habanero is enthralling on a couple of levels. For a start, it suggests this is one of the hottest menu items at this fast food joint.

It also suggests that the broader market isn’t ready for Ghost Peppers. After all, there’s a mighty big Scoville leap between Habaneros and Ghost Peppers.

We’re curious to see how it all works out for Taco Bell, just as we’re curious regarding the success of Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries. It’s just that we need to know where we should stop on road trips, and how many sports bars will soon be launching newer, hotter sauces for their wings.


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