Saturday, January 7, 2012

French Fry Taste Test Round 2

There was recently big buzz in the fast food world when Burger King updated their french fry recipe—I presume in response to Wendy's successful introduction of natural cut fries earlier in the year. It was the first time the chain reformulated their fries since 1998, when they transitioned to "extra crispy" fries. The new fries are thicker, and supposedly retain heat longer.

So, in light of this new introduction, it was time to redo our face-off. Same judges, three contestants: McDs, Wendy's and Burger King. And the consensus was mutual.

Right off the bat, Burger King loses the right to call themselves fast food. Their drive-thru took about 5 times longer than the other too. But this is about taste, so I will digress....
When dealing with a fresh french fry, Wendy's wins on taste. They're still serving their natural cut fries, and while not technically healthier for you, they taste more like an actual potato. Mmmmm. Burger King tastes distinctly coated, and even a little chemically (perhaps like a heat retention coating should taste?)

However, over the course of the meal, as the french fries cool, Wendy's quickly loses it's appeal—their fries get mushy as they cool. Burger King's fries definitely retain their heat, they stay crispy and over time, lose the chemical taste. So the rankings actually flip. McDonalds just sort of hangs out in the middle of all this. They taste like a salty McDonalds fry—exactly what you expect from the fast food mogul.

So fast food now has a strategy. If you're eating on-site, go with Wendy's (or McDs if you're all about the Big Mac). But if you intend to go through the drive thru and have a 15 minute drive before you actually eat, Burger King's heat retaining chemicals would actually be a benefit here.

Yes, boys and girls, fast food really is that complicated.

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