With the dumpster fire that was 2016 moving into our collective rear view mirrors, our thoughts turn toward the blank slate of 2017, and prayers that if it can’t be better, it at least won’t be worse than the historically terrible year that preceded it. And for me, a guy who spends entirely too much time pondering the arcane mysteries of the American fast food industry, at least a portion of those prayers will be directed toward the titans of casual dining.
My own personal New Year’s resolution for 2017: This year, I will continue to write the occasional Eating Badly feature for Paste highlighting the cartoonish excesses and existential horror that accompany a typical trip to say, oh, I dunno … Long John Silver’s. Or Taco Bell. Or the international drug ring that ventures abroad under the guise of “Burger King.”
But I’m not the only one making resolutions. Calling upon intel from my legion of sleeper agents hidden deep within the corporate culture of all these multinational corporations, I’ve managed to uncover the secret 2017 New Year’s resolutions of 10 major fast food franchises. In the spirit of transparency, I share them below with you.
Taco Bell resolves to break the company’s previous record of 17, set in 2011, of “new” product roll-outs that contain the same four basic ingredients already found in every single Taco Bell location worldwide. Early intel reveals that they’ll kick off with the “Beefadilla,” followed by the “Zesty Oaxacan Beefadilla,” followed by the “Big Pile of Beef in a Baja Blast Cup” in late January.
Having failed in its previous attempts to exterminate all life on Earth, such as the Most American Thickburger or the Thickburger El Diablo, Hardees is feeling a little desperate as we head into 2017. Therefore, their resolution is to build the biggest, most caloric, and most sodium and trans fat-laden burger in the history of Western civilization. This burger, which will be visible from space without magnification, will be large enough to comfortably feed all of sub-Saharan Africa for a full three months. Unfortunately, it won’t be used for those purposes, as it will instead be hauled into low Earth orbit as part of a scheme to block out the sun and cloak the nation in a permanent shroud of charbroiled darkness from which there is no return.
In 2017, Burger King is really looking to step up its creatively bankrupt, theft-centric business model by stealing more signature items from their competitors. First, it intends to steal McDonald’s classic Big Mac sandwich, followed by Wendy’s Baconator, followed by Dairy Queen’s hot dog lineup. This will nicely position the company to steal IHOP’s pancakes and close with the pièce de résistance, McDonald’s McRib sandwich.
Oh wait. Burger King has already stolen every single one of those items in the last few years. How silly of me to forget.
In 2017, Starbucks resolves to open enough new stores to make exponents the only reasonable way of representing the total number of them on paper. No longer will you be burdened with having to write out all of those zeroes—you’ll just be able to say “Starbucks is currently operating 10^11 storefronts in the tri-state area.” Just imagine all the time and effort that will be saved … enough time to open at least another 10^15 Starbucks locations, I’d wager.
McDonald’s has resolved to finally finish its overdue, 11-year project to render all of its Playplace ball pits cobra-free, before moving on to the secondary matter of all the rodents those cobras had been preying upon.
Chipotle, still reeling from 2016’s devastating E. coli outbreak, has resolved to keep this year’s death toll in the single digits if at all possible. To that end, they’re employing a revolutionary new strategy of treating all finished burritos for foodborne illness and pathogens by dunking them in a big bucket of bleach immediately prior to serving. The bleach is said to add a “zesty” and rather piquant quality to a Carnitas or Sofritas burrito bowl.
In the last few years, Checkers has been exploring the limits of how much caloric content a fast food chain can possibly offer to diners for as little money as possible, which resulted in the breakthrough discovery of their “4 for $3” deal in 2016—a burger, fries, apple pie and drink for a mere $3, along with a quivering middle finger aimed squarely at Wendy’s “4 for $4” deal. In 2017, Checkers is resolving to take that philosophy to its terminus by introducing the “5 for $1” deal, the only catch being that all five items have to be seasoned fries. Also, you have to eat them out of a special trough. Thankfully, you’re also allowed an ample supply of mayonnaise packets as an emollient.
Having hunted the Atlantic cod to the brink of extinction, Long John Silver’s is resolving to take some major steps forward in their conservation efforts in 2017. Abandoning the use of popular food fish in their entirety, the chain’s menu will be converted exclusively toward an array of deep sea dwellers previously thought inedible. Citing recent genetic testing that suggests the blobfish, tassled scorpionfish and obese dragonfish are all fairly unlikely to cause death when hand-battered and fried to a delightful golden brown, the chain is preparing to launch its “Crispy Wonders of the Deep” menu with special kick-off events that will be headlined by the frying of an entire bottlenosed dolphin in each location. Note: The bottle-nose itself is considered by connoisseurs to be the “best part,” and it is deemed a faux pas to adulterate it with tartar sauce.
Citing the rejuvenation of their entire brand under the watchful eye and waggling hips of the “Heartthrob Nashville Colonel,” KFC is resolving to go all-in on the sex appeal of their chicken brand in 2017. “Double D” chicken breasts will arrive on menus this winter, their size inflated to the size of a man’s head by a whimsical cocktail of chicken growth hormones. The dreamy young Colonel, meanwhile, will headline the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show, performing 30 minutes of fowl-centric retro rock and interpretive dance.
Waffle House resolves to add a third, “not burned” setting to all toasters in 2017, to rest directly between “OFF” and “BURNED.”
Editorial note: This is a satirical article. The cobra ball pits may have clued you into this, but we thought we’d alert you just in case you have recently encountered a cobra in a Playplace ball pit.
Jim Vorel is Paste’s resident staff writer and food-complainer. He looks forward to sampling fried bottlenosed dolphin in 2017. You can follow him on Twitter.