Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger Review

I had a craving for a couple of Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers. It's been a good two years or more since I've had one. I drove to a nearby Wendy's, ordered two of the burgers and a Strawberry Frosty Shake for my wife. The Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers were priced at $.99. Good to know there is still a dollar menu available.

I wasn't expecting much. I mean it's fast food, prepared by teenagers making minimum wage, and not exactly served "fresh". As I was waiting for my burgers at the drive-thru, images of the commercial burgers played through my head, though I've rarely seen fast food burgers in person that looked as good as the ones on TV. Came close at a few McDonald's before. About two minutes after ordering, my burgers were handed to me in an open-top bag that was not folded closed, and I headed home.

I decided to take pictures of my burgers and compare them to the official Wendy's photos of the "same" burgers as seen on their website. As you can see, the real burgers don't look quite as appetizing as their commercial and website counter parts.

My burgers didn't look much like the advertised images, and they weren't served hot. "A hot 'n juicy, made to order Old Fashioned Hamburger." That's what it advertises on their website. I felt the burgers (still wrapped up) in the bag before driving home. They did not feel hot, or even noticeably warm. After the 5-minute drive home and 2 minutes of pictures, they were room temperature - not even lukewarm.

Now what does one expect, right? These burgers cost $.99 each, plus tax. Most people don't expect to get good food from a fast food joint - especially not from the $.99 menu. I generally don't, personally. Some places are better than others about that kind of thing. Wendy's scores very poorly in that area in my opinion. Why the false advertising though? Why is it allowed? Regardless of price, a "hot 'n juicy Old Fashioned Hamburger" is advertised. My burger was neither hot or juicy and didn't look much like the advertised image of the same burger. Look at the difference in size of the beef patty alone... or perhaps the bun sizes are different?

The point is, this is false advertising - widely accepted false advertising. Comedians joke about this kind of thing, as do many fast food goers in general. Isn't it odd that this kind of false advertising is just so accepted? It's probably due to the low cost of fast food and the fact that most people already know that what's served is rarely like what's advertised. Still, I've been to fast food chains where the food was actually pretty good and did resemble (or come close) the advertised images. Like I said, I think Wendy's is the worst offender in this department - at least the one's I've visited. It didn't used to be this bad - it's gotten worse over the last 15 years or so.

It will probably be some time before I crave a Wendy's burger again. Seems like every time I eat a burger there, I remember why I haven't wanted to in such a long time. Yet memories of not-as-crappy food from many years ago linger for some reason. For the record - I ate both burgers. They weren't great, but I was hungry and it was food.

The Strawberry Frosty Shake was pretty good according to my wife. She rather enjoyed it. The shake wasn't served "hot 'n juicy" either though. :-P

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Wendy's has really gone downhill during the last couple of years. They used to be awesome, but now they're just pretty much average. They've probably become one of the worst offenders of "advertised vs. reality" as of late.

Whenever I go there (which is rare these days), I'm reminded of why I seldomly visit now. The burgers are slopped together and greasy, the baked potatoes are usually overdone and rock hard, and the salad sizes have shrunk to the point that they've become a complete rip-off.

I remember when Wendy's used to be really good. Which wasn't all that long ago. When they had salad bars and hot dogs. Man, I miss those hot dogs!

Burger King has also gone downhill. For a while they were copying Wendy's, and added Baked Potatoes and Chili to the menu. It was great. Whenever I felt a craving for Wendy's, I'd usually end up at Burger King instead. But they took them back off the menu again. I'll still go to BK occasionally, but my main reason for going there has disappeared.

Of all the places I didn't expect to improve, but did . . . it's McDonald's. They used to be crap, but lately they've really made strides. Their food is a lot better these days. Both in terms of selection, and quality. Shocking, I know. :o

I wish we had places like Sonic, In-N-Out, and Carl's Jr. up here in Canada. We could really use some better burger and fast food restaurants. The closest thing we've got to a really good burger chain is Harvey's.

@Rod - Yeah, Wendy's has gone downhill in a big way. It's been some time since I've been to a Burger King. Maybe I need to give their burgers the old advertised vs. reality treatment some time soon. I used to get a lot of Whopper Juniors there back in the early 90's. They were pretty good at the time.

I agree with you on the McDonald's thing. I went to one a few months ago and their Big Macs were almost perfect looking, served hot, and even tasted pretty good. This was not the first time I noticed that, either. At least one fast food burger-chain is still trying.

BTW - I don't think we have any In-N-Out, or Carl's Jr. around here either (greater Rochester, New York area). Never tried Sonic, but I think there is one near my job.

Yes, this is all soo true!!! I just finished filing a formal complaint on Wendy's website. The food basically still tastes the same as always, the ingredients still seem as fresh. It's just the preparation and presentation is BY FAR the worst of the big 3. My Wendy's single looked like roadkill when I unwrapped it. The mayo, ketchup, pickles and meat were everywhere but between the buns. Really gross and messy.

And I also completely agree with what others have said of McDonalds. They have gotten SO much better with their presentation. The sandwiches look just like the ads! It's almost creepy how perfect they look when you open the package. McDonalds is very consitantly above average on taste and presentation.

@PM - I think if everyone filed a complaint on Wendy's website EVERY time they were dissatisfied with their food, it would crash their web server. ;-)

In regards to McDonalds, their food is fairly close to how it looks in their ads, although not quite 100% IMO. It looks appealing, is served hot, and tastes good.

Regarding Wendy's-
The "Everyday Value Menu" consists of just 8 small items. The Doublestack Burger has even been replaced by the significantly smaller Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. Yet time and again, I have left Wendy's empty-handed in utter disgust because several of the items on that list were significantly more expensive than the advertised price of 99 cents.
Their tagline states, "Real Choices, Real Value, Everyday". The statement "Prices & participation may vary" is noted in MINISCULE print at the bottom of the menu. While this fulfills their obligation to admit that they reserve the right to worm their way out of offering these items at the advertised price, it still feels like cheating.
Do they really expect customers to call around to every local Wendy's until they find one that will honor advertised prices? That would first assume that all such phone calls will be answered during peak hours of operation. That is very hard to believe, because it would take up a great amount of their staff's time and slow down counter service. Asking in person at the restaurant for the prices of each specific item would lengthen the amount of time spent waiting in line for one's turn to "check market prices" as it were. Neither option is very appealing. Better to do business elsewhere.
My family used to LOVE Wendy's for its unique menu. Now we don't even bother to include them in our fast food options. I believe Dave would be disappointed by how far they have strayed from the family-friendly values he cherished.

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This page contains a single entry by Todd published on June 29, 2008 4:39 PM.

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