Fast food menu items that aren’t as advertised, according to customers

Fast food menu items that aren’t as advertised, according to customers
Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme

A rising number of lawsuits have accused big food brands of false advertising. Recent cases in the last two years represented by Florida-based lawyer Anthony Russo have alleged that Hershey and fast food companies like Burger King and Taco Bell have used “unfair and deceptive trade practices.” The suits say misleading advertisements—overstating the quality and quantity of key ingredients—dupe customers into purchasing products they wouldn’t otherwise buy.

Let’s have a look at the menu items the suits have featured.

Burger King Whopper

One customer in Florida and three customers in New York bought Whoppers and Big Kings from Burger Kings between 2017 and 2022 that they claimed were “much smaller than advertised.”

Burger King Whopper advertisement

The four—Walter Coleman, Marco DiLeonardo, Matthew Fox, and Madelyn Salzman—said they wouldn’t have bought the burgers if they had known their true size.

Big King burger from Burger King compared to advertisement

Their feelings are echoed by other customers and food reviewers on social media.

They sued Burger King in March 2022. The complaint argues that the company currently uses “false and misleading advertising,” whereas past ads have depicted the burgers more accurately.

Past Burger King Whopper advertisement

The courts agree so far. At the end of last year, a federal judge struck down Burger King’s request to dismiss the case.

“The plaintiffs’ claims are false. The flame-grilled beef patties portrayed in our advertising are the same patties used in the millions of Whopper sandwiches we serve to Guests nationwide,” a Burger King spokesperson told USA Today after the ruling.

Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger

Justin Chimienti purchased Wendy’s burgers between 2016 and 2022 in New York, and they didn’t have as much beef as he expected.

Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger advertisement

YouTubers have documented similar experiences with Wendy’s menu items, like its Dave’s Single Burger.

Chimienti sued both Wendy’s and McDonald’s in 2022. His complaint against Wendy’s argued that the company’s actual burgers are 15% to 20% smaller than they appear in ads.

The case was dismissed in October. US District Judge Hector Gonzalez said in the judgement that the ads “are no different than other companies’ use of visually appealing images to foster positive associations with their products.”

McDonald’s cheeseburger

Justin Chimienti’s suit against McDonald’s and Wendy’s alleged that McDonald’s cheeseburgers and Big Macs were up to 20% larger in advertisements compared to the products customers receive.

McDonald’s cheeseburger advertisement

While the case was dismissed, other McDonald’s customers still share Chimienti’s sentiment.

“Big Macs have only gotten smaller over the years,” said one Reddit user.

“Is it really that hard to do what you say you will do? There has to be a line somewhere right?” said another.

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza

Frank Siragusa bought a Mexican pizza at a Taco Bell in New York that wasn’t to his liking, with only half the beef and bean filling he expected.

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza advertisement

His lawsuit against Taco Bell filed in 2023 alleges that Taco Bell’s “misleading” advertisements show its Crunchwraps and Mexican pizzas containing about twice the beef they actually do.

Image for article titled Fast food menu items that aren't as advertised, according to customers

The case is ongoing. Taco Bell has not responded to media outlets’ requests for comment.

Arby’s Double Beef ‘N Cheddar

Joseph Alongis ordered the Arby’s sandwiches in August 2023 in New York and found they contained about half of the beef and brisket he expected.

Arby’s Double Beef ‘N Cheddar advertisement

His lawsuit filed in September alleged Arby’s ads depict items with “approximately 100% more meat than what the actual sandwiches.”

Image for article titled Fast food menu items that aren't as advertised, according to customers

Arby’s did not immediately respond to Quartz’s request for comment.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin

Cynthia Kelly bought Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins last year and found they were missing the cute jack-o-lantern faces depicted on the wrapper.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin advertisement

She brought a case against Hershey in January seeking $5 million in damages. The complaint argues that past wrappers displayed the Reese’s cup more accurately.

Past Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin wrapper

Hershey has declined media outlets’ requests for comment.

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