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Some McDonald’s Locations Are Letting Customers Use Taco Bell Receipts for Payment

Some McDonald’s Locations Are Letting Customers Use Taco Bell Receipts for Payment

McDonald’s is trying to beat Taco Bell in the breakfast wars by urging customers to ‘circle back to the one you love’

But how will this stop anyone from buying Taco Bell?

A few McDonald’s restaurants are firing back against Taco Bell’s breakfast war strategies with a new campaign in which customers are encouraged to exchange Taco Bell receipts for a free Egg McMuffin.

The campaign, which appears to be limited to locations in northeastern Pennsylvania, encourages fast food breakfast lovers to “Circle back to the one you love.”

Taco Bell, on the other hand, has been busy comparing McDonald’s to a communist organization where the “Routine Republic” is king.

Obviously, the new promotion signals a growing sense of urgency from McDonald’s to hold on to its role as the most popular fast food breakfast provider, and is perhaps related to the company’s decision to test out the concept of all-day breakfast in select locations.

It does seem, however, that the campaign will only encourage breakfast lovers to continue buying Taco Bell so they can get the best of both breakfast worlds. We doubt that that’s McDonald’s goal here, but you win some, you lose some.

Start your day the lovin’ way.Bring your Taco Bell® brkfst receipt for a free Egg McMuffin @ part NEPA McD's 4/3-4/17 pic.twitter.com/2dMzGgxaxb

— McDonald's of NEPA (@McDNEPA) April 4, 2015


Restaurant Revitalization Fund 101: What You Need to Know, How to Apply

Restaurants across the United States will soon receive financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help recoup some of the revenue they lost due to COVID-19.

In March, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, setting aside $28.6 billion for the SBA to disperse to restaurants and other hospitality businesses that suffered during the pandemic. Begi n ning May 3rd , restaurants and other eligible hospitality businesses can apply for funds from the Restaur a nt Revitalization Fund , or RRF, until the money runs out. The RFF is much like last year’s Paycheck Protection Program loans which restaurants used to pay for necessary expenses and to remain open during the height of the crisis.

A t 9 am EST on Friday, April 30, restaurants planning t o use the SBA’s online registration portal can register to apply for funds through the RRF . Eligible restau rants can receive grants up to $5 million p er physical loca tion, with a maximum aggregate grant amount of $ 10 million , to cover lost revenue and pay for other expenses resulting from the pandemic. The best news related to the grant program is that restaurants are not required to pay the money back if it is used for eligibl e expenses by March 11, 2023.

Who Can Apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant?

Although registration for businesses that plan to register through the SBA website begins on Friday, April 30 , businesses may not apply for the program until noon EST on May 3, 2021. According to the SBA, t he program is open to restaurants, food stands, including carts and trucks, bars, and caterers . Locations such as b akeries, breweries and wineries, inns , and tasting rooms can also apply for the funds, but only if their onsite food and beverage sales total at least 33% of their gross receipts . In addition, unlike the former PPP loans that were available in 2020, Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants are only available to owners or operators who have 20 or fewer locations total .

Businesses that would not qualify for a n RRF grant include non-profits, locations that are permanently closed, state- and local government-owned businesses, publicly traded corporations (and those controlled by one), businesses that have already received Shutter Venues Operations Grants , businesses that have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or have already filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but who have not yet received a n approved reorganization plan.

Although all qualifying restaurants are encour a ged to submit their applications starting May 3, funds will be processed and dispersed in two groups. For the first three weeks of the program, priority groups will be processed and funded , including small businesses that are at least 51% women- or veteran-owned, or owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals. These applicants need to self-certify that they’re eligible during the application process to qualify for the priority group round of funds .

After the first three weeks, applications wil l be process ed and fund ed for all eligible and applicants in the order they were received. Once again, it is highly encouraged that everyone wh o qualifies should submit their application as soon as possible after the application period opens. The SBA also suggests that applicants use either Chrome or Edge browsers to apply . Additionally, while applicants may use tablets or other mobile devices to access the SBA website, the SBA recommends that applicants use a computer as they will need to upload several documents as part of the application process.

What Funds Are at Stake?

According to the SBA funding program guide , among the $28.6 billion set aside for the RRF, $5 billion will be made available for businesses having less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019. Another $4 billion has been set aside for those with 2019 gross receipts between $500,001 and $1.5 million, while $500 million is available for businesses with gross receipts of less than $50,000.

Restaurants that apply must request at least $1,000 in grants (applications for less than $1,000 will be rejected) , but no more than $5 million per location and no more than $10 million for the entire business. Applicants also need to keep in mind that any money they received for a PPP loan last year will be deducted from the grant money they will be eligible for with this program. For example, if a business were to request a $5,000 grant but received a $4,500 PPP loan last year, they would only be eligible for $500 under the RFF and their application will be rejected.

Those awarded a tax-free federal grant will receive their funds from the SBA directly into their bank account for the exact amount they lost or incurred because of the pandemic, minus any PPP loans they may have received already from the government.

What Expenses Can Restaurants Use a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant For?

Much like previous programs, restaurants that receive Restaurant Revitalization Funds can use them for many purposes , including general business payroll and benefit s costs, including paid sick leave, health care, vision, dental, and other insurance premiums.

Other expenses covered include:

  • Restaurant mortgages or rent (pre-payment not included)
  • Paying off debt, principal and interest (no pre-payment allowed)
  • Restaurant utilities and maintenance costs
  • Construction of Outdoor S eating
  • Supplies, including PPE and cleaning materials
  • Restaurant food and beverages, including raw materials used to make products like beer or wine
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Day-to-day restaurant operating expenses, including things like marketing, accounting, equipment, licensing, and fees (Keep in mind, this only includes costs associated with regular activities)

How to Apply for a Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant

To get started with an application, restaurants will first need to register at this link once registration opens on April 30. After registering, all applicants will have the opportunity to submit a n RRF form through the link, starting May 3 at noon EST . Forms submitted before May 3 will not be accepted.

For restaurants and other hospitality businesses planning to apply for a grant, they will need to submit several documents, inc lud ing :

  • IRS Form 4506-T
  • Any of these documents showing gross receipts :
    • IRS Form 1120 or 1120-S (business tax returns) , or 2020 and 2021 POS reports for gross receipts on and between 1/1/20 and 3/11/21
    • IRS Forms 1040 Schedule C or Schedule F
    • IRS Form 1065, with K-1 form (for partnerships)
    • Bank statements
    • POS reports, including IRS Form 1099-K
    • Financial statements, including Income or Profit/Loss statements

    Other businesses, including breweries, bakeries, wineries, and inns , will need t o submit some additional information proving that food and beverage sales made up at least 33% percent of their gross receipts for 2019 or would have been a bove that threshold if they opened their doors in 2020.

    The SBA is encouraging businesses planning to apply for funding to have these documents ready as soon as the application form is available and the process is open .

    Have questions or need help filling out the application? T he SBA can assist through their helpline by calling 1- 844-279-8898 or by contacting a local SBA Office . Additionally, the National Restaurant Association has created a helpful FAQ that answers many common questions related to the RRF grant.

    Need More Assistance?

    The SBA recently hosted a webinar to help people learn how to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Watch the video below to learn more!

    Gino geruntino

    Gino Geruntino is a Marketing Specialist for PAR, helping drive leads for PAR’s hardware and software products. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Utica College of Syracuse University. When he isn’t working, you'll likely find Gino hiking the trails near his home or trying out a few new recipes.


    At McDonald's, we take great care to serve quality, great-tasting menu items to our customers each and every time they visit our restaurants. We understand that each of our customers has individual needs and considerations when choosing a place to eat or drink outside their home, especially those customers with food allergies. As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the eight most common allergens as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish), so that our guests with food allergies can make informed food selections. However, we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens. We encourage our customers with food allergies or special dietary needs to visit www.mcdonalds.com for ingredient information, and to consult their doctor for questions regarding their diet. If you have questions about our food, please reach out to us directly using our contact us forms.

    Percent Daily Values (DV) and RDIs are based on unrounded values.

    ** Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


    Mobile Order & Pay FAQs

    What is McDonald’s doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    The health and safety of restaurant employees and customers is a top priority. In addition to our standard sanitation procedures, as part of McDonald's response to coronavirus, our restaurant teams have:

    • Increased the frequency of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection of high-touchpoint surfaces,
    • Continued our high standards of promoting regular and thorough handwashing and reminding our crew members of our best practices for personal hygiene,
    • Where available, increased the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a supplement to frequent handwashing,
    • Trained our crew members of current social distancing procedures,
    • Implemented contactless operations,
    • Closed all PlayPlaces and seating areas in a majority of dining rooms, and
    • Required any employee who is ill to stay home from work.

    Additionally, we are providing scenario-based guidance to restaurant management on how to work through various COVID-19 related situations, and communicating health and safety guidance updates from federal health authorities. We will continue to evaluate all safety measures currently in place, and adjust accordingly as we remain focused on the health and safety of restaurant employees and you, our customers.

    Why is my McDonald’s Drive Thru only?

    We are closely monitoring all local, state and federal regulations to provide customers with a contactless pickup experience. As a result of these regulations, restaurants are only serving customers through the Drive Thru, with Mobile Order and Pay on McDonald's Global Mobile App, and with McDelivery®.

    How do I know if McDonald’s Mobile Order & Pay is available in my area?

    Make sure you turn on location services so that we can show you all of the available features in the McDonald’s App. Mobile Order & Pay will appear in the McDonald’s App as a feature when you’re within 5 miles of a McDonald’s restaurant that offers Mobile Order & Pay.

    Within the location map, after tapping on a restaurant icon, the white detail box arrow will also indicate if Mobile Order & Pay is available at a particular location. If the restaurant is participating, “Order Here” will appear in black letters at the bottom of the detail page, allowing you to tap it and begin the order. If not, “Order Here” will appear in gray letters, indicating that Mobile Order & Pay is not enabled at that location.

    How do I complete and pick up my order?

    You can complete and pick up your McDonald’s order at any participating restaurant. When you arrive at a participating McDonald’s restaurant, you need to check in and choose how you want to pick up your order—pick up curbside, inside the restaurant or DriveThru. These options may vary by restaurant and time of day. When you check in with your preferred pickup method at the restaurant, your mobile order is completed and your registered payment card is charged by the restaurant.

    Remember, never use the McDonald’s App while driving! Only check in when you are safely stopped at a McDonald’s restaurant, and make sure your location services settings are turned on. If you have any questions or are unsure of what to do, you can always see a crew member inside the restaurant and give them your mobile order code at a participating McDonald’s.


    About Taco Bell

    Taco Bell was founded by Glenn Bell. He opened a hot dog stand in 1946 when he was just 23 years old and named it Bell’s drive. After that, he operated a number of restaurants and finally opening the first Taco Bell in 1962 in California. Taco Bell went Public in 1970 with a total of 325 restaurants. PepsiCo purchased Taco Bell from Glenn Bell in 1978 and manages it till date.

    As of now, there is a total of 7000 locations of Taco Bell all around the world in a number of countries. The restaurant specializes in Tex-Mex (Texan and Mexican fusion) foods with Tacos as its main attraction, which is evident from the name itself. Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion customers in a year.

    Visit Tellthebell.com


    Taco Bell Secret Menu Tips

    Let’s pause to tell you something essential about the Taco Bell secret menu and indeed about all hidden menus, including those offered everywhere from Pizza Hut and Domino’s, to Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. That something is: the secret menu is anything you want it to be.

    The items listed on this Taco Bell secret menu page are, in essence, just our own creations and the creations of fans of this restaurant. They take foods that are on the traditional menu, they pick them apart, they add some extras and they create something amazing.

    If you want to do this yourself there is nothing stopping you. Just see what the menu contains and then ask for your own personal creation. If you get nothing but blank stares and mild confusion in reply, then order everything separately and then bring it all together at your table. Once you do, make sure you get in touch with us to let us know what you created. If you have pictures of your personal creation, even better!


    McDonald's Worldwide Locations

    McDonalds — manager kim/crystal springs ms.

    Customer service is very poor and you would think a manager in training would put her best foot forward to prove herself but not. the ice in my drink had bugs in it and I mean the bugs were inside the ice the quality of service and food preparation was poor. The manager on duty had attitude when I asked for my money back and shoved it into my hand for two pies that I didn't get. There is a lack of professionalism in the work place at this Crystal springs McDonalds and it's sad to have to report this store I have yet to see improvement .

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — servers don't know how to read and put the right amount of cream sugar or sweetener in coffee

    I have been ordering coffee from McDonalds for over a year cause I believe it to be the best coffee around.

    McDonalds — level of hygiene

    have been going through to McD protea glen from its inception and things have been great.
    I have however noticed that the standard of hygiene and cleanliness had dropped tremendously over the past few months but what I experienced today was a total shock - flies everywhere and the floors with chips and juice which seemed to have been spilt hours ago and this was not just one area. The tables where also just as disgusting and sticky. I could go on and on but the ultimate deal of this message is the dissatisfaction and disappointment experienced

    Add your opinion

    McDonald's — management

    I work for McDonald's in Portage WI. I was working in the kitchen in close quarters, I bumped into assistant manager Oma and touched her shoulder and said sorry. She punched me not once but twice and told me not to ever touch her again. . I spoke to the manager about this and was told the camera angle did not show where she punched me. I have been targeted and harassed by this woman ever since this incident. She has sent me home every day I com into work. today was because I forgot my name tag. I am a 38 year old male. not a kid . I gave the manager the option of addressing this and nothing is being done. It is time to get a lawyer to force your organization to address this.

    Add your opinion

    Tooele mcdonalds — wrong flavor of food

    I visited the Tooele Mcdonalds and ordered a mango pineapple smoothie (as it said on my reciept). I was in a hurry to leave so I didn't think much of it when I was handed a pink smoothie. We got in the car and were halfway home when my brother noticed the smoothie was pink instead of yellow like a mango pineapple smoothie. I am extremely upset and will no longer be visiting mcdonalds.

    Add your opinion

    We are here to help

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    McDonalds — cheeseburger was too small

    the cheeae burger i ordered kept getting smaller each year. i go every month on the month and i weight t he burgers each time . i know they are getting smaller to save money on their burgers. i want my larger burger with fries like i used to get al ot. i hope that corpatre employyess see this and make the burhgers biggwer again. i love mcdonalds but i may switch to wendys from nlow on.

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — discrimination

    I lost my job because my boss found out that I have a tattoo. It is a small one and was always covered up. My colleagues once asked me about it and they were very interested in tattoos. They asked me questions about does it hurt, how much it costs and etc. My boss was passing by and heard us. He asked me to show my tattoo and I thought that he just wanted to see it. It was a small star on my shoulder. I showed him my tattoo and he said that I was fired. When I asked why he said they don't hire people with tattoos and he also added that girls with tattoos are disgusting. So that is how I lost my job at McDonalds.

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — credit card scam

    I made a new credit card about two months ago and the only place I used it was McDonalds drive thru. I just.

    McDonald's — spoiled food

    It was approximately 12:45 on Wednesday the 6th. I went to the McDonalds on Rt 1 (Lafayette Road) in Portsmouth NH. I went through the drive thru and ordered a bacon ranch chicken salad and a large coke. When I got back to work and began to eat my salad I noticed that the lettuce was brown on the edges and very wilted. It was mixed in with spinach that was ok but old.
    After picking out the brown lettuce I wasn't even interested in eating it anymore.
    I have never had this problem before. I don't like the fact that I spent my lunch hour driving to McDonald's to get one of their advertised "fresh" salads and I get back to work and its brown.

    I would like a refund and the promise that the restaurant will have better quality control.

    Kimberlee Hanley
    117 Bluefish Blvd
    Portsmouth, NH 03801

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — steak egg and cheese biscuit and 2 for $5 meal

    You got to be kidding im not loving it. You removed Mcdonalds the steak egg and cheese bisucut. For people who don't eat pork, bacon, ham this was a big seller. THe manager at the Amityville location told me to write in that they are losing a lot of business when they took this item out. I don't eat ham, bacon, pork due to health issues, blood pressure im in my late 50's and my husband has ms and same age. This was basically the best item and only item we could eat, they claim to be health conscious why don't they sell turkey ham, bacon, sausage. THe 2 for $5 was the best for the money, I was coming every night because of the deal. Now when you take away meals, programs people are going to get more for there money and better quality food at wendys burger king and taco bell. I was a daily loyal customer now im not. THe manager at the Amityville ny location stated that they are loosing a lot of business because of both, people are walking out. they are loosing a lot of money. they need to change mcdonalds the food is getting borring, old same old thing. and the food is generally cold. so mcdonalds im not loving it anymore. you need to get these things back, start adding other foods for people who cant eat pork, loads of salt in there foods. bring these items back, you will get customers back.

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    McDonalds — new coffee cups

    The new coffee cups at my local mcdonalds store are the worst idea that I know of. They do not keep the coffee at an ideal temperature and they tend to slip out of your hand very easily. Please bring back the other cups. Until this happens I will never go to another mcdonalds again.

    Add your opinion

    McDonald's — drive thru, wrong order, cold food

    I went to McDonalds located at 364 US-6 Valparaiso IN 46385, Drive thru at 1:33 on sat March 26. I order 2.

    McDonalds — terrible and extremely rude service

    I went to the drive through and ordered some food. But then I decided to change my order. When I told the manager that I want to pick another burger he replied very rudely. He also told me not to return. What? All I wanted was just another burger and he basically kicked me out! This was the worst service ever! Well, I'll never come back and I don't want to see that pathetic person ever again! I never had problems with McDonalds, their stuff was always polite and kind, but this guy was a total freak! Terrible!

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — this mcdonald's branch is not using the standard ingredients!

    Here are my complaints about McDonald's Tagbilaran:

    1) There is only one toilet available and it is used by both male and female customers.
    2) They always ran out of stock of some of their meals.
    3) Their guards are useless. They do not even call the attention of noisy customers (students or kids!).
    4) No quality control. They use different and cheaper brands of cheese and other ingredients. Their meals taste different compared to other McDo branches in Manila, Cebu or Cagayan de Oro.
    5) Their table napkins or tissue papers are of poor quality.
    6) Last Valentine's Day, they made a gimmick which is bad for the health. When you are inside their store, you will feel the whole place vibrating because of the large sound box!
    7) Their cuts of the chicken are too small.

    Add your opinion

    McDonald's — service

    Went to Mcdonald's located at Clark & Bradley, Santa Maria, CA on March 2, 2016. It was 8:55 AM. Went inside as the drive-thru was lined up with 10 or more cars. The employee I believe was the ###'t. Manager, was on her cell (they said it was work related) & 2 customers were waiting to be served ahead of me. By the time it was my turn, it was 9:01 & there were 3 customers behind me. Took my order (it was only for 2 Med. Frappees) then proceeded to take the 3 customers behind me. By the time I got my order it was 9:10. It seemed to me that there were at least 7 employees behind the counter working various jobs but only 1 at the cash register.

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — kicked out of mcdonalds

    I went to the drive through at the McDonalds in Santa Rosa. And I have never had such bad service by the management ever in my life! I was given the wrong order so I asked for a manager. All I wanted was to get what I paid for and the manager was very rude and nasty! I was told to get out of McDonalds, was called a liar! What kind of service is that? Never expected something like that from such a reputable company!

    Add your opinion

    McDonalds — drive thru lidcombe

    To whom it may concern, (Preferably not the clown. It is internationally recognised as poor statesmanship to discuss matters of such magnitude with a clown)

    Last night, Sunday 21st of February, at precisely whatever time it was in the evening, I drove my internal combustion engine-powered motorcar through the Lidcombe Drive Thru and ordered a regular Big Mac meal, coke no ice, and an apple pie. Harry sat idly in front of me, his car belching a great myriad plume of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere for our collective pleasure a McChoke while we waited as it were.

    I paid my $6.20 – let’s just go over that figure again shall we – 6 dollars 20! Money like that aint easy to come by you know. That’s my blood and sweat in that money. So I paid the girl who gave me the ‘correct money’ thumbs up and I proceeded to the next window where I was handed my bag and cup by the person doing the handing of the bags and cups. I then drove home, believing that idea had some merit to it.

    Upon my arrival I patted my dog, gave him his Happy Bum Medicine (orally), washed my hands and put away the tablets. I then sat down at the counter and opened the bag. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that this is where it gets difficult, you know, reliving a heart-stopping ordeal through having to talk about it. Umm, I opened the bag and there was no apple pie. I guess my world kinda ended right there. A tragedy had indeed occurred! To use a mathematical metaphor, I had been rendered but merely ‘thagoras’! Bereft of pie! I felt violated! Dirty!! Unclean.
    Find the scoundrels! I barked at my canine side-kick. Put the price of an apple pie on their heads as bounty for their capture! I’ll have ‘em drawn and quartered the scurvy dogs! Whipped and flogged and stared at most disapprovingly! Send out the search parties! Alert the bounty hunters!! Release the hounds, Myrtle.

    Ok, perhaps a little overboard there, in retrospect, but you must understand the circumstances which have been thrust upon me. I have been robbed of the experience of eating an apple pie my apple pie paid for with money drawn from the very bosom of my earnest toil! My meal was incomplete. I am now incomplete! It has haunted me since like a beast at the heels in the darkest night. I did not sleep too well last night either I kept seeing these dull-green objects but could not make out what they were I awoke many times with a yelp! One such yelp, at around 2am, woke my therapist on the camping stretcher beside my bed and she said that it was probably my mind connecting with the core of the traumatic experience the absence of the aforementioned apple pie!

    My inner mystical self tells me that now, somewhere out in the universe, an apple pie has materialized and shall drift aimlessly and uneaten for eternity unless one of them things from Ridley’s ship or the Predator gets hold of it: we can kiss that badboy goodbye for sure then!

    I guess we never know the days when something which will haunt us forever will occur those life-changing moments in time where, as a result of someone allowing their thoughts to go run, jump, skip, sing, and play, one bright future is snapped away and replaced with a dark and dire future which, in this instance, brought gut-wrenching shock and the tears of a broken man.

    It would be most appreciated if a spate of disapproving stares took place at Lidcombe. Perhaps to add gravity to the oversight these stares of disapproval should be accompanied by sternly wiggled index fingers.

    I’m sorry but I need time to adequately sulk and mope slam a cupboard door or two, and maybe call the newsreader a blithering tosser.

    With warm regards whilst maintaining countless waves of abject devastation,
    Steve Rogan


    How much truth is there in an online review? How much influence does it have on a restaurant's reputation?

    “Well, of course, it depends on the online review platform. How helpful and valuable are the review questions or prompts? How carefully does the platform vet reviews to make sure they’re authentic? How many words do reviews have? Do they convey helpful context and details?

    All of these are important questions to ask when thinking about how valuable and influential online reviews are. The quality of online reviews completely depends on the quality of feedback from the community (i.e. reviewers) and the quality standards of the review platform.

    Of course, fake reviews can be a big problem that both B2C and B2B companies struggle with. One way that we combat this at TrustRadius is having a rigorous process for vetting and approving reviews. We authenticate each reviewer to verify that they are a real person and end-user of the software or hardware product. Our Research team personally reads through each review to ensure it lives up to our quality standards and community guidelines. We actually end up rejecting about 35% of reviews because they don’t meet our quality standards and community guidelines.

    This is so important in part because we know that a single review can influence multiple people and their subsequent purchase decisions. Our 2021 B2B Buying Disconnect research revealed that 92% of B2B buyers who read reviews share them with others. And, surprisingly, 12% said they shared reviews with more than 10 other people! For the past five years, reviews have consistently been one of the top five resources buyers rely on when making a purchase.”


    I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

    For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

    The name of this tomato-based sauce belies its taste. There's not even a hint of spiciness here that someone might associate with "chili." Instead you get a sweet and sour sauce that's got more tang than ketchup, and more chunks. And what are those chunks? According to the label they're dehydrated onions, so that's exactly what we'll use in this formula. Be sure to get the kind that say dried "minced" onions, because dried "chopped" onions are too big. The recipe is a simple one since you just combine everything in a saucepan and simmer until done. And if you cruise down to the Tidbits at the bottom of this recipe, I'll show you a super-easy way to turn this saucy clone into a beautiful carbon copy of Heinz Seafood Cocktail Sauce.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    ($23.88 annually)*
    Save $12 vs. monthly

    Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!

    Menu Description: "1/4 pound of 100% pure beef in two patties with American cheese, crisp lettuce and our special sauce on a sesame seed bun."

    Bob Wian's little ten-stool diner, Bob's Pantry, was in business only a short time in Glendale, California, before establishing a following of regular customers—among them the band members from Chuck Fosters Orchestra. One February night in 1937, the band came by after a gig as they often did to order a round of burgers. In a playful mood, bass player Stewie Strange sat down on a stool and uttered, "How about something different for a change, Bob?" Bob thought it might be funny to play along and serve up Stewie a burger he could barely get his mouth around. So Bob cut a bun into three slices, rather than the usual two, and stacked on two hamburger patties along with lettuce, cheese, and his special sauce. When Stewie tasted the huge sandwich and loved it, every band member wanted his own!

    Just a few days later, a plump little six-year old named Richard Woodruff came into the diner and charmed Bob into letting him do odd jobs in exchange for a burger or two. He often wore baggie overalls and had an appetite that forced the affectionate nickname "Fat Boy". Bob thought it was the perfect name for his new burger, except the name was already being used as a trademark for another product. So the name of the new burger, along with Bob's booming chain of restaurants, was changed to "Big Boy." The company's tradename Big Boy character is from a cartoonists napkin sketch of "fat boy," little Richard Woodruff.

    The Big Boy hamburger was the first of the double-decker hamburgers. McDonald's Big Mac, the world's best-known burger that came more than 30 years later, was inspired by Bob Wian's original creation. See if you can get your mouth around it.

    Check out my other Big Boy copycat recipes here.

    Jerrico, Inc., the parent company for Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes, got its start in 1929 as a six-stool hamburger stand called the White Tavern Shoppe. Jerrico was started by a man named Jerome Lederer, who watched Long John Silver's thirteen units dwindle in the shadow of World War II to just three units. Then, with determination, he began rebuilding. In 1946 Jerome launched a new restaurant called Jerry's and it was a booming success, with growth across the country. Then he took a chance on what would be his most successful venture in 1969, with the opening of the first Long John Silver's Fish 'n' Chips. The name was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In 1991 there were 1,450 Long John Silver Seafood Shoppes in thirty-seven states, Canada, and Singapore, with annual sales of more than $781 million. That means the company holds about 65 percent of the $1.2 billion quick-service seafood business.

    In 1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken bigwigs decided to improve the image of America's third-largest fast-food chain. As a more health-conscious society began to affect sales of fried chicken, the company changed its name to KFC and introduced a lighter fare of skinless chicken.

    In the last forty years KFC has experienced extraordinary growth. Five years after first franchising the business, Colonel Harland Sanders had 400 outlets in the United States and Canada. Four years later there were more than 600 franchises, including one in England, the first overseas outlet. In 1964 John Y. Brown, Jr., a young Louisville lawyer, and Jack Massey, a Nashville financier, bought the Colonel's business for $2 million. Only seven years later, in 1971 Heublein, Inc., bought the KFC Corporation for $275 million. Then in 1986, for a whopping $840 million, PepsiCo added KFC to its conglomerate, which now includes Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. That means PepsiCo owns more fast food outlets than any other company including McDonald's.

    At each KFC restaurant, workers blend real buttermilk with a dry blend to create the well-known KFC buttermilk biscuits recipe that have made a popular menu item since their introduction in 1982. Pair these buttermilk biscuits with KFC's mac and cheese recipe and the famous KFC Original Recipe Chicken, and skip the drive-thru tonight!

    Menu Description: "Grilled Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil."

    In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn Overton moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a wholesale bakery that would sell cheesecakes and other high-quality desserts to local restaurants. Business was a booming success, but some restaurants balked at the high prices the bakery was charging for its desserts. So, in 1978, the couple's son David decided to open a restaurant of his own—the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant—in posh Beverly Hills. The restaurant was an immediate success and soon David started an expansion of the concept. Sure, the current total of 20 restaurants doesn't seem like a lot, but his handful of stores earns the chain more than $100 million in business each year. That's more than some chains with four times the number of outlets rake in.

    Bruschetta is one of the top-selling appetizers at the restaurant chain. Bruschetta is toasted bread flavored with garlic and olive oil, broiled until crispy, and then arranged around a pile of tomato-basil salad in vinaigrette. This salad is scooped onto the bruschetta, and then you open wide. This version makes five slices just like the dish served at the restaurant, but the recipe can be easily doubled.

    For many years now, the monocled Mr. Peanut has been Planters nutty pitchman. The character was created in 1916 by a Virginia schoolboy, Anthony Gentile, who won $5 in a contest for drawing a "little peanut person." A commercial artist later added the top hat, cane, and monocle to make Mr. Peanut the stuffy socialite that he is today. But the character has not always been in the limelight. Planters adman Bill McDonough says, "Though Mr. Peanut has always been identified with the brand, over the years he has been dialed up or down to different degrees." In 1999, the company dialed up the polite-and-proper legume to capitalize on nostalgia for the older folks and the young buyers' craving for retro chic.

    Even though we think of Planters as the "nut company" you won't find a single nut, with or without monocle, in the fat-free version of Planters popular Fiddle Faddle. All you need to whip together this clone is a good low-fat microwave popcorn and a few other common ingredients. This recipe requires your microwave to help coat the popcorn with a thin, crunchy coating of the tasty candy mixture. Even though there is a small amount of fat in the recipe, it still comes out to less than 1 gram of fat per serving, so the final product can be called "fat-free."

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cup
    Total servings–12
    Calories per serving–114
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Menu Description: "Lightly-dusted, stir-fried in a sweet Szechwan sauce."

    The delicious sweet-and-spicy secret sauce is what makes this dish one of P. F. Chang's top picks. Once the sauce is finished all you have to do is saute your chicken and combine. You'll want to cook up some white or brown rice, like at the restaurant. If you can't find straight chili sauce for this recipe, the more common chili sauce with garlic in it will work just as well.

    Check out my other P.F. Chang's clone recipes here.

    This easy muffin clone is modeled after the low-fat product found in the freezer section of your market, from one of the first brands to make low-fat food hip and tasty. Muffins are notorious for their high fat content, but in this recipe mashed banana adds flavor and moistness to the muffins to replace the fat. Now you can satisfy a muffin craving without worrying about fat grams.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    A couple years ago Taco Bell and Kraft Foods got together to produce a line of products—everything from taco kits to salsas and spice mixes—all stamped with the familiar Taco Bell logo and available in supermarkets across the country. The idea was a winner, and now the Taco Bell line of products is among Kraft's top sellers. The clone of this mix, made with a combination of common spices and cornstarch, can be kept indefinitely until your brain's fajita-craving neurons begin firing. When you're set to cook, you'll need some chicken, a bell pepper, and an onion, then follow the same prep instructions you find on the package of the real thing.

    Top your fajitas off with one Taco Bell's famous sauces from my recipes here.

    Menu Description: "Chicken breast tenderloins sauteed with bell peppers, roasted garlic and onions in a garlic cream sauce over angel hair."

    This dish is a big favorite of Olive Garden regulars. Chicken tenderloins are lightly breaded and sauteed along with colorful bell peppers and chopped red onion. Angel hair pasta is tossed into the pan along with a healthy dose of fresh scampi sauce. The sauce is really the star, so you might think about doubling the recipe. If you're cooking for two, you can prepare this dish for the table in one large skillet, saving the remaining ingredients for another meal. If you're making all four servings at once, you need two skillets. If you can't find fresh chicken tenderloins (the tender part of the chicken breast), you can usually find bags of them in the freezer section.

    Find more delicious recipes for Olive Garden's most famous dishes here.

    Southern California—the birthplace of famous hamburgers from McDonalds, Carls Jr. and In-n-Out Burger—is home to another thriving burger chain that opened its first store in 1952. Lovie Yancey thought up the perfect name for the 1/3 pound burgers she sold at her Los Angeles burger joint: Fatburger. Now with over 41 units in California, Nevada, and moving into Washington and Arizona, Fatburger has become the food critic's favorite, winning "best burger in town" honors with regularity. The secret is the seasoned salt used on the beef patty. And there's no ketchup on the regular version, just mayo, mustard, and relish. Replace the ground beef with ground turkey and you've just cloned Fatburger's popular Turkeyburger.

    One hot summer day in 1946 Dave Barham was inspired to dip a hot dog into his mother's cornbread batter, then deep fry it to a golden brown. Dave soon found a quaint Santa Monica, California location near the beach to sell his new creation with mustard on the side and a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. Be sure you find the shorter turkey hot dogs, not "bun-length". In this case size does matter. Snag some of the disposable wood chopsticks from a local Chinese or Japanese restaurant next time you're there and start dipping.

    Update 5/3/17: If your hot dogs are browning too fast, turn the temperature of the oil down to 350 degrees. And rather than using chopsticks, thick round skewer sticks (corn dog skewers) found in houseware stores and online will work much better.

    The entire process for making this soup which Islands serves in "bottomless bowls" takes as long as 3 hours, but don't let that discourage you. Most of that time is spent waiting for the chicken to roast (up to 90 minutes -- although you can save time by using a precooked chicken, see Tidbits) and letting the soup simmer (1 hour). The actual work involved is minimal -- most of your time is spent chopping the vegetable ingredients. This recipe produces soup with an awesome flavor and texture since you'll be making fresh chicken stock from the carcass of the roasted chicken. As for the fried tortilla strip garnish that tops the soup, you can go the hard way or the easy way on that step. The hard way makes the very best Islands tortilla soup recipe and it's really not that hard: Simply slice corn tortillas into strips, fry the strips real quick, then toss the fried strips with a custom seasoning blend. The easy way is to grab a bag of the new habanero-flavored Doritos, which happen to be similar in spiciness to the strips used at the restaurant. Simply crumble a few of these chips over the top of your bowl of soup, and dive in.

    There a are few decent bottled salad dressings out there, but there's nothing on the shelf that compares in taste to this homemade version of the house salad dressing from Bonefish Grill. Not only that, it's a heck of a lot cheaper to make your own vinaigrette from scratch. And check out the easy steps: Mix everything together in a bowl, microwave for 1 minute, whisk to emulsify, then chill. If you're a salad lover, this is the clone for you.

    You might also like my recipes for Bonefish's Bang Bang Shrimp.

    In the restaurant, these are made with red chili tortillas. Since those can be hard to find, especially in fat-free versions, well use plain flour fat-free tortillas. Except for the color, you can hardly tell the difference. You'll want to prepare several elements of this recipe ahead of time. The relish and slaw is best when made the day before, and the chicken will have to marinate for an hour or so before you grill it.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 wrap
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–515 (Original–644)
    Fat per serving–5g (Original–15g)

    It's been an Iowa tradition since 1926, and today this sandwich has a huge cult following. It's similar to a traditional hamburger, but the ground beef is not formed into a patty. Instead, the lightly seasoned meat lies uncompressed on a white bun, dressed with mustard, minced onion, and dill pickles. Since the meat is loose, the sandwich is always served with a spoon for scooping up the ground beef that will inevitably fall out.

    When this clone recipe for Maid-Rite was originally posted on our website several years ago, it elicited more e-mail than any recipe in the site's history. Numerous Midwesterners were keyboard-ready to insist that the clone was far from accurate without the inclusion of a few bizarre ingredients, the most common of which was Coca-Cola. One letter states: "You evidently have not ever had a Maid-Rite. The secret to the Maid-Rite is coke syrup. Without it you cannot come close to the taste." Another e-mail reads: "Having lived in the Midwest all of my life and knowing not only the owners of a Maid-Rite restaurant but also many people who worked there, I can tell you that one of the things you left out of your recipe is Coca-Cola. Not a lot, just enough to keep the meat moist."

    On the flip side, I received comments such as this one from an Iowa fan who lived near Don Taylor's original Maid-Rite franchise: "The secret to the best Maid-Rite is the whole beef. Don had a butcher shop in his basement where he cut and ground all his beef. Some people still swear they added seasoning, but that is just not true. Not even pepper."

    Back in my lab, no matter how hard I examined the meat in the original product—which was shipped to me in dry ice directly from Don Taylor's original store in Marshalltown, Iowa—I could not detect Coca-Cola. There's no sweetness to the meat at all, although the buns themselves seem to include some sugar. When the buns are chewed with the meat, the sandwich does taste mildly sweet. I finally decided that Coca-Cola syrup is not part of the recipe. If it is added to the meat in the Maid-Rite stores, it's an insignificant amount that does not have any noticeable effect on the flavor.

    Also, the texture is important, so adding plenty of liquid to the simmering meat is crucial. This clone recipe requires 1 cup of water in addition to 1/4 cup of beef broth. By simmering the ground beef in this liquid for a couple hours the meat will tenderize and become infused with a little flavor, just like the real thing.

    When the liquid is gone, form the ground beef into a 1/2 cup measuring scoop, dump it onto the bottom of a plain hamburger bun, then add your choice of mustard, onions, and pickles. Adding ketchup is up to you, although it's not an ingredient found in Maid-Rite stores. Many say that back in the early days "hobos" would swipe the ketchup and mix it with water to make tomato soup. Free ketchup was nixed from the restaurants way back then, and the custom has been in place ever since.

    Just think of all the famous sandwiches you can make at home. I've hacked the Popeye's Chicken Sandwich, McDonald's Big Mac, Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich, and many more. See if I've duplicated your favorite here.

    Menu Description: "Slices of turkey breast with bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, stacked on toasted bread. Served with coleslaw."

    When Bob Wian invented the first Big Boy double-decker hamburger in 1937, his restaurant business went through the roof. Soon a slew of imitators hit the market with their own giant-sized burgers: Bun Boy, Brawney Boy, Super Boy, Yumi Boy, Country Boy, Husky Boy, Hi-Boy, Beefy Boy, Lucky Boy, and many other "Boys" across the burger-crazed country.

    By 1985 the Big Boy statues had become a common sight in front of hundreds of Bob's restaurants around the country. This was also the year the Marriott Corporation, which had purchased Bob's from retiring Bob Wian in 1967, created a national ballot to decide whether the Big Boy character would stay or go. Thousands of voters elected to keep the tubby little tike, but his days were numbered. In 1992, Marriott chose to sell all of the Bob's Big Boys to an investment group. Those mostly West Coast Big Boys were later converted to Coco's or Carrows restaurants, and there the Big Boy went bye-bye. The Elias Brothers, a Michigan-area franchiser for many years, purchased the Big Boy name from Marriott in 1987, and today is the sole Big Boy franchiser worldwide.

    The Club Sandwich is one of Big Boy's signature sandwiches, and remains one of the most popular items on the menu since it was introduced in the mid-70s.


    Starbucks wants to go environmentally friendly

    The world consumes a ton of coffee, and a lot of that comes from places like Starbucks. That means a ton of coffee cups, and that's led to some big problems. Because the lining of coffee cups has to be waterproof, that means they're not compostable or recyclable. but Starbucks wants to change that.

    USA Today says they're sponsoring a competition offering $10 million to the person who comes up with a design for an environmentally-friendly coffee cup. They're looking for something that can be composted or recycled into something else, and that's a huge deal. At the time of the announcement, Starbucks cups were only 10 percent post-consumer recycled material, and that's just a drop in the bucket as far as being environmentally conscious goes.

    It's also possible you're going to be seeing other ways Starbucks is trying to go green, and in order to encourage their customers to bring their own reusable cups, they're experimenting with implementing a surcharge for using their disposable cups. That started in London to see if it made an impact and, if it does, you're likely to see that happening at your local Starbucks — and maybe some other fast food locations, too.


    Watch the video: Τι Θα Γίνει Αν Σε Καταπιεί Φάλαινα; (January 2022).