The fast food industry has been a staple in American culture for years. During this epoch, there has always been a debate about which fast food restaurant reigns supreme.
In the burger category alone, we see a few different marketing strategies that companies employ to stand out from the competition. Wendy’s boasts fresh, never-frozen beef for their old-fashioned hamburgers. McDonald’s emphasizes their commitment to quality. And Burger King prides themselves on great-tasting, affordable food.
We at the Exception Magazine want to get down to the bottom of this decades-old debate by judging each place on its own merits and also determining how each fits into the larger burger ecosystem.
The process was simple. We would grade the signature burger and fries from each of the top three fast food restaurants in 5 areas:
Each of these five factors will be given points ranging from 0-2, with 2 points for outstanding, 1 point for average and 0 points for something awful. The points are then tallied across all five criteria to give a total score on a ten point scale. This will be the basis for our Fast Food Power Rankings. It will also allow us to compare meals in the same categories as well the best meals at any fast food restaurant in America.
Leading off, we stepped inside the brainchild of Dave Thomas and ordered Dave’s Double, medium fries and a tall glass of Coke to wash it all down.
Wendy’s – Dave’s Double Review
Value – 1.24
$8.89 for a burger, fries and a drink is an absolute bargain when it comes to New York City prices but at this mid-town Manhattan Wendy’s location, it seems just a little bit too steep for a meal I can recall being closer to $5 not too long ago.
Experience – 1.68
One shared experience that every American can relate to is a time when they received the wrong order or missing food from a fast food restaurant but not at this Wendy’s. Especially at peak lunch hours, the employees there were equipped to handle the rush with grace and accuracy, offering up extra ketchup packets as if to know the pleasure I get from having an abundance of ketchup to accompany my fries.
Aesthetic – 0.84
Though one can’t hold fast food restaurants to the bar set by professional advertisements designed to make mouths water and stomachs growl, the overall look of both the burger and the fries left much to be desired.
While the fries appeared to have been left out for quite some time before being added to my order, the burger itself had ingredients falling off before I took my first bite. The lettuce falling to the left and the tomato pushed over to the right required some handywork before attempting to experience this juicy combination of meat, cheese and toppings.
Taste – 1.78
What Dave Thomas and his cronies lacked in presentation, they more than made up for in the myriad of flavors that graced my taste buds upon the first bite into this behemoth. The freshness of the beef was the first thought that ran through my head before the taste from the cheese and toppings took over, creating an orchestra of flavor that played a beautiful melody on my pallet.
To complement the burger, I reached for a handful of fries expecting a dry taste to match the visual. Instead, I experienced the warm and savory taste of the inside of the fry that was hidden from plain sight. I was especially pleased with the low amount of salt the fries were adorned with, as in my experience, fries are often abused in the name of more sodium.
Quality – 1.56
Fresh is a word that Wendy’s often uses in their marketing materials and I have to say, I agree with that assessment. Though it is tough to tell the actual quality of the toppings, the moisture emanating from the inside of this savory burger was enough to convince me that this wasn’t just one of those dry patties that are kept in drawers in the back of the restaurant.
Overall – 7.1
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and I cannot stress that point enough when it comes to the burger and fries at Wendy’s. The actual flavors and overall experience were extremely satisfying and I was a perfect level of full that is often targeted but rarely achieved.