Fast Food Roundup: Arby's Goes "Artisan" and Subway Scams Its Workers

In Depth

It’s been kind of a staggering past two days for fast food news, so Kitchenette is bringing you a Weekend Fast Food Roundup. From Arby’s jumping on the “artisan” craze to Dominos kids meals to a whole bunch of chains trying to go fancy, we’ve got the latest word from America’s most ridiculous industry.

Arby’s has decided to jump on the “everything must be artisan” hipster food craze by testing out a line of “artisan melts,” pictured above, in Evansville, Indiana. Apparently, what makes them artisan is the fact that they have grill lines. These include the Reuben (which Arby’s already has, I’d like to note), the Steak and Portobello, the Turkey, Avocado, and Bacon, and the Steak and Garlic toast sandwiches. Is anyone else suddenly reminded of a dog trying to wear a people tuxedo and attend a fancy ball?

Whatever, I still love Arby’s — Popeye’s is the only fast food chain I enjoy more. Hate on, haters.

Business Insider reports that Taco Bell isn’t alone in its attempt to upscale a version of itself to appeal to…someone, I guess: a whole host of fast food chains are trying their adorably incompetent hands at fast casual experiments. These include KFC (aka “what you eat when they put a lock on the Applebee’s dumpster”) opening a restaurant called Super Chix in Texas featuring chicken sandwiches with “upscale toppings” (I have assume this means there’s actual chicken in them somewhere) and “homemade croutons” (OOOH, HAUTE CUISINE), along with Sbarro opening Pizza Cucinova, a high-end pizza place with made-to-order pizza and alcohol. Apparently, Sbarro’s already ludicrously-overpriced menu wasn’t quite enough for them, but hey, when you can charge $15 per slice instead of $8, you gotta go with that.

These concepts are supposedly meant to appeal to Millennials, who Business Insider seems to think are “often wary of the ingredients in traditional fast food restaurants” which…WAT. I don’t…WAT. My generation eats CRAZY amounts of fast food, not least because you assholes have so thoroughly fucked the economy and our financial standing that it’s all we can afford.

In the wake of Taco Bell’s meat revelation, a host of other fast food places are tripping over each other to reveal what’s in their chicken — I guess because they figured now that the cat’s out of the bag with Taco Bell, the American public’s famously discerning eye was about to turn on them? Spoiler alert: it’s the exact same shit as Taco Bell, basically. Sodium Phosphates in everything, vegetable oil, dextrose…seriously, it’s like watching the maker of a super-secret PB&J sandwich reveal that the secret ingredient is jelly. You’re not…I’m not sure what your game is here, guys.

Domino’s India is set to roll out kids’ meals in an apparent attempt to rival McDonald’s Happy Meals. You know, because kids famously don’t love regular pizza. They’re calling them “Junior’s Joyboxes,” and if you don’t think I immediately burst out laughing when I read that, welcome to Kitchenette, because you must be new here.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll work so well in India that they’ll bring it to the American market, at which point I will make more jokes at Domino’s expense than when I discovered that the online pizza tracker features heavy metal and romance novel sub-themes (seriously).

Last, but certainly not least, we have the fact that a new report indicates that Subway is by far the worst offender in the fast food industry at completely screwing over its employees, resulting in over 1100 Department of Labor investigations into the company from 2000 to 2013. Over that time, Subway has had to reimburse its workers for over $3.8 million — pocket change for the company, but certainly not for its employees, considering that the vast majority of them make minimum wage.

Granted, the company can distance itself from the issue by claiming that it’s entirely the fault of franchisees, but that’s still a higher per-restaurant number of violations than second and third place finishers in the 200-Meter Douche Marathon: McDonald’s (SURPRISE SURPRISE) and Dunkin’ Donuts. This holds true even when you take into account that Subway has more locations than either of those brands. The whole thing is a fascinating read that basically makes clear what we’ve already known: fast food companies are getting away with horrendously screwing their employees, and the American public doesn’t really seem to care much about it, because we’re fucking morons. GOOD TIMES!

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