When fast-food companies get bad press, it’s often due to their own marketing efforts backfiring. Burger King’s tone-deaf International Women’s Day tweet is a striking recent example. The McDonald’s “#McDStories” campaign created the opposite of a feel-good response in a similar fashion when a 2018 Twitter campaign meant to promote McDonald’s farmers prompted the sharing of negative stories about the brand instead. Even Wendy’s once tweeted a dubious Pepe the Frog meme. Putting the proverbial foot in the mouth is practically a tradition with fast-food brands.
Sometimes, however, it’s not the ads but the food itself that causes controversy, and the backlash in such cases can be more severe. The “all press is good press” saying doesn’t quite hold up in the restaurant industry when the press is about menu items falling short of expectations or worse, causing digestive issues.
Here’s a look at some of the most