Design Fast Food

These Are The Fast Food Chains Whose Items Look Exactly Like You See In Ads

Let’s be real, it’s nearly impossible to ever get a sandwich from a fast food joint that looks just like it did on TV. Those intricately stacked burgers we see on the ads are typically served with squished buns, tiny slivers of meat, or massive portions of lettuce that intrude on our lunch. Despite the industry’s reputation on presentation, there are some fast food chains that actually do get it to look pretty spot-on.

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An independent study from put 20 of fast food’s prominent players to the test, showing customers the advertised and actual versions of the chains’ signature items. From there, participants were asked to comment on which one was more appetizing, tastier, and a higher quality. They also noted how much they were willing to pay and whether they preferred the branded or real food based on visual appeal.

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Only two fast food chains, Papa John’s and Domino’s, had food that looked better than the pizzas featured in their ads. Below are photos of the comparisons that customers made when looking at those two chains:

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Chick-fil-A also looks similar to its food, based on the results, but customers wouldn’t pay as much as the chain charges based on visuals. Everybody else had food that looked worse than the marketed images by far, with Burger King and Carl’s Jr having the biggest differences between the two.

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Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco also looked far off from what was displayed on the ads, as seen above.

In terms of resemblance, though, Chipotle’s meals look the most like what you see in advertising, followed by Domino’s Pizza, Shake Shack, and Panera Bread. So in terms of paying for what you see, those are the chains where that statement holds most true.

The study overall proves that most of the time, you’re not going to get what you see on TV or in ads. If you want more realistic images, you should likely look at the images that customers post of their foods on places like social media platforms.

If you want to look at the full study and see just how different all 20 fast food items looked compared to their advertising material, you can view it here.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.