Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants

Taco Bell Totally Revamps Their Restaurants With These New Designs

When I was a small human, we had a Taco Bell right down the street from us that my family would go to at least once a week or two. My parents were in love with that place, and still are. They’re not huge on fast food, but they ain’t mad at Taco Bell. Contrary to popular belief, my family’s obsession with Taco Bell has not caused any rectal harm above and beyond the standard muddy runs from time to time, a small price we’re willing to pay.

The thing I remembered most about the Taco Bell was the pueblo-style walls and the arch at the top with the infamous bell listlessly swinging from side to side below it. That Mission Revival style and look was iconic, and was a part of the company’s image for well over a decade. Well, Taco Bell has decided to try and recreate that memorable appearance by introducing four new designs to their stores’ look: Urban Edge, Heritage, Modern Explorer and California Sol.

  • Urban Edge – This design represents an eclectic mix of international and street style. This style is inspired by timeless design coupled with elements of the urban environment.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.34.59 AM
  • Heritage – Inspired by its culinary roots in Mexican-inspired food with a twist, this style is a modern interpretation of Taco Bell’s original Mission Revival style characterized by warm white walls with classic materials in the tile and heavy timbers.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.36.34 AM
  • Modern Explorer – This rustic modern style is a refined version of the brand’s Cantina Explorer restaurants and can easily fit into a suburban or rural environment. This look is inspired by the farms that make the food.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.36.00 AM
  • California Sol – Inspired by Taco Bell’s California roots and the California lifestyle, this design blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor. It’s a celebration of dining al fresco and embraces a laidback beachy feel both inside and out.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.35.28 AM

To be completely honest, I’m a bit baffled that these changes are so subtle and miniscule. I can always appreciate some nice subtlety, but in a situation like this, being more exuberant and grandiose would have been much more appealing in my opinion.  I could probably find more differences between the two similar pictures in a Highlights magazine. While the small changes are nice, they’re simply…boring.

These new designs will be implemented into four different Taco Bell locations in Orange County, initially as a trial run, and will be reopened to the public this summer.

Fast Food

McDonald’s Plans To Turn Around Its Flailing Company With Hamburglar Redesign


Yikes. With a need to constantly update appearances for modern times, McDonald’s has given a makeover to yet another iconic character in its cast of misfits. With Ronald McDonald recently going through a hipster-esque upgrade, popular nemesis “The Hamburglar” couldn’t be too far behind.

Looks like his time has come.

The fast food company revealed the newest look for the burger thief and it’s a tad underwhelming. It was teased earlier in the week that this new incarnation is a suburban dad with a checkered striped taste for McDonald’s burgers.


We would’ve been more than happy with the chubby ginger in a striped onesie and cape.

Bet you anything the new Grimace will just be a guy in a purple suit.


How IHOP’s New Menu Design Persuades You to Order More Food


After receiving customer complaints on how their previous menu had “too many choices and too much text,” IHOP completely redesigned the menu’s look. The revamped spread resulted in a 3.6 percent increase in store sales, according to Bloomberg, and throws out the daunting wall of text for a more visual look.

The video below breaks down exactly how the restaurant chain’s redesign appeals to the visual cues of diners, from the addition of color-coded categories to an increase in vibrant photos. The visual-friendly layout makes it easier for patrons to navigate through their options, thus creating more opportunities for them to order more food. In other words, IHOP just created the menu version of a Charles Dickens picture book.


7-Eleven Gets Wooden Fruit Baskets and Aims for Millennials with Trader Joe-Esque Makeover


Yep, the hipster aesthetic is officially dead. For years, we’ve watched corporate logos get ironed out, flashy signage be replaced with adorable handwritten chalkboards. Love distressed wood? Congratulations, here are 500+ restaurants whose tables came all the way from the Himalayas! Best of all, at least half of them are the same corporate chains you already know and love (*cough, McDonald’s, Starbucks).

7-Eleven is just the latest chain to trade in its depressing, cost-efficient white walls and linoleum in favor of something a little “friendlier.” In a series of new concept stores nicknamed “7-Eleven Next Generation,” gone are the logo’s familiar green, red, and orange stripes, the cramped aisles, and (hopefully) the flies in the pastry box. Instead, Ohio-based design firm WD Partners has ushered in a brand new, Trader Joe’s-y vibe to everyone’s favorite convenience store, and even we have to admit, home-store looks goooood.


Design Taxi reports the redesign is meant to “reposition and rejuvenate” the brand and help it “better capture the millennial and female demographics.”

Which, okay, fine, makes sense. No one liked the gigantic stripes anyway, and picking fruit out of a wooden palette does seem quaint and farmer’s market-y. But maybe it’s still a little too trendy. Makes me miss the days when convenience stores sucked just the right amount to let you go inside willingly, but not want to spend more than five minutes there.


Luckily, branding blog Brand New reports there isn’t any indication this concept will be rolled out to all 7-Eleven (sorry, 7eleven) locations any time soon — just a few in New York’s Financial District and Chicago. So for now, let’s all continue to chug down our giant Slurpees in our oversized, MJ-scented hoodies. Quick, before the chicks in the make-up and yoga pants come through.

H/T Design Taxi + PicThx Brand New

Packaged Food

Behold, a Potato Chip Bag Redesign for Fellas Endowed With Big . . . Hands


F@#k potato chip bags. Big-handed or not, this is one statement we can probably all agree on. F@#k them for being half-air. F@#k them for tempting us at Subway. F@#k them for leaving grease all over our salty, sticky little hands.

In attempt to make their chips “manlier,” potato chip brand McCoy’s partnered with creative agency BTL Brands to redesign the chip bag, simply by flipping it on its side. The result? A package with essentially the same size but a wider mouth, according to Design Taxi, so “’proper big-handed men can actually fit their hands into the bag.’”


Previously, McCoy’s has been known for its particularly grill/beer/sports-related flavors such as beef, salt, and steak, explaining why they decided to bill this concept simply as “manlier” instead the once-in-a-life-time-holy-sh*t improvement that it is. Sure there’s still that blue-balled disappointment you’ll feel every time you tear open the bag seams to find significantly fewer chips than you were expecting — like, push-up bra status – but at least you won’t have to feel gross while doing it.

H/T + PicThx Design Taxi


Lay’s Crusted Chicken and Every Other Reason to Spend Your Summer at Dave and Buster’s


Apparently Dave and Buster are real guys. Dave ran a Texas-based video game/pool hall called Slick Willies. Buster was a General Manager at the TGIFriday’s next door. Thirty-ish years ago, they realized their respective customers kept running back and forth between the two and came up with the genius idea to help shorten the commute.

Personability. Quality. Fun. That’s the story told by the blown-up photograph that sits out front at the newly redesigned Dave and Buster’s in Orange, California. Black and white and slightly out of focus, the candidness of the shot of the two formerly faceless cofounders helps welcome guests to a fresher, sleeker and, believe-it-or-not, hipper D&Bs. A giant TV wall loops through a montage of the chain’s cocktails while silver light fixtures hover over the new glowing white concierge desk and swanky white leather bar. Truth be told, for those who frequent the chain, the changes can be a little jarring, like parking in suburban Orange and ending up on the Las Vegas Strip – but this is largely because the redesign is still in progress. Gone are the rows of dimly lit pool tables, the million laggy television screens, the dark wood on dark wood, but for those who’re still clinging to the past, the old belt-driven ceiling fans and Tiffany lamps in the dining room should be enough to tide you over.

Of course Ralph, the General Manager at D&Bs Orange, told us those lamps are the next to go. Cool, casual, he also joked about the possible HR dangers of meeting with bloggers who write about penis-shaped egg molds for a living, before walking us through all the new digs and eats and games at the now 15-year old, 60,000 square foot location. Other changes include the new beer pong game near the dining area; a Facebook check in-enabled wi-fi system; a giant television screen by the bar just like the one in the situation room at the White House; eight new games in the Midway including Temple Run and the immersion horror action shooter Dead Escape 4D; on top of all the new seasonal and regional dishes and drinks that collectively reflect the company’s newfound business boner for change.

Check out the photos from Foodbeast’s latest visit and take it from us: just because something isn’t broke, doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.







Spinach Dip, served with Warm Tortilla Chips and Salsa: A menu staple at most sit-down chains, D&B’s rendition is hearty and inoffensive — not too cheesy, not too watery.


Poppin’ Potatoes: Crispy, bite-size potato balls tossed with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese. Think bougie tater tots. Each purchase donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation.


The CoronaRita: a 7 ounce Coronarita bottle dumped belly-up into a margarita made with Sauza, triple sec and lime. Just make sure to ask for it shaken instead of in a slush, otherwise the tequila will be too watered down.


The Original Snow-Cone: DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Malibu, Three Olives cherry vodka, blue curacao, Sprite and pomegranate syrup. Literally like an alcoholic snow cone, which is to say awesome.


Strawberry Watermelon Summerita: Margaritaville Tequila Gold, DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Finest Call Watermelon pureee and Minute Maid, poured over strawberry flavored ice cubes. Sweet and tart.


Miami Ice: Skyy Coconut Vodka, Malibu mixed with Minute Maid and Bacardi Strawberry Premium Mixer. Good for fans of coconut, which the crushed ice helps temper down so it’s not too overbearing.






The 5:15: A regional offering with a built-in food challenge. 5 buffalo wings, 5 quesadilla wedges, 5 pretzel dogs and 5 crispy fried shrimp with a stack of fresh barbecue chips. The goal is to finish it in 5 minutes with the help of only one other person. “Because work sucks.”


Goldfingers: I know of only two restaurant chains that do a good chicken tender. Chili’s is the first and D&Bs comes in at a very close second. Not too dry with just the right amount and crispness of breading and a perfectly seasoned honey mustard sauce.


Tomodachi Potstickers: A regional offering and part of the chain’s new “Asian Tastes” menu, these are crispy fried pork potstickers on a bed of Asian slaw served with TYKU Citrus Ponzo sauce. Meant to be shared because tomodachi means “friendship.” Also a little dry.


Firecracker Edamame: Served with kosher salt, edamame is hard to mess up, and luckily Dave & Buster’s version does a pretty bang-up job (ba-dum-tss).


Dragon Wings: Crispy wings tossed in a fried sweet chili glaze and served with a side of Honey Hot mustard dipping sauce. These tasted kind of like Orange Chicken, which was definitely nothing to sneeze at.


Grilled Balsamic Chicken: A splattering of balsamic reduction sauce over dry chicken. Not terrible, but nothing spectacular either.



Bistro Steak & Shrimp with Lobster Alfredo: The first of its kind we’ve seen, a Surf and Turf pasta. The steak was a good temperature and the shrimp had an awesome texture — not all rubbery. All topped off with shrimp, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and a lobster Alfredo sauce.



Potato Chip Crusted Chicken: Let me say that again: Potato Chip Crusted Chicken. Tender chicken breasts crusted with Lay’s potato chips and served with warm French onion dipping sauce. Like eating a bag of chips for dinner.




Bacon Wrapped Beef Medallions and Grilled Shrimp: The texture of the steak here was good, but wrapping it in bacon made it a little too salty. The shrimp was still on point though.



Perfect Patrón Margarita and D&B TNTea: The former, Patrón Silver tequila and Patrón Citrónge on the rocks or frozen. The latter, Long Island Iced Tea made with Absolut vodka, Tanqueray gin, Bacardi rum, Grand Marnier, sweet ‘n’ sour and Coke. Fun story: my boss bet me that he could finish the TNTea before I could finish the Margarita and that if he lost he would buy me lunch for a week, but if I lost, I had to play Dead Escape 4D by myself. Later that night was the most terrifying 3 minutes of my life.


Dave’s Double Burger: Double meat, double cheese. Didn’t get to try this one (too full), but it photographed beautifully.


Belgian Chocolate Fondue: A warm, not-too-sweet chocolate sauce kicked off the closers of the night.



Banana Foster Pie: Hands down, one of the best banana foster dishes we’ve tried.


James and the Giant Peach: Rum and peach schnapps make for a cool cocktail that was pretty on the eyes and on the tongue.


Mexican Candy: Also didn’t get to try this one, but supposedly it tasted just like those chile/tamarind candies you could find at the local liquor store, without the lead.


Hot Sugared Donut Holes: Melty and sweet, these little cuties are great with or without the chocolate or raspberry sauces.


Dave & Buster’s Orange

20 City Blvd W #1 Orange, CA 92868

(714) 769-1515


Bowling for Cheese — Chuck E. Cheese Mascot Gets Dated Redesign

Is it too soon to revisit the 2000s? CEC Entertainment Inc., the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese, doesn’t seem to think so.

In an attempt to breathe some life back into its 35 year old franchise, CEC has transformed its mousy mascot into a tiny, CGI punk rocker, complete with faded jeans, red Chucks, and a sunburst gray electric guitar. And the best part? Ditching Duncan Brannan, who voiced the mouse for nearly two decades, this new version gets its pipes from none other than Bowling for Soup frontman Jaret Reddick, whose hit single “1985” was at the top of the charts only as far back as say, 2004.

(If I remember correctly, I think I was still in junior high.)

According to the Associated Press, “In May, CEC said revenue at its locations open at least a year fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter,” causing many to cite the revamp as the result of a sort of midlife crisis for the company. CEC and the Richards Group, who designed the ads, hope that this “hipper” new look will help draw in new masses of hyper, light-chasing, pizza-munching scamps to its over 500 locations worldwide.

Chuck (because let’s be honest, this pop-punk hood rat looks more like a “Chuck” now than your friendly neighborhood “Chuck E.”) isn’t the first childhood rodent to get a spiffy new redesign. Back in 2010, Disney Interactive released Epic Mickey, a Wii game featuring a darker, Steamboat Willie-esque Mickey Mouse, which later served as a major design feature in the revamp of its Anaheim theme park, California Adventure. The only difference really between the two is that Mickey’s new look was retro and cool, and this one just kind of . . . isn’t.

See for yourself in this video from the new campaign, launching today:

What do you guys think about Chuck E.’s new look? On a scale from no, to no no no no no?