Does Co-Branded Fast Food Gross You Out?

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To be honest, we find the idea so gross that we can’t get ourselves to eat at co-branded restaurants. What about you guys? Are you cool with Taco Bell/Pizza Hut? KFC/Long John Silvers? Taco Bell/ Long John Silver’s? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Morton Fox)

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  1. Keter says:

    FAST FOOD grosses me out. I don’t care if they co-brand or not, I still won’t patronize them.

  2. homerjay says:

    What makes branding such a big deal? What part of this makes it gross?

  3. pooryoric says:

    Ditto, Keter.
    Uh, except that I still eat there sometimes and I have an unhealthy-unhealthful attraction to Taco Bell.
    But it certainly doesn’t make me think less of a fast food joint if it shares some space with one of its corporate cousins. What’s wrong with you people?
    Maybe you can think of it as a mini food court without the attendant distractions of a mall.

  4. xdabomb911 says:

    We used to have a Taco Bell/KFC combined. It was nice since they mix and matched their combo meals.

  5. acambras says:

    I wouldn’t say it grosses me out.

    One time I went to a combination Taco Bell/KFC and ordered a Chicken Chalupa Supreme. The drive-thru person announced to me that they were out of chicken. I know the seasonings and prep are probably different, but it seems weird for them to say they’re out of chicken when it’s a freakin’ Kentucky Fried CHICKEN.

  6. How about a “doesn’t matter to me” choice? If you believe some fast food is healthy and having it being cobranded with unhealthy fast food is going to break the mystique, I’m sorry to say that you’re probably just lying to yourself.

  7. MeOhMy says:

    Anytime you throw Long John Silvers in the mix you gross me out.

    Otherwise, Kentacohuts don’t really bother me. Something for everyone. Although the Tacohuts near me have separate value meals…you have a Pizza Hut #1 and a Taco Bell #1. Why didn’t they just make them 1-8 with TB being the first 4 and PH being the other 4?

    Also near me there is a KFC adjacent to a TB in the same shopping center. Seems like a waste. They could just open a single Kentacohut and not have to take up two locations.

  8. It doesn’t bother me — it gives our lunch group more options when going to one place.

    Does it make me more likely to patronize them because they are co-branded? No. If I get a hankerin’ for greasy long john chicken, it probably wouldn’t matter if they were sharing the same space with a quick lube shop. That may explain why I’m on cholesterol meds, but that’s another story..

  9. Hawkins says:

    All I can think of when I see Long John Silver’s is the 1980’s porn star Long Dong Silver. So I won’t eat there under any circumstances, co-branded or not.

    Reasonably safe-for-work Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Dong_Silver

  10. The LJS thing is gross… but some days I get this terrible desire for boneless buffalo wings and a cheese-less bean burrito… I’m weak and there is absolutely nothing else but a KFC/TB out where my office is in Bumphuck, Illinois.

  11. mad_oak says:

    Two comments on the cross-branding… #1 Cross brand ANYTHING with Fried Chicken and your service level goes in the dumper. The volume of fried chicken clawing its way out of the vats o’ fat is less than a stand alone so they are constantly waiting for some piece of deep fried bird… Meanwhile you get to wait an extra 5-10 minutes to be “Next in line!” for you taco or burger. #2 Nothing tastes better than my fresh Subway sub or Mickey D’s burger or A&W root beer than eau de Octane 87 wafting in from the gas pumps outside. Gas station/restaurant cross branding STINKS!

  12. Long John’s popcorn shrimp is actually pretty tasty, when I get an overwhelming hankering for such depp-fried fatty food.

  13. Scazza says:

    Up here in Canukistan, we got a ton of Tim Hortons / Wendy’s co-owning of locations. However, it dosn’t seem to be working for Wendy’s. Tim Hortons is crammed packed 24/7 with coffee-holics while I rarely see people at the Wendy’s side. Personally Timmy’s kicks ass and I hope it crushs Starbucks in the states as it has done here.

  14. Kishi says:

    I like ‘em. More choices = more able to stop there when I’m with a group. Works for me, works for them.

  15. kerry says:

    I never eat at them, but they don’t bother me one bit. Since Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers and KFC are all under the PepsiCo umbrella, I figure it’s all the same crap, anyway. It did take me a while to get used to the Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts cobranding, but since I like coffee and ice cream it was never a real turnoff, just kind of weird.

  16. katana- says:

    the only one that I can bring myself to enter is the A&W / whatever locations. But then, I’m just going for the rootbeer and not the whatever.

  17. Homerjay: In my past experience with cobranded fast food, they tend to take the lowest common denominator of both restaurants and serve them as fast as possible. Ie: Pre-made pizza hut personal pizzas under a heat lamp for x amount of hours, or soft tacos by the bulk.

  18. rrrebo says:

    We have co-branded LJS/TBs around here, which we refer to as Fish/Taco. “Fish/Taco for lunch?” Perfect for that quesadilla/chalupa craving with 1 chicken plank and some hushpuppies.

  19. rg says:

    what’s the difference between something like this and all the food places at a mall, except for the fact that these places share a kitchen. it’s nice to have a choice and only make one stop. it’s pretty much the same thing that’s happening at every eating/drinking place. Starbucks used to only sell coffee, etc. everybody is trying to draw in more revenue by selling more products…it’s the american way.

  20. userboy says:

    I have to go with my Consumerist comrades on this one. While I rarely patronize any of these particular brands, with the exception of Pizza Hut delivery, the thought of the MWM’s (minimum-wage morons) behind the counter frying taco shells and fried chicken in the same vat of grease makes me want to hurl. I can see where it would be convenient for a group of people wanting different foods, I just can’t partake.
    I also adhere to a strict no mixing rule when it comes to eating. I don’t like food to touch or for there to be any co-mingling of juices, etc.

  21. William Mize says:

    I couldn’t find the “Doesn’t Care, Wonders What The Hell This Survey Is Doing on Consumerist In The First Place” choice, so I’ll add it here.

  22. AcidReign says:

    …..More crap does not mean “better.” Just more crap. I’m unlikely to stop at any of those places, co-branded or not. What’s really nasty, though, is those places at a gas station!

    …..Mmmm, nothing like getting that eau de octane sauce on your hands after a fill-up, then eating a subway sandwich. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

  23. rmuser says:

    I figure if I’m already eating fast food, getting it from a co-branded store isn’t much worse. Nachos go surprisingly well with one of those little pizzas. But if it’s a Long John Silver’s, I’m outta there. We went there… once. The woman in front of us ordered a root beer float, and one of the employees began pouring a jug of milk clearly marked “NO GOOD” into one of the machines. We pointed it out to them, before leaving.

  24. weebmac says:

    I see nothing discouraging about two loving brands sharing a common home.

    Taco Bell is some nasty, irredeemable garbage, though. As long as we’re on the subject.

  25. I’m a big fan of the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins…but thats it…anything else sucks (I hate Taco Bell, but love Pizza Hut, and I hate LJS, but KFC is ok…) and don’t want them made in the same fryer/prep area (which can’t be incredibly clean)…

  26. Maulleigh says:

    I like it. It’s great when you’re with a co-worker. I used to get taco bell and my friend would get pizza hut. Where’s the harm? It’s all the same crap anyway.

  27. Don Roberto says:

    It’s really convenient for many. It made me realize just how frozen and processed the food must be for it to be economical to offer THREE restaurants menus in one location.

    ALSO… what if the LJS menu, for example, is not so popular? Then the grease swimmin fish you were cravin could have been sitting in a freezer for a long time!

    Fast food in general sacrifices quality for consistency. There could be a GREAT inexpensive truck diner down the road, or it could be a roach house. Fast food chains on the other hand, take the risk out of picking a restaurant. You know you’ll get meal at a reasonable price with familiar flavor. Not good flavor, not bad flavor, but something comfortable.

  28. katana- says:

    I guess the biggest problem I have is the mixed smells. Not that either smells bad necessarily, but fried fish/chicken/pizza/tacos makes me want to puke. Its like walking into Bath & Body Works – sensory overload.

    And what if the food was touching??? ICK! True, its all soilent green or whatever, but mystery meat tacos *touching* greasy fried chicken. UG!

  29. wasylm says:

    Chances are, if you set foot in a fast food restaurant, regardless of branding, you know what you’re getting. I do find these mash-ups even less appetizing though.

    I get this mental image of little gray blobs of mush moving along adjacent conveyor belts, on one belt the cubes are stamped into tacos for Taco Bell, on another, pizzas for Pizza Hut, on a third, fish sticks for Long John Silver’s. Then all the mush that falls off the belts is swept up and formed into fried chicken for KFC.

  30. GroceriesCart says:

    I love Kentaco Huts and Long John Bells. I only wish they offered fusion cusine, like kentucky fried pizza or pepperoni hush puppy tacos.

  31. tmusacchio says:

    I’ve often felt that they are missing out on some serious cross-branding oppurtnities with these locations. For example, KFC/Taco Bell could have a fried chicken taco, KCF/Pizza Hut could have a BBQ chicken pizza, LGS/Taco Bell: Fish Taco! If anyone from Yum! Foods is reading this, have your people call my people.

  32. magdelane says:

    I find it to be a huge turnoff… precisely because it reminds me of a mall food court.
    The only food-court food I’ll eat is Chic-fil-A… ’cause often that the only place where it can be found.

  33. travis says:

    In my hometown, there’s KFC/Taco Bell, and the best part is the crossover combos, yum!

  34. nweaver says:

    What’s wrong with dining at the A&W Kataco-hut?

  35. I don’t so much mind the co-branded places, but the combo fast-food joint/gas stations always freak me out. I just think of gas stations as being dirty. I’m not saying it’s logically mind you, just my own personal reality.

  36. Michael Bauser says:

    All the Dunkin Donuts in my area because combined Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins a few months ago. I’m pretty sure a couple of diabetic people have been killed just by being downwind of the new stores.

  37. Brie says:

    I once ate at a combo ice cream/burger place – want to say it was a Baskin-Robbins/Burger King, but who knows. The cooler air from the ice cream side made my cheeseburger cold really fast.

    I don’t eat at BK anymore. That said, I don’t mind the combo places. Seems like it’d make it easier for office workers.

  38. taylorich says:

    I used to go to the KFC/Pizza Hut/Taco Bell (lovingly referred to as the “tri-hoopty”) when I lived in Dallas and it was great because almost no one wants the same thing. They had their own brand though which made it a little better…they called the whole place “Chews” get it…Choose/Chews? ha ha uh no.

  39. smartwatermelon says:

    Most of the Togo’s sandwich shops near me (Palo Alto, CA) are now combined with Baskin-Robbins. It’s kind of cool, you can get lunch and dessert at the same place.

    Also many Carl’s Junior locations are now combined with Green Burrito (Mexican). I don’t know about that one so much but it’s not horrible.

  40. daveghax says:

    every once in a while, i suppress the catholic guilt and indulge in some KFC. but knowing that my extra crispy thigh/wing combo might have possibly shared fry oil with the deep-fried feces they sell at Long John Silvers would put me over the edge.

  41. Youthier says:

    I can’t speak for the other chains but I used to work at a Baskin-Robbins that closed due to losing its franchise. The mothership refused to renew the franchise unless the owner cobranded with a Dunkin Donuts or Togos (sub shop) or opened a seperate store in the district. This could be the drive behind cobranding for other corps as well but I know for sure that’s why you have so many DD/BR combos out there.

    Don’t feel bad for the franchiser being run out of business. He called us all in at 9:00pm on a Sunday and said “Okay, we’re done.” Douche.

  42. amazon says:

    Tim Horton’s/Wendy’s always makes me happy.

  43. Compact says:

    why do you lard bucket americans get all the good stuff?

    we’re fat too…
    ok we don’t take up 2 seats on a plane, but we’re following the american dream and one day we will too

    Imagine Chicken Burger of KFC and McShake hmmmm

  44. guroth says:

    I was just at a gas station the other day that was sharing the same building with a burger king, not even a a wall between the dining area and the convenience store!

    Talk about white trash.

  45. Thermopyle says:

    I don’t get why someone would think this is gross. Fast food is fast food. Except you get more choice with co-branded stores.

  46. Scazza says:

    Another odd branding I have seen up here in canada is Canadian Tire’s Gas Bar (canadian tire is like a hardware store and auto shop rolled into one… they now have gas stations opening up everywhere) that was combined with a Second Cup, its an odd pairing that makes sense in the morning…. Also alot of Coffee Time (hate it, worst coffee in the world) pairing up with Petro Canada alot of places…

  47. spanky says:

    What are you people? HIPPIES?

    Fast food is supposed to be nasty and hoopty. If you get, like, fish grease on your tacos or orange pizza spray on your french fries, that is a BONUS, never mind the clear benefit of being able to get a side order of fries with your tacos or whatever.

    And if you can get gasoline and cigarettes while you’re waiting for your Popeye’s order to come up, that is called multi-tasking. It frees up time for the really important things, like barfights and drag racing.

  48. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    We have a Long John Bell’s and I’ll admit to having a weakness for Taco Bell. It’s all greasy and bad for you anyway, so who’s to say whether the Taco Bell mystery meat is going to contaminate the year-old freezer-burned fish or vice versa.

    If you’re already eating at one or the other, I can’t figure out why you’d be grossed out unless the whole idea of eating fast food makes your stomach turn…in which case, the point is moot anyway.

  49. madderhatter says:

    Why is it when I look at that pic “Kentucky Fried Long Johns” pops into my head. Talk about Ick.

  50. OK, I’ll admit it. I work at a Long John Silvers/A&W cobranded store in Marion, IN. I’ve been in several LJSs around the country, and most of them were nasty places with bad food. It just takes the right people to do the food, and the right management. From what we hear from customers (honestly, this isn’t just marketing schpiel), most of them like the cobrand, because it solves a lot of family feuds about where to go. We have a KFC/Taco Bell cobrand in our area, and it’s just nasty. I wouldn’t eat there for anything.

    In response to Kerry’s comment about all of these brands being under the Pepsi umbrella, I just have a small change to that. In 1997, PepsiCo spun off Tricon Global Restaraunts (at the time, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut). Around the same time, LJS was bought by a private equity firm and later sold to A&W, and they formed Yorkshire Global Restaraunts. Yorkshire then started co-branding LJSs and A&Ws. In 2002, Tricon bought Yorkshire, and the merged company formed Yum! Brands (proper way to spell it is with the exclamation point).

    Under the Yum! umbrella falls Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, A&W, WingStreet (almost always seen with Pizza Huts), and East Dawning (only in China).

    OK, so that’s probably more than you wanted to know.

  51. Keegan99 says:

    On I-35 just north of San Antonio there is the legendary “KenTacoHut”, featuring KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.

    “I’ll take two dark meat drumstricks – extra crispy, a burrito supreme, and a slice of pepperoni thin crust, please.”

  52. It never occurred to me to either like it or be grossed out. Who even cares?

  53. no.no.notorious says:

    i love these things…i feel like i’m in a walmart for fast food. mmmm.

  54. dantsea says:

    Let me join the “who the fuck cares?” category. When did this change from Consumerist to OCD Daily, anyway?

  55. faust1200 says:

    Yeah man. Throw it all in a blender for artery chokin smoothie. BYODefibrillator and all that.

  56. kenposan says:

    Makes life easier for me. Fewer trips to make the family happy.

  57. AllTech76 says:

    The only problem I see is the doubled chance of messing up an order… I would love to have hushpuppies with my extra crispy chicken… but if they gave me the less greasy option of salad instead of the coronary inflicting friend chicken I would be obesely furious.. more menu options means the more chances of hurting the company preferred customer experience… whether the preferred customer experience is killing the customer or not…

  58. Morton Fox says:

    If it were not for co-branded restaurants, I wouldn’t be able to get Long John Silver’s in most places around the NYC tri-state area. Standalone LJS restaurants aren’t nearly as common.

  59. Pelagius says:

    I say they dispense with all pretense and just open a chain called “Bucket o’ Food” where, for 99 cents, they stuff a waxed-cardboard bucket full of microwaved cheeseburgers, tacos, chicken, ice cream, and fried fish, top it off with coca-cola, hand you an oversized spoon and have at it! It all ends up in the same place anyway! har har.

  60. phrygian says:

    I like cobranding, if only because it means there are fewer buildings devoted to fast food. There’s no need for a LJS and an A&W in separate buildings when most of the traffic of both places is drive-through and their dine-in areas are both almost empty all the time.

  61. srah says:

    They’ve got Wendy’s/Tim Horton’s in Michigan too, but the one near where I used to live had separate counters. It would be kind of handy to be able to order chili, doughnuts and tea at the same counter and pay for it all at once.

  62. bluegus32 says:

    Who here has children? And has gone on a road trip?

    Anybody who answered those two questions in the affirmative should love these combined restaurants. If you need further explanation, have some kids.

  63. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Ahh man am I the only one who Loves Long John Silvers? I grew up in the south where they are pretty common…move out here to California and the nearest one to me is 22 miles away EEEKKK! Plus its a Taco/silvers…It doesent gross me out I just like it better when its just one resturant. But I see the family argument preventer angle too.

  64. Yossarian says:

    My hometown has a KFC/Taco Bell and the only reason I went there was because they sold weed in the drive thru.

    I wouldn’t touch that slimy chicken or grade D beef.

  65. Tonguetied says:

    Ditto on the “doesn’t matter to me” choice…