How Closely Does Fast Food Need To Resemble The Ad Photo?

I think it’s safe to say that most people have a decent grasp on the distinction between advertising and reality. Most of us know that the cheese on our Whopper isn’t going to perfectly placed like the cheese on TV or that the bacon on our Baconator probably won’t be identical to the crispy, glistening bacon we see on the poster. But at what point does fast food cross the line between “acceptably different” from the picture and “completely unrecognizable”?

For example, a reader recently wrote in with their disappointment at Taco Bell’s new Cantina Tacos. Above is a side-by-side comparison of the Bell’s marketing shot and the reader’s camera phone pic of the same item.

Wrote the reader: “The disgusting goo that put in a tortilla and wrapped in foil was quite the disappointment. What they served and what they advertise is COMPLETELY different. I want my $4 AND my ten minutes back!”

Meanwhile, Domino’s Pizza, fresh off its self-flagellating “we know our old recipe sucked” reinvention, recently launched a campaign saying it will only use photos of actual Domino’s pies; no plastic fakes or spray-on glisten for the cameras. The campaign is still in its early stages so it’s too soon to say if it’s having a positive effect or if others will follow suit.

What do you think?

Comments

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  1. BannedInBrittan says:

    redundant quote is redundant.
    and yes these tacos are horrid.

    • Preyfar says:

      I ordered two, and I wasn’t able to even finish the first one. It was just awful.

      And everybody I know has had the same reaction. None of my friends have been able to give it a “passable” mark. We all wondered how the hell Taco Bell managed to push this out the door nation wide. I may not like everything on a menu, but I RARELY hate it. One of the first rare exceptions.

    • crashman2600 says:

      Thanks for guinea pigging this for me. I was convinced these would be as good as the tacos you get from a truck but my girlfriend said they would be nasty, now I know, she was right.

    • trentblase says:

      Thirded… I tried them and got my money back. I pity the fool who doesn’t have an El Pollo Loco nearby.

    • Minze says:

      We took a Taco Bell Break the other night and my wife ordered these. the girl behind the counter said “Are you sure”. I asked her if they were that bad. She said yes. My wife thanked her and ordered something else.

    • shadowboxer524 says:

      I agree. I had one last week and while I like Taco Bell a lot, these tacos are really gross.

    • techgoddess: Only .002 cents per byte says:

      My boyfriend said he LIKED them. I think he’s the only one in the US who does.

      If I want a “cantina” taco, I’ll go to a real cantina/Mexican restaurant. There’s one on every block in Houston anyway.

  2. rpm773 says:

    If these so-called Cantina Tacos are supposed to resemble taqueria tacos, then Taco Bell has failed miserably in both photos.

  3. Bladerunner says:

    Also, it looks like the one she received is missing a tortilla…the one in the pic has two, presumably to hold ALL THAT MEAT

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      I think the two tortillas are simply because, while delicious, corn tortillas tend to fall apart the moment you try to take a bite out of whatever they’re wrapped around.

    • ludwigk says:

      Here in Cali, where we have lots of street taco trucks and places that serve a decent “street taco” style taco, they almost always come with two tortillas, and sometimes three. Not really sure why, but probably to hold them all together. That causes me to wonder why mexicans didn’t just develop double-thick tortillas to begin with. I don’t know but either way, real street tacos are f’ing delicious.

  4. sonneillon says:

    I would be suspicious of a taco that looked like the example on the left. That looks like bark and tofu.

  5. 44Wadeable says:

    If it looks appetizing in the picture, it should probably look something close to appetizing in real life.

  6. Sparty999 says:

    Why is taco bell using tin foil now? It really looks kinda good…

    • rpm773 says:

      Because when you go a real Mexican food stand, you get your tacos and burritos wrapped in wax paper and foil…

      …As opposed to paper with crazy graphics in pastel colors, designed by a Chicago marketing firm.

      • COBBCITY says:

        Um, Taco Bell does NOT use tin foil to wrap ANY of it’s products. At least not in our area. I am certain.
        Thanks, as soon as I responded I stopped and said “That wasn’t how Taco Bell served it.”

        • somedaysomehow says:

          Nothing else at Taco Bell is wrapped this way, but these three specific types of Cantina tacos (and ONLY these) ARE in fact wrapped in tin foil.

        • leihei says:

          I’ve bought these tacos from Taco Bell, and they are wrapped in foil. They were also almost all onion and very little meat.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      This way after you eat your taco, you can make a hat for yourself before you leave the joint.

  7. Tim says:

    My girlfriend and I went to Taco Bell this weekend, and she had all three of these tacos. They were pretty good and looked a lot like the ad. The carnitas one looked a little off (like the OP noticed), but come on. It’s shredded pork.

    And they were damn tasty. Real onions, lime and cilantro, corn tortillas … yummy …

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Yeah, I read a favorable review of these on a foodie blog-not glowing or anything, but praising the effort. They took photos of all three of the different types, and they looked way better than this photo, in fact, lots more cilantro than even the promo pic. My stomach can’t handle Taco Bell, but after reading the article, I went out and bought the stuff to “make my own at home”.

    • roguemarvel says:

      i had all 3 the other day and thought only the chicken was really good. when back a few days later and they taste terrible. I have no idea what happined…I’m sticking to the fatty taco salad when i go to taco bell

    • Poisonthescene says:

      My wife and I both LOVE these new tacos. The experience is very much like that of taco truck tacos.

  8. octowussy says:

    If, in 2010, you still expect fast food to look like the ads (haven’t you ever seen a standup comedy act?), you deserve this kind of disappointment.

    • cynical_reincarnation says:

      Its the principle of the thing.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Exactly. Why do we tolerate this?

        • Framling says:

          Well, I tolerate it because I’m buying food to eat it, not to look at it. I tolerate it because really tasty food often looks really gross. I tolerate it because when food is on tv, you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it; generally the only way for them to convey the experience of the food is visually.

          If they want to dress it up so that it looks as delicious as it tastes (instead of just letting it look as delicious as it looks), I’m going to tolerate that.

    • Gtmac says:

      I agree! If something is sucky for a long enough period of time, we should grow used to it and lower our expectations to match the current reality rather than incessantly try to improve things.

    • dg says:

      Ever see the movie Falling Down? There’s a few good scenes in there that are appropriate to this discussion… funny movie too…

    • runswithscissors says:

      There has to be a line. Exactly like the photo? Hells no. But brown paste smeared on the wrong type of tortilla? Yeah, too far.

  9. annalisa says:

    But.. it’s Taco Bell. Most of the choices there resemble canned cat/dog food anyways. Not sure why you’re so surprised?

  10. MacRtst says:

    I thought of this exact issue as I downed one of these the other day. It was ridiculously small and looked NOTHING like the picture. I actually couldn’t believed they served this.

  11. jtheletter says:

    1st: shredded pork NEVER looks like that taco bell ad photo. Best shredded pork I’ve ever had looked much more like the customer photo.
    2nd: You are buying a food item for less than $2 from a company which specializes in prepared food with a focus on keeping prices under $1 in most cases. Think about what that really means. They are paying for rent, employees, utilities, advertising, ingredients, and presumably making profit on all that super-cheap food. Most of the cost savings from the above expenses are going to have to come from the ingredients to make those kinds of margins work.

    I don’t care what “new” product a fast food place has created recently, unless they announce they have changed their entire business model WHY would anyone think “This time it will be different!”

    There are plenty of cases where advertising vs reality warrants some push back on the company. But when it comes to the contents of fast food there really shouldn’t be any surprises when the food looks like it was produced for the lowest cost humanly possible because that’s exactly what was done.

    • Pax says:

      “But when it comes to the contents of fast food there really shouldn’t be any surprises when the food looks like it was produced for the lowest cost humanly possible because that’s exactly what was done.”

      Even so … the advertisement should not look unrecognisably better than the reality.

    • lehrdude says:

      Why don’t they take some of that money in their inflated marketing budget, and put it towards making a better final product.

      They wouldn’t need to advertise as much if this article instead read “Taco Bell’s cantina taco looks and tastes exactly like the photo”…

      • Conformist138 says:

        Amen. If they pulled from stupid marketing hype and put some money into the food, the photos and reality could meet closer to the middle.

        Actually, that this looks like slop could have worked in their favor. Ever been to a really good Mexican deli or truck? The food often looks like a brown mash of shit wrapped in a few thousand hemorrhaging tortillas, but it’s so so so good. They don’t care how it *looks* nearly as much as how it tastes. So, Taco Bell could have gone with an authentic “Who cares how it looks, you just KNOW this is gonna rock” kind of campaign. Then, the looks wouldn’t cause people to have negative initial reactions.

        I had no idea, from the first image, that these tacos were meant to be like that of the yummy food trucks popular in every major city center. The photo gave me an impression of some yuppie looking for something “ethnic” but “still just like every other meal of non-determined origin”. Blah.

    • peebozi says:

      yea, and what’s with all the cow meat?! can’t they get horse/kangaroo (i know the kangaroo meat is from mcdonald’s, sheesh) meat cheaper anymore? I say, let them serve anything they want with any advertisement they want.

  12. skakh says:

    To compare Taco Bell to Mexican food is like comparing Sarah Palin to an intelligent person. Neither is very tasty!

  13. Anonymously says:

    Got the double junior bacon cheeseburger @ Wendy’s. The picture looked great – two strips of thick-cut bacon, juicy patties,etc. Mine came with two patties about 1/8th of an inch thick each and one strip of bacon. Disappointment ensued.

  14. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    The meat is much chunkier in the advert than in the real life photo. The meat looks pulled on the right, shredded on the left. I don’t see anything green in the one on the left, either. Pretty gross and not the same.

  15. wetdog2 says:

    The actual taco looks as close the photo as any burger does next to its gussied up photo. All the ingredients match.

    While these tacos are among the better items on the menu, it’s ridiculous to buy them when you can get better ones for less at almost any taco truck in a metropolitan area.

  16. Starfury says:

    I’ve been tempted for years to order something in a fast food place and tell the cashier that I want it to look like the picture on the wall.

    • Cyniconvention says:

      The people at our local TB are pretty cool. I think I’ll do that (Because I want to try this shredded cilantro pork thing)

  17. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    I can’t believe 74% of you accept a delta in what you see and get.

    if eaterys were forced to show actual photos they would have to produce quality food.

    you are allowing them to hand us crap, idiots.

    • CookiePuss says:

      I just saw a Dominos ad thats using this claim. They were saying how other companies use a bunch of trickery to make their food look better but how they use real photos of their pizza. It gave me a good chuckle thinking just how deceptive marketing can be.

    • MeOhMy says:

      “if eaterys were forced to show actual photos they would have to produce quality food.”

      No, they would have to start making food with the same inedible ingredients the food stylists uses for the photo shoot.

      The result in practice would be merchants NEVER using a photo of a food in an advertisement.

      • Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

        perhaps you answered my question

        you seem to be centered around the photo of the food and not its comsumption

    • nbs2 says:

      Producing any food product will result in some variation. Expecting everything to look the same would require ensuring that the exact same ingredients are available in all locations, and that they are formed to specification. Additionally, it would require a significant increase in cost, as any mistakes would need to be tossed and employees would need to be trained on development. Additionally, containers would not be permissible since they could cause damage to the design and layout. Finally, producing items would result in increased waits as each item was made to conform to the ideal.

      I suppose they could get some min wage employee to make the ad versions, but that wouldn’t change any of the above.

      As long at it is close, it would be acceptable. The OP is not.

      • Griking says:

        Actually Pizza Hut’s campaign where they ask customers to send them pictures of their pizzas is a pretty good attempt to deliver on their promise. I’d love to see other fast food restaurants follow suit.

        • sn1per420 says:

          That’s Dominoes. Though I honestly don’t care what Dominoes does about the appearance of their pizza, it’s pretty bad tasting, even with the new recipe.

  18. qualityleashdog says:

    I had two of these last night. They had their own dedicated square on the drive-thru menu board. On the left, they were called “cantina” tacos. On the right side, “carnita.” Claimed I could have two of them, with my choice of meat, for $2.78. Once I ordered, the price for two of them was $2.96, pre-tax.
    The actual product was very different from the advertised pic, the steak nowhere as appetizing as depicted in the photographs or on the commercial. I’m used to deceptive advertising with touched up pics and special effects the fast food world, but this was much worse. And the corn tortilla was absolutely nasty. Bitter. The fact that there was two of them made this even worse, and two certainly wasn’t needed, because it was not exactly “overflowing” with steak or anything esle. I would have to order this with a regular soft taco tortilla if I ordered this again, but why would I do this when I could just order a Mex-Melt and get cheese. The only thing this thing had going for it was the excess of cilantro (you’d better like cilantro), but that’s what a Mexi-Melt is for.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      The pork in the Cantina Taco is called Carnita. So one of the squares probably contained a steak or chicken Cantina Taco, and the other probably contained a Carnita Cantina Taco.

  19. Bob Lu says:

    Actually I think the side-by-side picture in this post is really not too bad by industry standard.

    After all, everything is there and the portion is reasonable.

  20. Dallas_shopper says:

    I’d be pissed if that’s what I was given, but Taco Bell food usually looks like that anyway. It’s disgusting.

    Reminds me of the scene in Falling Down where the Michael Douglas character is pissed at the fast food restaurant because it won’t give him breakfast, then gives him a squished burger that looks nothing like the picture on the menu. Yet another reason why I no longer eat fast food…mainly because it’s hideously unhealthy, but also because what you get usually in no way resembles the pictures.

  21. elangomatt says:

    If you paid $4 for that 1 taco, you got ripped off. Those new tacos are only $1.49. I think food show resemble the ad photo, but it is unrealistic to expect it to look perfect. When I got a couple of the Cantina Tacos, they actually looked pretty close to the ad photo.

  22. sirwired says:

    Honestly, except for the fact that the “real” photo has more moisture (and hence is not quite as “fluffy), the two aren’t that far apart. If you took the real one, lit it properly, used a real camera, and held it in a taco shape, it wouldn’t be that far off. (Although is the real one missing a tortilla?)

  23. wellfleet says:

    I tried these a week or two ago. The corn tortilla had the flavor and texture of rubber. The cantina taco in the picture makes it look like you’re getting a substantial amount of meat when in fact, there was so little meat in the first taco, I thought it was a mistake until I started on the second one. Add to that some serious indigestion… Not getting these again.

  24. trimetrov says:

    Just go to a taqueria? Usually a good street taco made with fresh ingredients goes for a little over a buck…

  25. LD says:

    I’ve never seen a taco bell that wraps anything in foil.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      LD, that’s supposed to be the gimmick of the new Taco Bell Cantina Tacos. They’re “just like” cantina tacos, and they wrap them in foil to prove it.

  26. NarcolepticGirl says:

    The picture on the right doesn’t even look like it’s from Taco Bell.
    I haven’t actually eaten there since I was a teenager, but I have friends that do.

    Are all Taco Bells now using foil?

    I also thing the main problem is that the “real” taco is missing the hard shell to hold it together. other than that, I don’t see much a difference.

    • elangomatt says:

      These new Cantino Taco’s are actually packing them in foil with a lime stuck somewhere outside of the taco area but still in the foil somewhere. I think they are trying to make it seem more like a taco truck taco or something.

  27. hoi-polloi says:

    In the case of the food advertisers, you have a team of people motivated to make food look as good as possible. They have a wealth of ingredients to select from. They can take the time to create the illusion of perfection, using glue, pins, cardboard or paper to soak up grease, etc. What takes place is less cooking and more makeup for food. Even if you have the same basic ingredients, the resulting product will look different from what it represents. It will also be largely inedible.

    With fast food, you’re dealing with underpaid employees trying to fill orders in as short a period of time as humanly possible. Quality and presentation are sacrificed at the altar of fast and cheap food. That is what average customers are demanding. I eat fast food on occasion myself, and I have little expectation that what I receive will look like much like the advertised product. I don’t have that expectation of any of the chain restaurants with pictures on the menu, either. These things are currently apples and oranges, whether you think they should be or not. All that said, the gap here is pretty sizable.

  28. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Hmm. I’ve eaten worse looking things.

    Del Taco, anyone?

  29. FnkyTwn says:

    I ordered the 3-pack of the Taco Bell Cantina Tacos last week and they all looked like barf. The commercials and even the pictures on the drive-through menu made them look delicious, but the Beef, Chicken and Carinitas all looked like they came out of can of dog food. It was a waste of time and money. Let’s hope their perfect limes don’t somehow get Salmonella from being near their lettuce and tomatoes.

  30. Gandalf the Grey says:

    I’ve had a very mixed experience with these. I’ve gotten them at two different taco bells, and while the first taco bell’s product looked like low grade dog food, it was actually very tasty. I ordered the same thing at a second location, and they were just horrid. Bad enough that I haven’t been able to think about ordering them again, even if I went back to the first restaurant.

    I guess the plus side is that for now, I can at least order my soft tacos in the corn tortillas.

  31. Truthie says:

    It’s expecting a bit much to even hope that food from Taco will look good. Even if you enjoy the taste (and I don’t), nothing they have ever sold has actually looked appetizing.

  32. COBBCITY says:

    Any well run company (especially in food service) should have an active secret shopper program in EVERY state they operate. They should be ordering menu items like this and comparing their appearance to marketing materials.

    When something like this is found, the franchise owner needs to be spoken to. I would have to agree Taco Bell is known for producing menu items that look nothing like what is pictured… but they are not alone.

    • Abradax says:

      Taco bell has an active mystery shopper program.
      They rate based on item weight, proportion of ingredients to what is supposed to be there, and temperature.

      Oh and stuff like customer service and cleanliness.

  33. FeelinFroggy says:

    Welcome to marketing 101.
    Picture looks great and gets your attention.
    You decide you want to try it so you drive down to Taco Smell.
    Even if you just try it once and don’t like it….the campaign was a success.
    Do a little math and figure how much money it means to them to have everybody who normally eats there try one. Those who don’t frequent TB and just come in to try one are just adding to the success.

  34. rage says:

    soylant green is people!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Serenefengshui says:

    I just had one of those cantina tacos last night. It was the only thing I’ve ever had at Taco Bell that resembled food I’ve eaten in Mexico.

  36. syzygy says:

    Think outside the bun, but never look inside the tortilla. First rule of Taco Bell.

  37. JRock says:

    I tried all three yesterday. The filling in the tacos were OK (not great, but not bad), but the tortillas were pretty bad. Like one poster already said, they were slightly rubbery, and they just did not have a good flavor at all. I had high hopes for these but I doubt I’ll order them again. Oh, and also, all three of the limes combined barely produced one teaspoon of juice – when I squeezed the lime, the semi-dry pulp just squished out the sides. Yuck.

  38. Piddles says:

    There’s an old adage, never buy food at a restaurant that has pictures on the menu. Personally I’d be freaked out if my Cantina taco was as vibrant as the photo above.

  39. somedaysomehow says:

    The appearance didn’t bother me, but man, the ones I had tasted AWFUL. Not doing that again.

  40. kataisa says:

    It’s really difficult to capture the essence of E.Coli

  41. skygirl says:

    Yes, Taco Hell is using foil on the cantina/carnita tacos.

    The limes wrapped in the foil were brown. Granted, if left in there with a warm taco they would turn brown, but I was eating mine 1 minute from the drive through which means my lime was “pre-brown” (ew!)

    Tried this in Iowa. Back home in Texas, I can’t understand why they are even trying to market these. There are taco trucks and taquieras everywhere, which provide tacos that are cheaper, made fresh, and taste pretty darned good.

    And yes, I got the double rubber corn tortillas too.

    (Yet I still like the volcano taco. I’m a hypocrite.)

  42. Me - now with more humidity says:

    The one that annoys me most is when the photo shows romaine lettuce and it actually comes out with shredded iceberg.

  43. mopman64 says:

    I tried on of those tacos the other day, never again. They should fire the person who thought up that idea.

  44. Mock says:

    Heh, if they showed us a picture of the REAL pruduct, we probably wouldn’t buy it!

  45. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I ordered a softserve ice cream years ago, and it looked nothing like the picture. I asked for the size the picture was portraying, and they said that was it. Even accounting for scale, in the pic the icecream was swirled to a nice peak, like a cone would look. They said they sell it by weight and I got what I paid for. I didn’t pay, I left it and walked out.

  46. gafpromise says:

    My main problem with this particular example is that the picture looks relatively dry, very little sauce, while the actual product appears to be drowning in it. Also that tortilla looks way oversized in the tortilla-filling ratio.

  47. Raanne says:

    I guess I’m the only one who thinks they look similar? I see meat, onions, and cilantro. I do not expect, when I order something, for the onion squares to be perfectly washed, and the cilantro to be placed on the top. Given the picture, what the customer got is EXACTLY what I would have expected it to look like. Perhaps the middle poll question is right, but this is recognizable. To say otherwise is completely disingenuous.

  48. Blious says:

    I said who cares….the food will never look like what it is advertised as and as long as it is made properly (ie cooked correctly) and tastes good, I am fine with it

  49. Ayumi~n says:

    I don’t expect it to look like the ad, but geeze, the difference between the ad and what the reader got would make me wonder if I got the wrong thing.

    But as long as it tasted okay… I could live with it looking like crap just as long as I don’t look at it too long.

  50. alternety says:

    When I was in Japan a longtime ago, every food stand and restaurant had plastic models of every dish. When your food arrived it was exactly like the model (except it was not plastic, which would not be certain here in the US). It may have been the law.

    It simply eliminates this problem.

  51. spicermatt says:

    I know it’s already been said repeatedly, but I would just like to reiterate again (and yes, the redundancy is intentional) that these things, which I refuse to call tacos, are absolutely terrible. They are one of the worst things I have ever eaten and I have had the dubious pleasure of eating balut.

  52. Jula says:

    A lot of people have nothing to compare it with though, so some might find this tasty, which is a travesty. Some places don’t have taco stands/taqueria places, where they serve authentic FRESH tacos.

    Up until a few years ago, the standard for Mexican food around here, is the bastardized American version of it. Yellow crispy shell, seasoned ground ‘beef’, lettuce, tomato, shredded yellow cheese. Enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, et al. Lame…boring…

    I did finally find one place by my house that serves shredded pork carnitas with onion and cilantro served with lime, real pork steamed tamales, grilled fish entrees, sopas, and more.

    So fresh, and TONS of it, and they are so nice.

    Taco Bell DIAF….

    Same goes for any ‘ethnic’ restaurant or chain that serves ‘authentic’ food…yeh right…D.I.A.F

  53. Jabberkaty says:

    I mean, I really don’t care as long as it tastes good. But honestly, I wouldn’t be able to eat that thing.

  54. rubicthecube says:

    I like Burger King’s “have it your way” slogan. Whenever I go, I ask them to make it look like the picture. It never happens. As for the tacos from taco bell, they’re actually trying to cash in on the whole street lunch-truck taco boom. The funny thing is, street tacos actually look like the tacos in the taco bell ads. I wouldn’t know what the taco bell cantina tacos taste like since I am mexican-american and refuse to eat at a restaurant which bastardizes our food or anybody else’s.

  55. The Marionette says:

    I knew they would use that pic for the article. I’m still not sure why people expect food from a fast food restaurant to look like the pictures. Yes yes, I know false advertising this, misleading that. But it’s a given that fast food slaps the food together, so you’ll be lucky to get it even close to what the pictures look like.

  56. xredgambit says:

    I have gotten all 3 kinds 2 times. They are pretty good I think. It’s not the best taco ever, but good. I do like the corn tortilla that isn’t fried.
    But yeah, I don’t think mine looked anything close to the ad.

  57. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The one that always kills me is the Arby-Q – they show a nice mound of the sliced beef slathered in BBQ sauce in their pictures…what you get is a tablespoon full of some kind of meat so minced that it could easily be a shake. It’s a horrid abuse of advertising.

  58. AngryK9 says:

    “Exact” is such a relative term. What I think is “exact” is probably “slightly off” to someone else.

  59. KMFDM781 says:

    Lol, people are funny. People expect, in a recession no less, to be given something way more than what the price they paid suggests.

    Those tacos and Taco Bell’s food in general is cheap…this is Taco Bell’s draw. Taco Bell is owned by a giant corporation who’s purpose is to pump out food in volume as quickly and cheaply as possible to widen their profit margin. These tacos are exactly what you pay for. The picture that you complain about suckered your ass in and got you to buy the product.

    You want a good carnita taco? Go to a small taqueria whose sole purpose isn’t to pump out quantity….otherwise pay (cheaply) for a cheap taco and get a cheap taco. Taco Bell’s not exactly authentic Mexican food and everyone with more than 1 brain cell knows this….if you go there for tacos to begin with you shouldn’t be allowed to complain.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      An excellent example of abject failure.

      I love how you completely missed the point of this article, and instead went on a tirade about how unworthy anyone who would eat at Taco Bell must be.

      This is about truth in advertising. That’s it. Now STFU and GTFO.

  60. mcgyver210 says:

    It has gotten to the point with food advertising it isn’t even going to look close to the pictures anymore & this should be called False & misleading advertising period.

    I for one have decided if it isn’t even in the same universe as what they show I will request my money back on the spot since you pay for most food in advance now days before you can see it.

  61. flyingwolf says:

    Actually, we went to a local Wendy’s after moving from Kentucky to Vancouver Washington and I ordered possibly the worst thing on the menu, the Baconator, it NEVER looks like the menu item and is always greasy and soggy.

    So, I took a picture and asked if I got the right sandwich, I was told yes, they stick to quality control at this store.

    Everytime i want a Wendy’s fix, this is the store I go to now. Even though there is one closer to me I still go the extra 2 miles for the good stuff.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/flyingwolf/Miscellaneous#5506198650895888882

  62. jcota says:

    Those cantina tacos are crap. If you want real authentic tacos visit a taco truck or a mexican restaurant. Where the food is made to order.

  63. adlauren says:

    I just tried those cantina tacos and they taste pretty similar to what I get at the taqueria carts in south Texas. Corn tortilla, spices, meat and veggies..that’s what a traditional taco is. People who say they taste gross are just missing the cheese and sour cream and bacon and whatever else we’ve added to “tacos” over the years.

  64. Ken V says:

    Several comments pointed out that “Hey, fast food never looks good, so we shouldn’t expect it to?”

    I’m going to counter point and say:
    “Hey, Oil Companies spill oil all the time! We shouldn’t be angry when they do nowadays.”
    “Hey, banks pull people out of lines to upsell things all the time! it’s normal to get pulled out and your money held hostage.”

    Just because it’s the ‘norm’ doesn’t make it any more right. If anything, customers expecting utter crap after getting advertised the second coming should be a big warning bell to the local governments that they need to step in.

  65. gargunkle says:

    I find that Arby’s is among the worst when it comes to reality not resembling the ad.

  66. Melbelle says:

    I need to know: Does this taco actually come with the lime wedge?

  67. the_real_keenfrenzy says:

    I saw an ad for some pants that I liked, so I bought them, but when I got them home I realized I was not cool and not on in a rock band like what I saw in the picture.

    I should write a letter to someone.

  68. Offspring22 says:

    I was at a movie not too long ago, and ordered some nachos. The picture shows the tray over flowing with nachos, with cheese, salsa, jalapenos, etc. What I get presented to me is the tray literally not even half full of chips, and a tiny bit of cheese. I asked where the rest of my chips were, and was told that was the allotted amount. I pointed out the discrepancy between the picture, and what I received, and was offered a bag off popcorn as compensation. I begrudgingly accepted, and will be avoiding the nacho tray in the future. Amount of food represented to what is produced is a big issue as well – especially when spending $9 on a tray of nachos!

  69. ginnel says:

    Why should fast food be any different than frozen TV dinners? It should be a criminal offense to be able to show such deceptive photos.

  70. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I voted for must at least be recognizable. I know all about the fake food / lard ice cream / plastic lettuce / glisten spray they use in ads. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. But my food should look like what I ordered, not like something completely different.

  71. mike6545 says:

    Okay…they don’t look THAT bad like shown on the pic. I actualy got nice ones the other day of which i could have taken a pic and fiddled with minor photo adjustments to make it look pretty much like the menu picture.

  72. Intheknow says:

    I think Taco Bell is trying to move in on Taco Cabana. Good try, but no pinata!

  73. jiubreyn says:

    Why goto Taco Bell when there is Taco Cabana? They’re like a step up from Taco Bell in terms of food quality — still fast food though.

    ….or are these only in Texas like HEB’s?

  74. chbrules says:

    Hurray for settling for mediocrity. Why demand more from companies when you can simply accept less? That’s the American way!

  75. chbrules says:

    Hurray for settling for mediocrity. Why demand more from companies when you can simply accept less? That’s the American way!