Remembering the great product bombs of the past

Restaurant Rewind: With Starbucks promising yet another breakthrough menu introduction, the time is right to see how past promised game-changers actually fared.

Starbucks has turned the dial on its hoopla machine all the way to 11 for the introduction of its new olive oil-infused beverages, a line the coffee giant is touting as The Next Big Thing.

If the situation feels like a rerun, you may be recalling the blare of trumpets that similarly heralded such past up-enders as Evolution Fresh juices, La Boulange baked goods, or even Starbucks-brand music stores. 

To be fair, there’s no reason to doubt the new drinks will prove more of a Pumpkin Spice Latte than a Dolce Misto or the Unicorn Latte. And the home of the green apron is far from the only restaurant chain to hype a new menu item or product line as a disruptor, only to generate more fizzle than sizzle. Remember, Taco Bell once tried a diet line.

Join me on this week’s edition of our Restaurant Rewind podcast for a look back at some of the products that failed to live up to their hyped potential. You’ll find this and every episode of the retro-focused program wherever you usually get your podcasts.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


How Popeyes changed the chicken business

How did a once-struggling, regional bone-in chicken chain overtake KFC, the formerly dominant player in the U.S. market? With a fixation on sandwiches and many more new restaurants.


Get ready for a summertime value war

The Bottom Line: With more customers opting to eat at home, rather than at restaurants, more fast-food chains will start pushing value this summer.


Inside Chili's quest to craft a value-priced burger that could take on McDonald's

Behind the Menu: How the casual-dining chain smashes expectations with a winning combination of familiarity and price with its new Big Smasher burger.


More from our partners