Living well on a budget, without being truly cheap.

Taco Bell Announces Return of Nacho Fries

By Mike Thayer

Taco Bell Nacho FriesBeginning January 24, Taco Bell is bringing back their Nacho Fries for a limited time.....  Which is probably a good thing because "Nacho Fries" ain't all that.....  They flat out don't live up to all the hype in my humble opinion.

This is the third time Taco Bell has put this item on its menu.  The fries first appeared on the menu in late January 2018 and the company boasted of big sales for the new offering, saying roughly 7,000 Taco Bell restaurants sold more than 53 million Nacho Fries in the first five weeks.  I chalk those numbers up to curiosity for the most part.  The fries were listed on the restaurant's Dollar Menu, but they pulled it soon after that brief unveil.  Hmmmm.....   Taco Bell then put it back on the menu in sort of a McRib fashion in July...... for a limited time and for $1.29, not a buck.  The company didn't boast of the sales numbers in that second release.  

They'll cost you $1.29 this go-around too, as Taco Bell has retooled it's now defunct Dollar Menu, which is now called the Cravings Value Menu, a menu featuring 20-plus items ranging in price from $1 to $5.

Here's my take on these fries: 

Bachelor on the Cheap Food Review: Taco Bell's Nacho Fries

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Get a Toll Pass

By Mike Thayer

Toll RoadsSo you're cruising down the Interstate needing to go somewhere 200 miles away, you're making good time when your progress gets slowed by a stop at a toll booth....  UGH!  Having to stop is a bit of a pain, sometimes there's a line of cars and trucks, more pain....  Stop to get the paper ticket when going on the toll road, stop to take cash out of the wallet to hand over to the attendant when getting off the toll road.....  And then there are the times when you arrive at an automated toll booth, you unknowingly got in the "Exact Change" lane and don't have exact change....   Ooops!  Or then there's the credit card payment processor isn't working in the lane you're in or the person ahead of you doesn't know how to use it right.....  More UGH moments.

Whether you travel on toll roads a lot or just once in awhile, get a toll pass, it's worth it.

Benefits:

  • Most tollway tag enrollment plans are free, there's no account or setup fee.
  • There's no stopping to get that paper ticket, no stopping to pay, just drive right on through.
  • You actually pay less in tolls.  Most tollway/turnpike pass programs offer a discounted toll rate for people that have passes. 
  • Most tollway/turnpike pass programs give you the flexibility of having the toll automatically deducted from your bank account or the option to receive a monthly statement.

Save yourself both time and money by getting a toll pass. 

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Man, That’s Good – Celebrating 30 Years

To kick off its 30th anniversary, Goodcents debuted a new commercial today featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes titled ‘Man, That’s Good’. The inspirational video addresses the sentiment that ‘Good things don’t come easy’. It showcases four individuals working hard to be good at what they do across Kansas City, including Mahomes training in the gym, a teacher with her students, a young baseball player, and a Goodcents employee baking fresh bread and slicing fresh meats.

“2019 is a special year for Goodcents as we celebrate 30 years since we were born and ‘bread’ right here in Kansas City,” said Mike O’Toole, Goodcents Chief Growth and Support Officer. “We couldn’t be more excited to work together with Patrick as he perfectly represents our Kansas City pride and our dedication to hard work and consistency.”

Goodcents was founded by Joe Bisogno in 1989 and has become one of the leading sub sandwich franchises with more than 70 locations across the U.S., with more than 33 locations locally around the Kansas City area.

For more information or to find a Goodcents location near you, visit goodcentssubs.com.


FIREHOUSE SUBS BRINGS THE HEAT WITH NEW SPICY CAJUN CHICKEN SUB

Fhs_cajunchickenTo kick off Firehouse Subs’ 25th anniversary year, the brand debuts its latest result of menu innovation, the Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub. Available now for a limited time in all U.S. and Puerto Rico restaurants*, this sub is a hearty serving of Cajun-seasoned grilled chicken breast with zesty cherry peppers, melted Pepper Jack cheese and house-made Cajun mayo, served steaming hot on Firehouse Subs’ signature toasted sub roll, available in white or wheat.

At $5.55 for a medium Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub**, Firehouse Subs guests can enjoy the brand’s newest menu item at an affordable price that delivers the unmatched quality, portions and flavor they expect and enjoy. Additionally, guests can make their sub a combo with the return of the guest-favorite Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked Farmhouse White Cheddar chips, also available for a limited time.

“The Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub includes bold flavors in a recipe unique to our brand that we are proud to debut during this milestone year for us,” said Firehouse Subs Director of Product Development Jay Miller. “We look forward to unveiling innovative new offerings for our guests this year, starting with this sub packed with Cajun spice and zesty medium heat.”

Want to turn the spice-level of your sub up a notch? Ask a team member at your local Firehouse Subs to help customize your sub by adding more cherry peppers. Additionally, each restaurant offers an assortment of 25+ complimentary hot sauces, ranked on a heat-scale of 1-10, including Captain Sorensen’s® Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, named in honor of the founding brothers’ father, Rob Sorensen, a 43-year retired fire captain.

To find your nearest Firehouse Subs location, to see if the Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub is available via third-party delivery, or to have your sub ready for pickup at the Rapid Rescue To Go station, visit www.firehousesubs.com or download the Firehouse Rewards app. 

*Excludes Firehouse Subs restaurants in Canada, airports and universities.

**Prices in Alaska may differ.


FredHead Feed: 8 Delicious Menu Items That Can Be Ordered as a Lettuce Wrap at Freddy’s

Freddy's Lettuce WrapLettuce, lettuce, lettuce . . . the new thing! Ok, well, not so new, but a great alternative to helping maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Check out all these Freddy’s favorites that can be wrapped in lettuce.

  • Original Double (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Bacon & Cheese Double Steakburger (or make it a triple!)

  • Double Steakburger California Style (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Original Double Patty Melt (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Grilled chicken

    *Add bacon!

  • Crispy Chicken

  • Spicy Chicken

  • Veggie burger

*Oh and did we say “ADD BACON?” Yum!

Eating Keto, Paleo, Whole 30 or low-carb? We can help with that too – order a delicious steakburger or grilled chicken sandwich, ask for it as a lettuce wrap, add bacon and/or cheese (depending on your eating habits of choice), or if you are looking to spice it up a bit add jalapeños and enjoy! Check out a complete list of our nutrition information here.


TACOS WITH A SIDE OF PURPOSE – TACO BELL® UNVEILS NEW 2019 U.S. COMMITMENTS


PIZZA HUT®BEER DELIVERY EXPANDS TO NEARLY 300 RESTAURANTS AHEAD OF SUPER BOWL LIII

New participating states include: Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and additional locations in California and Arizona

Pizza Hut Beer DeliveryPLANO, Tex. – The expansion continues – and isn’t expected to stop – with Pizza Hut adding more restaurants to its category-first beer delivery program. Today, the company announced the second expansion of the program to nearly 300 restaurants across Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and additional locations across California and Arizona by mid-January. The rollout is a brand priority, with Pizza Hut aiming to grow beer delivery capabilities to 1,000 restaurants across new markets by Summer 2019.

The announcement is aptly timed ahead of Super Bowl LIII, one of the busiest days of the year for Pizza Hut. According to a recent survey, 86% of Americans plan to serve both pizza and beer at their upcoming Super Bowl party this year.[1] With this recent expansion, Pizza Hut is serving more customers than ever as a one-stop-shop for both.

“As the official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL, we’ve been celebrating football fans all season long, so it only makes sense for us to bring more customers the beloved combo of pizza and beer ahead of the Super Bowl,” said Marianne Radley, Chief Brand Officer, Pizza Hut. “We are proud to be pioneers of beer delivery and are well-poised to take on more markets in the coming year.”

In December 2017, Pizza Hut launched its beer delivery pilot program in Arizona and expanded to parts of California five months later. Now, in 2019, with strong franchise partner participation, the company is in seven different states with additional markets forthcoming.

“Our expanded beer delivery program and Super Bowl weekend creates a great level of excitement across our participating franchise partners and team members,” said Nicolas Burquier, Chief Customer and Operations Officer, Pizza Hut. “Beer delivery is a game-changing lever that we’ll continue to pull in order to deliver oven-hot pizzas with ice-cold beer to customers watching and celebrating their favorite teams.”

“Super Bowl Sunday is one of our biggest days of the year, and now being able to offer the pizza-beer delivery combo in Orlando, FL during the big game, is a great upgrade our customers will truly enjoy,” said Carl Vannostrand, President and COO of CFL Pizza, a Pizza Hut franchisee organization.

Qualifying orders must meet delivery minimum requirements and be placed through PizzaHut.com, the Pizza Hut Mobile App for iPhone and Android or via phone. Delivery fees apply. For more information about Pizza Hut visit Blog.PizzaHut.com or head to PizzaHut.com to order now.

About Pizza Hut®
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM ), has more restaurant locations in the world than any other pizza company. Founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kan., Pizza Hut operates over 16,800 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

With easy order options including the Pizza Hut app, mobile site, and Amazon and Google devices, Pizza Hut is committed to providing an easy pizza experience – from order to delivery – and has Hut Rewards, the Pizza Hut loyalty program, that offers points for every dollar spent on food any way you order.

Pizza Hut is also the proprietor of The Literacy Project, an initiative designed to enable access, empower teachers and inspire a lifelong love of reading. The program is rooted in the foundation set by the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which is the longest-running corporate supported literacy program, impacting more than 14 million students each year. For more information, visit www.pizzahut.com. Pizza Hut is the Official and Only Pizza Sponsor of the NFL and NCAA®.


Officially Dunkin’: New Look and New Menu Items Provide Energizing Start to 2019

New Dunkin’ brand identity comes to life with bright and bold new in-store packaging

Dunkin’ introduces New Power Breakfast Sandwich and Energy Cold Brew;

Brown Sugar Chipotle Bacon Breakfast Sandwich and Caramel Chocoholic Donut return

DunkinCANTON, MA – The New Year is all about new possibilities and opportunities, and enthusiasm enough to maybe finally keep those resolutions. In the spirit of “new year, new you,” Dunkin’ is presenting an exciting new look to its product packaging, while welcoming both new and returning favorite menu items, to give the brand and its guests an energizing start to 2019.

Officially Dunkin’: New Packaging

Last September, Dunkin’ Donuts revealed plans to put the company on a first-name basis with America, in recognition of its long relationship with fans who have referred to the brand simply as “Dunkin’.” As part of its rebranding efforts, in January Dunkin’ will introduce bright and bold new product packaging that brings to life the energy and excitement of Dunkin’s new brand identity. The colorful cups, donut boxes, MUNCHKINS® donut hole treat boxes, Box O’ Joe®, napkins and more will begin appearing in Dunkin’ restaurants across the country in the coming days, and will be in all U.S. shops by the end of the month.

According to Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ U.S., “Our new look represents both our heritage and our evolution as the brand that fuels optimism and keeps America running with great coffee, donuts and more. What better time than the start of a new year to bring our new look to our coffee cups and packaging, and introduce a new energy to our restaurants and our fans.”

The new branding, developed in partnership with creative and branding agencies Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR), BBDO New York and Arc Worldwide, is part of Dunkin’s multi-faceted blueprint for growth, a plan designed to transform Dunkin’ into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand. Fans can follow Dunkin’s social channels this month for special content celebrating the new look, including fun vignettes showcasing ways people might make their first-name basis relationship with Dunkin’ official, from knitting a Dunkin’ sweater to creating a special handshake to even getting a Dunkin’ hairdo.

New menu items for the New Year

For a powerful start to the New Year, Dunkin’ is adding two new menu items created to give guests living an on-the-go lifestyle new choices for the energy they need to start the morning right and keep running throughout the day:

  • New Power Breakfast Sandwich: Available for a limited time, this new, better-for-you sandwich features a veggie egg white omelet with spinach, peppers and onions, turkey sausage and American cheese on a new multigrain sandwich bread topped with seeds and rolled oats. At 370 calories, the Power Breakfast Sandwich has 20 grams of whole grains, 24 grams of protein, and has no artificial flavors or dyes and no high fructose corn syrup.
  • New Energy Cold Brew: Dunkin’s signature cold brew coffee with a shot of its freshly brewed espresso brings coffee lovers a new source of power in their cup.

More ways to keep running in January

Dunkin’ is also bringing back two favorites introduced in 2018. The Brown Sugar Chipotle Bacon Breakfast Sandwich offers a double portion of caramelized brown sugar chipotle bacon – made with real brown sugar and chipotle seasonings – along with egg and cheese served on a buttery, flaky croissant. Meanwhile, for a treat for donut lovers, the Caramel Chocoholic Donut features a classic chocolate donut frosted with caramel icing, sprinkled with semi-sweet chocolate curls and finished with a drizzle of caramel icing.

Dunkin’ recently launched an entirely new handcrafted espresso experience in its restaurants, with new state-of-the-art espresso equipment for optimal espresso bean extraction and a new recipe for a stronger and more robust flavor profile. For a perfect pick-me-up throughout January, guests can continue to enjoy a medium-sized Dunkin’ latte or cappuccino for $2 from 2 PM to 6 PM at participating locations.


Introducing Big Mac Bacon, Quarter Pounder Bacon and Cheesy Bacon Fries, Because There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Bacon

Editor's Note: I recently wrote about what to look forward to in 2019 from fast food.  Trending, are smokehouse/steakhouse style burgers and sandwiches and the meat of the year is predicted to be brisket.

Consumers are clamoring for something more, creations beyond the ordinary realm of classic burger and sandwich flavors.  People want smokey, they desire more than just ketchup and mustard, folks are calling for cheeses with deeper flavors and buns with a little more tease than run-of-the-mill sesame seeds.  And it's no different when it comes to other meat on bread options, a.k.a., pizza, consumers are looking for more, something beyond the traditional flavors.

McDonald's has upped it's game with their Bacon Smokehouse Burger and now they're kicking their classics up another notch.

 

Mouths Prepare to Water as McDonald’s Classics with Bacon is first Limited Time Offer of 2019

Bacon ClassicsBacon makes everything better, and the only thing better than bacon is McDonald’s adding it to three of its widely-loved Classic menu items. That’s right bacon aficionados, today McDonald’s unveils the Big Mac® Bacon burger, Quarter Pounder®* Bacon burger and Cheesy Bacon Fries for a limited time. Just when you thought your taste buds couldn’t discover more deliciousness, Bacon on Classics will be available for a limited time starting Wednesday, January 30 at participating restaurants nationwide. The new line-up includes:

  • Big Mac Bacon: An exciting twist on the iconic fan-favorite’s 50-year history, three pieces of thick cut Applewood smoked bacon adorn two 100% all beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, Special Sauce and onions on a sesame seed bun. (Big Mac-sized bacon dreams do come true).
  • Quarter Pounder Bacon: Three pieces of thick cut Applewood smoked bacon added to the hot and deliciously juicy fresh beef** burger cooked right when you order. (We’re not kidding)
  • Cheesy Bacon Fries: McDonald’s World Famous Fries® topped with real cheddar cheese sauce and smoked bacon bits.  (You’re welcome).

While trendy condiments and new food pairings are introduced daily, the love of bacon continues to hold strong. In fact, since 2018, this tasty indulgence has been mentioned more than 17,000 times a day across U.S. online platforms (that’s 740 times an hour!)***.

“People love bacon, and they love our iconic Big Mac, fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers and World Famous Fries, so we had to see what would happen if we combined all that tastiness,” said Chef Michael Haracz, McDonald’s Manager of Culinary Innovation. “As a bacon enthusiast myself, I’m proud to say that we’ve done right by bacon fans and I can’t wait for our customers to try these Classics with delicious, thick cut Applewood smoked bacon for themselves.”

McDonald’s has introduced a number of new menu items, including fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers, Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, Triple Breakfast Stacks and café-quality espresso beverages like the McCafé Caramel Macchiato, Cappuccino and Americano. Not even one month into 2019, the addition of bacon to a handful of Classics is our latest step to build a better McDonald’s with more craveable and delicious menu choices than ever before. We can’t wait to show you what’s next.

*Weight before cooking 4oz.

**Available at most restaurants in contiguous US. Not available in Alaska, Hawaii and US Territories.

*** Total volume of mentions on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and forums from Jan. 1, 2018 – Jan. 7, 2019


About McDonald’s USA 
McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.


The New BIG KING XL Sandwich at BURGER KING® Restaurants Outsizes the Competition

Try the Flame-Grilled Difference with a Sandwich that has 175% More Beef Than the Big Mac* and No Third Bun

Big King XLMIAMI-- BURGER KING® restaurants is flame-grilling the competition with a new sandwich that has 175% more beef than the Big Mac. Introducing the BIG KING XL sandwich, featuring more than 1/2 lb** of flame-grilled 100% beef, topped with melted American cheese, sliced onions, zesty pickles, crisp lettuce and our special savory sauce all on a toasted sesame bun.

Available at restaurants nationwide and starting today, the BIG KING XL sandwich will make guests want to swap their bread for beef—literally.

On January 18, guests can bring their expired MacCoins to select BURGER KING® restaurants in Chicago, IL to exchange them for a free BIG KING XL sandwich***. The McDonald’s MacCoins were distributed in 2018 for the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac, but as of December 31st these coins can no longer be redeemed for a Big Mac. Now that the MacCoins have expired, BURGER KING® is giving people one more day to use their MacCoins, but this time for the bigger, flame-grilled option.

The BIG KING XL sandwich is available at select restaurants nationwide for a limited time only with a recommended price of $5.59. The BIG KING XL sandwich is the latest hand crafted premium sandwich to join the King’s Collection. The collection includes flame-grilled, flavorful, handcrafted sandwich offerings such as the Bacon King, Double Quarter King and now the BIG KING XL Sandwich.

*Based on weight of two pre-cooked patties. BIG KING XL patties weigh 8.8 oz. total. McDonald’s Big Mac patties weigh 3.2 oz. total.
**Weight based on pre-cooked patties.
***Valid only on January 18, 2019 at select BURGER KING® restaurants in Chicago, IL. Trade in an original MacCoin for one free BIG KING XL. MacCoin has no cash value. Limit one per guest. Participating Chicago, IL locations: 2328 South Michigan, 2501 West Cermak Road, 2401-2407 West Ogden Avenue, 2344 West Chicago Avenue, 1401 W. Fullerton, 3141 Ashland Avenue, 2701 N. Western Avenue, 151 North Michigan Ave, 1213 N Milwaukee Ave, 2700 South Kedzie Avenue.

About BURGER KING®

Founded in 1954, the BURGER KING® brand is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. The original HOME OF THE WHOPPER®, the BURGER KING® system operates more than 17,000 locations in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. Almost 100 percent of BURGER KING® restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned operations that have been in business for decades. To learn more about the BURGER KING® brand, please visit the BURGER KING® brand website at www.bk.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.