The Loop

Ranking the latest fast food tech innovations on the crazy spectrum


mike curtain photography

As humanity races towards its Jetsons-inspired future on the wings of some Tesla hovercar, so goes fast food, pulling out every conceivable tech trick to stay relevant on the virtual roadside. From robot employees to drones, and every gimmick in between, your impending cardiac arrest has never been more efficient or more fun, so join us as we put on the stretchy pants, swallow our pride (and salted caramel milkshakes), and order up a #6 with a side of relentless—and purposefully ridiculous—innovation.



Crazy Spectrum: Reasonably sane

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Panera, Domino’s. It’s 2017 and every fast food chain has an app now. Get over it. If you actually download and use one of these things, we might need to send Gary Player to your house, but otherwise let’s move on.


A hostess takes a pizza out of a Pizzoma


Crazy Spectrum: Odd but understandable

While pizza vending machines feel like an inherently American invention, they're actually an overseas creation that has washed up on our shores like a beacon of hope (and bubbly cheese). That the revolution has been led by hungry college kids and Florida normalizes this one a bit, but there’s still a long way to go until the Pizza ATM earns a spot on this great country’s Trans-Fat Rushmore.


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Crazy Spectrum: OK, this is getting weird

Japan’s latest Instagram phenomenon? Hamburger Straws, in which you skewer your McDonald's chicken/beef/sausage/other patties with the beverage straw of your choosing for aesthetic- and consumption efficiency-related reasons. Bizarre? Check. Kind of gross? Check. A lo-fi viral firestorm? Time—and the accidental mixture of Big Mac sauce and cherry coke—will tell.



Crazy Spectrum: WTF

Have you ever, after a long night of irresponsibility, done the responsible thing and called a car, only to realize, as you crawled up your front stairwell crestfallen, that the only way to stem the rising tide of self-loathing in the pit of your stomach was to fill it with seasoned beef and queso? Well you’re in luck, because Lyft is here to hold your hair with their new “Taco Mode”, which will add a clutch Taco Bell stop to your homeward (or hookup-bound) itinerary. Is it the apocalypse or rapture? Honestly, we can’t tell the difference anymore.



Crazy Spectrum: Am I the only one seeing this???

Apparently it wasn’t enough to have your own damn name on the bottle, so Coke decided to make one that could take a photo of your high-fructose guzzling face too. It’s like adult onset diabetes pinned to the end of a selfie stick, so what’s not love (besides yourself, of course)?


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Crazy Spectrum: NURSE!

Meet the Gamer's Box 2.0, a fried chicken holster crossed with a video game console, or, as the world’s tech leaders are calling it, the zenith of human innovation. It’s completely insane, totally unnecessary, and absolutely awesome. We are still waiting for word from KFC on whether the controller is grease proof, but don’t let that stop you from digging in.



Crazy Spectrum: $%dnfkpf)r)s+re(e((x{{{!!lkjd!

While the U.S. government uses drones to carry out covert assassinations thousands of miles from the nearest Cheesy Bread, Domino’s uses them to deliver pizza. Welcome to the future, hunger. NOW PREPARE TO DIE.