Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe: Baconator Part II?By Todd • Dec 8th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog
In September, I trashed the Baconator. But Wendy’s CEO promised a new and improved “premium bacon cheeseburger,” coming soon. By October, rumblings were heard about a better bun and applewood-smoked bacon. Even Wendy’s employees were leaving comments on this site, swearing that the new cheeseburger would be worth a return visit.
That visit came last week, when I brought home Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe Double. Here’s how it looked in a promotional photo from October:
Here’s mine right out of the bag:
A peek under the bun revealed bacon that actually looked like bacon: 4 surprisingly-meaty strips.
My first-bite impression? The new bacon was a HUGE upgrade from the limp microwaveable stuff they’d been using. But it was quickly followed by a rush of something else. Onions. Lots and lots of that raw onion tang… in every bite. I popped the hood for a look.
I counted 6 full-ring slices. Wendy’s says they use 4. I like onions, mind you, but this simply overpowered everything else on the burger. I picked them off and proceeded. A vast improvement.
But as I studied my half-eaten Bacon Deluxe, I noticed something. Or rather, the lack of something. It took me a minute to figure it out. Then it hit me: Who moved my cheese?
It was there when I started. But now, this cheeseburger simply wasn’t very cheesy. So I did some research, and I got a shock. Check this out. On the left is the Bacon Deluxe as it appeared in its October pre-release pic. On the right, the burger as it appears today on the Wendy’s website:
Look at the ketchup and mayo blobs. Notice the curls of the lettuce. The coloration of the bacon. The contours of the bun and the placement of the flecks of corn meal on top. It’s clearly the same burger in both photos. Except that on the burger on the right, they airbrushed out the top slice of cheese!!! Sometime between the hype-building campaign and the actual rollout of the burger, someone at Wendy’s decided, “It’s waaay too cheesy; we’d better scrap half the cheese!”
I felt snookered. Sure, they got me amped up about applewood-smoked bacon, but then they took away cheese?!? What, 2 slices makes it too much like the crappy Baconator? A quick search through the nutritional breakdowns shows that they’re already using the new bacon on the Baconator anyway. So why do you even need this piece of crap anymore???
I applaud the new-bacon initiative. It’s tasty stuff and dramatically improves the burgers you use it on. But why the bait-and-switch with 2 slices of cheese before you could buy it and only one slice when it’s really for sale? And why have 7 half-assed versions of a bacon cheeseburger on your menu? Why not just do 1 really well?
Granted, the Bacon Deluxe was my first burger after a string of phenomenal burgers from Ann’s, the Vortex, and Twisted Root. So it was bound to suffer somewhat by comparison. But it suffered even more from an onion overload, cheese chintziness, and some Photoshop shenanigans that left a bad taste in my mouth.
I tried the Baconator and hated it, and Wendy’s told me, “Just wait ’til the Bacon Deluxe comes out.” Now I’ve tried the Bacon Deluxe, and I can’t help but think the “new” Baconator might be better. It’s all more confusing than grabbing a cheeseburger should be. I think I’ll just steer clear of Wendy’s, period. I know plenty of other places to get my fix that don’t need fixing.