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The Jack in the Box Rant

The Change

I resist change as much as I can. I am rather set in my ways and enjoy it when I know “what is to come.” I also know exactly what I want, most of the time. Unfortunately, my favorite “Fast Food” restaurant has now changed a product that I have enjoyed for over 15 years. Let me explain.

The Problem

Since I am VERY picky concerning what I eat, I have loads of problems when I go to a restaurant. The problem stems from the fact that I do not like what “most” other people do… I tend to call it “Rabbit Food,” but others prefer a much kinder term of “veggies.” I do not eat any lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions, or any condiments besides mayonnaise.

The Reasons

Even though fast food is not at the top of my list of favorites, I like pasta more, I do like going into a place and ordering something without having them change their normal process and make a “special” burger “just for me.” Some
fast food places invite people that like to “order it your own way.” I think of it as a hassle that is not needed. Trust me when I say that about 50% of the time, I get something “other” than what I ordered. Not a totally different burger, but “plain” is often interpreted as “everything” for some reason. It is also a super pain in the butt to “send it back” and have to wait longer to get my order correct. After all, this is “Fast Food.”

Some would think of the act of ordering a cheeseburger “plain” as un-American, but I have never liked the taste of veggies, nor like mustard and ketchup on anything. The “if it’s not all over the place, it does not deserve to be in your face” ad campaign is rather disgusting. But, that is not the reason of this Rant.

Another BIG problem I have comes about with the cost of the burgers in question. If I head to Burger King, I order a Double Whopper with cheese, plain. They do not take money off of the cost to compensate for not putting the Rabbit Food on. On the other hand, they do charge “extra” if I order an additional slice of cheese or maybe “heavy Mayo.” I understand that since I am going against the “normal operating procedures” that they do not change the price because they have to make the burger “special” for me, but I also understand that if they offered a “plain” cheeseburger at a lesser charge, they might lose money… Why? Well, you can always add ketchup and mustard with the little plastic packets at every fast food restaurant, but it annoys the hell out of me to “scrape it off” with one of my poor fries. Take note: some places, to be unnamed, even charge extra for condiment packets or even a little container of Ranch, if you do not order “something” that normally would come with dressing; as in a 100% Rabbit Food salad. I also understand, to put out the flames before they flare up, that potatoes are a veggie of sorts. After deep-frying potato strings in lard, they lose all nutritional value and most of the veggie taste. Believe me when I say that you will rarely (if ever) catch me eating a baked potato.

So What Did Jack Offer?

As I said before, I have been going to Jack in the Box for around 15 years for their Ultimate Cheese Burger. With stats like this, I welcomed Jack as a place to go when I did not want to fight the restaurant with getting my order correct:

  • Two beef patties
  • Three kinds of cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bun

At one time, it also came in this really cool foil wrapper. Anymore, it just is wrapped in plain paper… how sad. But, that is also not the reason of this Rant.

Three, yes, three slices of cheese. Some burger places, if you order “extra” or “heavy” cheese, they put only one more on, for a total of two and charge $.20 to $.50 for the privilege. You would also only find Mayo on this
burger. A perfect choice of condiments for me.

A while back, Jack added Cheesecake to the menu. At that point, it was the first time I ever tried Cheesecake. I loved it.

Next, Jack decided to include deep fried cheese sticks. I had already enjoyed them for sometime before Jack offered them. Now, I can get my Ultimate Cheeseburger, Cheesecake, and Cheesesticks at one spot. Gotta love that.

When I thought it could not get any better, it did. One time, after ordering a Ultimate, the cashier at the drive-thru asked if I would “like bacon on that.” I paused and said “Uh, yeah!” More meat? More fat and grease on my favorite food? You bet! It was outstanding. Since then, it became part of the “permanent” menu at Jack in the Box.

My normal order is “A number seven Jumbo with a Coke, five piece cheesesticks and two cheesecake slices.” This order has ballooned in cost and volume since the first time I ordered “just an Ultimate Cheeseburger and a Coke” way back in 1987.

So What Did Jack Do?

A month ago, I ordered my usual and after a few bites, I got a massive taste of mustard. I thought, at the time, that they just screwed up and put it on. It never occurred to me that this could be the “new norm.”

The next time I wandered in the door, it was at a different location in the area. I ordered my usual just to find the same “mistake” happened.

The last time I went there I asked the cashier what has happened. She told me that a survey was conducted and “encouraging results” were offered to add the new sauces to the Ultimate, Sourdough Jack and many other ones. I was appalled. It was not a mistake. This was intentional. After so many “good” changes to what Jack in the Box offered, now they ruined my burger with added crap.

After being ripped straight off of Jack in the Box’s web site, the “new” ingredients of my coveted Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger are located here as follows:

  • Jumbo bun
  • Mayo onion sauce & ketchup
  • Bacon slices
  • American cheese
  • Swiss style cheese
  • Mustard
  • Jumbo patties

Where do I begin? Instead of three slices of cheese, it went down to two? Next, they added ketchup and mustard, of which I cannot stand, and a “mayo onion sauce.” What gives? Only thing missing is the damn lettuce and tomato and it is “just like every other burger on the planet!”

Since then, I called Jack in the Box corporate headquarters and complained. They also echoed what the cashier stated. A survey was conducted and it contained favorable results to make this change. Ugh.

Was This A Spur of the Moment Change?

From the looks of it, no. Here is the press release talking about creating “the best burger ever” and what changes have happened to 13 burgers and sandwiches. This change is the result of “nearly two years of research, development and testing.” If it took two years to totally screw up my burger, I am scared at the thought of what would have happened if they took more time.

Jack in the Box Press Release dated August 2, 2002:

Update December 16, 2008: Link removed as JitB does not keep press releases back to 2002 anymore.

Putting out the Flames

I know that this is a pathetic excuse for a Rant, but it really turns my crank. Why change a good thing? This also has no global implications and is rather pointless, but it still makes me mad.

If I have to go there and order my Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger “plain,” I may as well travel to any other burger joint and take my chances at actually getting “what I ordered.”

If this also makes you angry, please, oh please, call up Jack and tell him what you think! I would also enjoy nothing more than you shooting me off an E-Mail telling me your opinion on “why” they changed the Ultimate or why they should go back to the “way it was.” Maybe you liked the Sourdough Jack the old way? Are you mad that some of the menu items changed to include this new “mayo onion sauce?” Would it be possible for me to print out your E-Mail and mail it off to Jack? At any rate, if you do not like this change, please call or write Jack at the following contact information:

Jack’s customer support hotline (toll free in USA):

Mailing address/Corporate Headquarters
Jack in the Box Inc.
9330 Balboa Ave.
San Diego, CA
(858) 571-2121

Thank you kindly for your support in this matter.

Black Viper
September 6, 2002

“Jack in the Box” and “Sourdough Jack” are registered trademarks of Jack in the Box Inc.

All other trademarks mentioned are property of their respective owners.

Revision History

September 6, 2002: Initial release.

Posted in Articles, The Rant

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