Favorite Fast Foods From Your Own Kitchen

Discussion
Dec 07, 2009
Bernice Hurst

By
Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

Todd
Wilbur has specialized in cloning recipes since the 1980s and claims
to be the first to crack some of the big secrets of our time. He boasts
of founding "the first copycat recipe website on the Internet," and
has sold over 4.3 million of his Top Secret Recipes cookbooks,
according to a report on fdin.org.uk.
Reportedly "the top-selling cookbook author on QVC," Mr. Wilbur has made
appearances on such national television shows as The
Oprah Winfrey Show
, Good
Morning America
, Today and Fox
News
.

His
new collection, titled Top Secret Recipes Unlocked, was due into
bookshops on November 24. In it, Mr. Wilbur tells home cooks how to replicate
signature dishes from Starbucks, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, KFC, Subway,
Mrs. Fields, Boston Market, and Taco Bell, amongst other American restaurants.

Described
as including "a dash of spicy humor, a spoonful of food facts, and
a hearty serving of culinary curiosity," the new book is said to include
no fewer than 115 "new formulas to help you create amazing clones of
the foods you love with ingredients you buy at your local supermarket,
for a fraction of the cost – perfect for these tough economic times."

And
if reading all about it isn’t good enough, demonstrations are available on
a YouTube
video
as well as Mr Wilbur’s very own YouTube
channel
and,
of course, his website – www.topsecretrecipes.com.

Both
the techniques and ingredients needed for reproducing such well-loved
dishes as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Burger King Onion Rings, Panera Bread
French Onion Soup, Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar, Taco Bell Chicken Quesadilla,
Boston Market Sweet Potato Casserole and Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits
can be found in its pages. Now all he needs is an app with a shopping
list to take to the store!

Discussion
Questions: Will consumers be enticed by the opportunity to re-create
their favorite fast food recipes by themselves? Should retailers be promoting
this book and the ingredients needed to cook with it?

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12 Comments on "Favorite Fast Foods From Your Own Kitchen"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Some consumers will be enticed by the opportunity to make restaurant-bought dishes at home; others prefer to eat them in the restaurants; and still others prefer a healthier diet. There are literally millions of recipes. Add these to the list. We are fortunate to have so many choices and so many retailers that make the necessary ingredients available.

Anne Howe
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Frankly, while some may want to recreate fast food faves in their home kitchens, I don’t and won’t. I’d rather re-create a nice recipe from Mitchell’s Seafood or Capital Grille.

But beyond my personal bias, part of the allure of fast food is the clean kitchen, the lack of effort and the get in and get out experience itself. If I have to have BK Onion Rings, I don’t want a greasy smell in the kitchen for two days, nor do I want all that batter and frying mess to deal with later. Getting the taste they want and still having all that extra time back to themselves is truly part of the fast-food experience!

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 5 months ago

It’s always “faster” to get fast food at a fast food chain than in your kitchen. That would seem to curtail the passion to DIY in your personal “fast food” kitchen.

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
11 years 5 months ago

I think that retailers should promote re-creating these new age comfort foods with the ingredients they sell. Use those endcaps as recipe centers with everything customers need to create those quesadillas or special sandwiches with Panera quality breads.

If you want a clue to how successful this can be, look at Aldi. Aldi has their own cookbook and devotees have written others that use Aldi products to create meals.

The trick is to keep the recipes simple. Last night I made buttermilk biscuits courtesy of a Paula Deen recipe. They were good–just not as good as Popeye’s. Sorry, Paula.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t say this is a new thing for grocery customers but they are always looking for new ways to feed the family. Grocers can get on the bandwagon by offering up complete lists of ingredients to make the most popular dishes in those recipe books but this isn’t some new major marketing invention.

One caveat is that most grocers are focusing on healthy living in their merchandising. Do we want to contradict that by teaching our customers how to make Burger King Onion Rings and Popeye’s Biscuits?

Tonia Key
Guest
Tonia Key
11 years 5 months ago

I like the idea of cooking dishes I like at home as long as the ingredients are easy to find or order. I know how to substitute unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones and will play with a recipe to get it to where I want it to be.

I’ve noticed complaints about the fast food restaurant recipes but, if you watch Food Network, like I do, or read some of these cookbooks floating around, you’d see that the majority of the recipes aren’t very healthy. I watched a couple of programs on Foot Network yesterday that repeatedly had me cringing and talking to the TV about all of the unnecessary extra salt, butter, repeated/excessive use of peppers and cayenne in a single dish, etc. And people wonder why they have stomach/health issues.

David Livingston
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

If there was something to this, we would all be doing it. Mom kept telling me her hamburgers were going to taste like McDonald’s. It was easier to believe in Santa Clause at age twelve than to believe those hamburgers were going to resemble McDonald’s in any way.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Recipes for Mrs. Fields cookies and Neiman Marcus popovers have circulated for ages, even before the internet (if anyone can remember that long-ago age). I don’t think the fast food companies need to worry about a trend here. Now, if you could successfully imitate and freeze the product so it’s microwave ready, then you’d have a business!

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

We cannot minimize the impact of the experience when we talk about mimicking a store’s products. If it were this easy, to just pick a recipe out of a book, then McDonald’s wouldn’t have survived.

We don’t all have fryers at home to cook the burgers or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Part of the experience is also seeing the store at work making the food. The greasy brown bags, napkins, and ketchup packets. It all adds to the value. Let alone that the original reason for fast food was so WE didn’t have to do the work. We have less free time on our hands than ever. Consumers are not frequenting fine dining restaurants as much in the current economy, however there will always be a time for a quick, cheap Burger King Whopper!

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

I understand the skepticism. But foodies will jump all over this. Now cough up the recipe for Outback’s Bloomin’ Onion!

Norrelle Goldring
Guest
Norrelle Goldring
11 years 5 months ago

Who is the target market here?

* True foodies aren’t interested in re-creating fast food, wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole.
* Mid level foodies and home cooks are interested in stuff like Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, etc.
* Those who consume the fast food (skews lower socioeconomic in Australia) aren’t interested in spending hours recreating something at home at greater expense than they can get it in 5 minutes at half the price in a QSR outlet due to the economies of scale the QSR chains get.

Good on him for having a go. Add it to the pile of recipes already out there, it might find a niche novelty audience in a market the size of the USA.

It’s not exactly earth shattering, just a good PR job.

Marshall Kay
Guest
Marshall Kay
11 years 5 months ago

I suspect that the segment of people who get drawn to this book will try out a few of the recipes, just to see how they turn out. But the novelty will quickly fade. I don’t think any of these fast food chains have anything to worry about.

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