Takeaway Truth: Red Rooster's Stacked Power Pack

Takeaway Truth is a new occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Red Rooster's Stacked Power Pack.

Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we've decided to document the reality of fast food — it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

As their name implies, the Red Rooster Stacked Pack range crams a generous allotment of food into one oversized box. In addition to providing a more substantial feast, this also saves the customer up to 30 per cent on the standard price of each item, according to Red Rooster's marketing.

The Stacked 'Power' Pack comes with a quarter roast chicken, one crispy strip, one regular mash & gravy, a regular hot chips and a 390ml soft drink for $9.95. Other packs in the range include the Tropicana Pack (quarter roast chicken, two pineapple fritters, 390ml drink and hot chips), All-In Pack (Classic Crispy Burger, one crispy strip, three cheesy nuggets, 390ml drink and hot chips.) and Legends Pack (Classic Crispy Burger, two crispy strips, 390ml drink and hot chips).

This is how the Stacked Power Pack looks on the Red Rooster website:

And here's what we got served:

Apart from the completely different box design, we think this is a reasonably accurate representation of what you get served. Sure, the food isn't overflowing out of the box and the chips aren't as numerous or golden, but overall this is one of the more honest marketing images that we've seen in the series thus far — it certainly beats the likes of Subway's Three Pepper Chicken, anyway.

    Truth Rating: 8/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Seriously? Again with this?
    Why are you so fixated on this idea of bringing the "truth" to people; when all you are looking at is how close it is to the picture? Nothing about quality of ingredients, sodium content, presence of rat droppings etc.
    I'm just going to quote myself from last week a out a human being made this food; not a graphic designer
    And maybe if you are so fixated on taking pictures of your food and judging what it looks like; then you should have no problem when We judge Your handiwork.

    I've worked at subway, KFC and other fast food places while at university; and nobody is dumb enough to think that the hand crafted, hour long creation that is on the picture will be identical to the one they are served. You would be kidding yourself if you thought that they should be.
    You would have watched videos of the process of how extensive food photography is; as a professional journalist; and you would have seen how they use the same exact ingredients as in the store, and they take hours to prepare the meal that eventually gets shot.
    Now, when you pay your $9 (or whatever) for your meal, you are not paying for someone to painstakingly craft it in an hour; you want to eat it in the next 3 minutes.
    The people serving you are human, and your expectation that if One Single Store produces a product that is not identical to the picture; then not only are you kidding yourself; but in a legal definition; you would be considered "not a reasonable person" under consumer law if you tried to complain that your food was not what was promised.
    If you were served food that was dirty, missing pieces, incomplete or different to what you orders; to an extent that a reasonable person would consider; then there would be a problem.
    But as far I can tell, you are just being picky for no reason.

      So your implying that if I go into Red Rooster and look at a picture, then order that, they have the right to just serve me any old crap they want?

      I don't think these articles are focused so much on the quality of food but more the misleading nature of the advertising. As far as I'm concerned ALL companies should be held accountable for what they advertise.

      If you can't provide it, don't advertise that you can, it's pretty simple.

      Well I like em. And he's doing a good job of getting the pic to look more like the advertising pic. I think he's improved.

      And when I go to fast food, I'm often making my decision by the picture on the wall. These articles replicate that experience perfectly. See picture, order, see food, disappointment.

      I don't think it's about the quality of the ingredients. It's about whether what you receive looks like what you ordered. I really like these articles.

      We have heard what you have to say- it is now time to cease and desist. The rest of us enjoy this column, and do not enjoy your repetition.

      So... You're saying graphic designers aren't people, then?

    Really can't see how this looks significantly better than the 5/10 rated Subway.

    There seems to be no consistency in your scoring.

    This to me looks around the same level of difference as the sub last week. The only items that appears remotely similar to the marketing material is the chicken strip.

    Could it be that your scores are being clouded by overall experience within the stores as well?

    If the Sub was a 5 this should be a 5-6 max.

    It still looks better than that subway but don't think it's deserving of 8/10. Should be less

    So are you feeding this back to the restaurants in question? If so, what was the response?

    If not, how exactly is this "keeping them honest"?

    I love these articles. Good bit of fun.

    Always come along when I'm thinking about fast food... and saving me a fortune :)

    I don't care about the look of the product picture, But I sure care about the final look and taste of the food.
    Red Rooster tastes like cardboard, and tastes like processed. I have had meals from a petrol station that taste way better than Red Rooster.
    A charcoal chicken shop is the way to go for chicken.
    Once a year, I am fair and try Red rooster, just "in case" they fixed it up, 4 years now, no improvements.

    As a feature, Takeaway Truth is improving. Still could use some work (as always, the effect of lighting and background colours are pretty obvious here) but it's good to see an attempt at drawing more direct comparisons between the two meals, e.g. taking the shot from a similar angle this time, and having a white background.

    I like these, althouhg i think you;re way to leniant with your ratings

    When I saw the pic of the real meal I burst into laughter. The pic is MASSIVELY different to the marketing image. Worlds apart. Then I read ", we think this is a reasonably accurate representation of what you get served" and I'm stunned.

    I suppose "reasonable" is entirely subjective. Sure, in both pics you get chips and chicken in a box. In one box the food is overflowing, plentiful and luscious looking. In the other pic the box of food is sad, wet and adequate at best. Mash isn't presented in the same way and looks to have less quantity in reality. Chips are pale. Chicken looks soggy.

    But if we were to be objective then the marketing and reality pics are completely different.

    A great topic for an article but I suppose it would be better to more clearly state the intent of the article.

    As ever, badly lit looks worse than properly lit. Who knew?

    These Takeaway Truth articles are a fun little diversion.

    I know it's not the point, but I'd be really interested to see what a studio photographer could do with the same box of food you were served. I suspect if arranged and lit well, you'd get a pretty close match with some meals and not so good with others. This one would probably turn out pretty close.

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