Takeaway Truth: KFC's The Mighty Burger

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: KFC's The Mighty burger.

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.

The Mighty is being billed as KFC's biggest and juiciest burger yet. It consists of an extra-large Zinger "thigh and drum" fillet, a rasher of bacon, lettuce, red onion, BBQ sauce, cheese, mayo and lettuce on an extra-large bun. Like the infamous "Double" burger, KFC is marketing the Mighty primarily at male customers, as the below advertisement attests:

The Mighty packs in 2989kJ of energy, 33.6g of fat and 2401mg of sodium making it one of KFC's most indulgent menu items. So how does the real thing compare to the marketing?

Here's what KFC's The Mighty looks like in the advertising image:

And here's what we actually got served at a Town Hall NSW restaurant:

Here's a side-by-side comparison:

Now, if we wanted to be obstinate and bloody-minded, the KFC Mighty burger would score a big fat zero based on size difference alone. But it's fair to say that no reasonable person would expect their burger to be several times larger than their head. (Hell, in one image it even dwarfs Sydney's entire coastline -- this is obviously inaccurate, but we wouldn't call it deliberately misleading.)

That said, there's clearly an implication that this is a colossal burger -- perhaps the biggest you'll ever wrap your hands around. In reality, it's not that much bigger than a Big Mac or Zinger.

Most similar-priced pub burgers would easily match it in a weigh-off. In other words, the poster is still fibbing even if you don't take the burger's scale literally.

When it comes to ingredient similarity, the Mighty isn't the worst KFC example we've seen -- compared to the Parmy Stacker Burger and Nacho Box this thing is practically a doppleganger. (Mind you, the Parmy Stacker Burger makes chalk and cheese look like dopplegangers so that really isn't saying much.)

One glaring difference is the positioning of the cheese, onion and lettuce. Instead of being nestled on top, they were buried under the chicken and bacon on the bottom bun, which made for extra-greasy salad. This is swiftly becoming one of Takeway Truth's pet peeves. Seriously, how hard is it to remember the order of ingredients layers? It seems that hardly any fast food workers are capable of this feat.

Our other main gripe concerns the size ratio of the buns compared to the fillings. In the poster, the bun can barely contain all that lettuce, onion and meat while in reality you can barely see any of it. In other words, you're either getting smaller chicken or bigger bread buns -- either way, it's deceptive marketing.

Incidentally, if you're curious to find out how the KFC Mighty tastes, I would strongly recommend against it. The thigh and drumstick fillet is about as appetising as it sounds (also, how do they mix multiple chicken parts into a single fillet? The meat isn't minced. It's not really something I want to think about.)

Like KFC's ill-fated boneless range, the meat is a revoltingly off-colour medley of pink and brown instead of the usual succulent white. Here's what you're confronted with after taking a bite:

I can also confirm that the burger is distinctly ungentle on the way out -- shortly after eating this meal I found myself trapped on a train without any toilets. I came this close to causing a bio-hazard that would have shut down the entire train network. Best avoided.

Truth rating: 5/10

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


    I love these stories. It really is quite impressive seeing the advertised product next to the actual product and normally forces me into uncontrollable giggling. Good job on this story as usual LH.

    Jesus Christ that chicken looks raw as hell. I would have got a refund. Salmonella in a burger right there.

      It's not that the chicken is raw, it is that the chicken is thigh/drumstick meat but you are used to looking at breast meat (especially in advertised products).
      EDIT: Well maybe a little raw, but this colour isn't uncommon for cooked drumstick meat.

      Last edited 28/03/14 1:50 am

        This is why Americans talk about the white meat and the dark meat when it comes to chicken. I don't know why this isn't as well known in Australia.

        I mean, people eat chicken, but do they look at the chicken?

        It's hard to tell from that photo though. I'd be happy to say that it might be a bit raw but I'd want to see it in real life. That photo has some significant colour balance issues (which is of course going to be the case for any photo taken on the fly or with a camera phone).

        Last edited 28/03/14 9:56 am

          Store bought chicken is often artificially coloured white. So we assume all chickens white.

    As an ex-KFC employee (over a decade ago), we were always trained that the chicken has to go on top of the salad in a burger. This was straight-from-kfc-HQ training. So rather than say that the employees can't make a burger properly, you should instead attack the advertisers for flipping the ingredients around.
    (I think the mayo-salad-chicken order has to do with making sure extra salad doesn't get spilled if trying to balance it on a chicken fillet, but that's just speculation.)

      I can confirm that as well. HQ changed the order that we had to put the ingredients on to lessen food waste and customer complaints about lettuce falling out of the burgers. They just didn't change the advertising because it didn't look as good, so it caused more customer complaints because the burger they get doesn't look like the one in the picture. It did make the actual production of the burger a little easier though.

    You criticised its appearance, construction and taste, and yet it manages a 5? Impressive.

      Well, it IS still chicken, and it does still have that KFC skin, which I would cheerfully eat on its own as a complete meal.

    I could have done with this review yesterday. My dinner last night was dissapointing

    Bought one the other day. I would rate a dog-turd in a bread roll 2. The KFC burger rates a 1.

    Wow, was wanting one till I read down to what it actually is. That thing fits on your hand. Easily. That's not even big? Or do you have large hands...

    As a society, could we please stop putting Red onion on things?

      Nothing wrong with a bit of red onion...

      But, I do mean a bit. Not a handful, not a dump-truck full, not 'make you have ghastly onion breath for the next fortnight', just a bit

      Its the same as garlic. Made the mistake of getting some garlic bread the other day, lets just say my suburb would have become a vampire-free zone after that.

      Wrong! False! No way!
      Red onion is the best kind. Any meal I make at home that calls for onion, I substitute with red onion. It is DELICIOUS

    Yep. Had one last night after the Taco Burger finished up.

    Horrid. Absolutely horrid. 5 minutes after finishing it I almost threw up. Only reason I got it down in the first place was I hadn't eaten for 10 hours and was craving.

    Never again. Bring back the Taco burger - that was awesome.

    Perhaps a bit lenient on this one Chris? I mean, realistically, that's potentially an actual case of food poisoning you're describing there, especially given the provided photo of distinctly PINK chicken meat. So not only is the burger absolutely nothing like what's promised, there's also a possibility that whatever process is used to make/cook/store that weird patty actually renders it unsafe for consumption.

    The part about the burgers being made wrong is wrong, I work at Kfc and have done so for over 2 years, and that's how we make our burgers: lettuce on the bottom. For some reason it is flipped in the pictures all the time.

    Also the chiclen I'm your picture isn't right looking, while it isn't exactly meant to be white, it isn't meant to look like that, which is probably why it didn't come out too good. I had one last night and it tasted and looked fine.

    Whichever kfc you go to must just suck, cause everything yous put up never looks like the product at our store! Just complain if you get something bad and they should fix it up for you, and hopefully improve themselves(ie head office might make them pull their heads in)

      Should maybe point out that he reviews these things for a multi-million-hit blog... but only if he actually wants something to eat for himself, rather than something to warn the punters about.

      I blame the american KFC takeover of the australian stores for all the recent problems.

      I realise that your hands are tied by upper management here, but they are ordering you to make the burgers wrong. Because they advertise them differently to how they are made.

      Either start advertising them the way they will come or be prepared to make them the way they are advertised. I'm pretty sure I'm within my rights to take it back and complain that my Burger is not what was advertised.

    I had one the other day. My KFC must just be staffed/funded/stocked better than Chris', because mine tasted pretty good. Nothing to write home about, but not bad either. Better than your average chicken burger with a pleasing increase in sauce and chicken-skin compared to all the other burgers.

      I'll never figure out how you eat so much crap and stay in the shape you do.

        Laws of thermodynamics & conservation of mass. I burn a lot of energy only sleeping a couple hours a day, working and gaming then working again. Gotta replace it somehow.

        If it's any consolation, I'll probably burn out and die early. :P

          I hope not, your always rational when you say something here.

          You maybe in shape but what's your cholesterol like?

            Pretty great, actually. Textbook ideal levels. But don't worry, I'm getting my come-uppance in the form of either a GI bacteria failure or sudden onset of various dietary intolerances. We'll see what the tests come back as to tell if I can keep eating like a 17yr old or not.

            Last edited 11/01/15 12:27 am

              I could keep eating like a 17yr old but now in my early 30s it's catching up.

    I would have to disagree with the general consensus.

    - The burger was juicy, normally they are so dry
    - I could actually taste the cheese, in regards to the ingredient order
    - The chicken is darker in colour because it is thigh meat, no problem for me
    - The burger temperature was actually hot, normally they are cold

    This burger ticked all the boxes for me. My only question is consistency, as it is consistency that I want from a fast food outlet. So I reserve my judgement until I eat my second one!

    Yeah that chicken is undercooked, it should not look like that, no matter what part of the chicken is used.
    The one i had From KFC warnbro, while did not look like the picture, still looked better then the one you got, my meat was mostly white and a bit gray in some places from the "thigh " parts, chicken patty was thinner, tasted alright too.

    @chrisjager seriously, go to a new store...

    Last edited 27/03/14 8:01 pm

    "a revoltingly off-colour medley of pink and brown"

    I suppose it depends what way you swing?

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