Burger chain adds bugs to the menu...on purpose

Typically bugs in fast food are cause for concern—and often an angry social media post. But one burger chain will soon be adding them on purpose.

On July 1, Wayback Burgers will debut an Oreo mud pie cricket protein milkshake made with Peruvian chocolate-flavored cricket powder as part of a limited-time offering of two protein-packed shakes.

Wayback Burgers' Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake, left, and Jerky Milkshake.
Wayback Burgers
Wayback Burgers' Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake, left, and Jerky Milkshake.

The fast casual burger chain is also launching a jerky milkshake with barbeque, maple syrup and hickory spice flavors that comes with one or two Slim Jim sticks—depending on the size of the milkshake.

Wayback's bug-infused shake originally began as an April's Fool's joke this year to generate buzz. But the response was so positive when Wayback tested the item briefly on Long Island that the chain decided to actually add it to the menu for a limited time.

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"We had it for two hours. There were people lined up to try it," said John Eucalitto, president at Wayback Burgers, in an interview.

The current concoction is the result of testing about 20 to 30 different variations with five different flavors of cricket powder. In recent years, crickets have generated buzz as a high-protein alternative to animal sources, which create a larger carbon footprint than their insect alternatives.

The powder itself is not strong tasting, says Eucalitto, adding he thinks the shake tastes "great."

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Customers can also choose to add the protein powder to another shake if they are not in an Oreo mood.

While the shakes are available from the beginning of July to the end of September, they could become a permanent menu item at the chain, which has more than 100 locations domestically and internationally in Argentina.

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The biggest challenge of adding the insect to the menu? That would be battling consumer perception, Eucalitto says.

"People think maybe we're grinding up crickets in the back room," he said, adding in fact the insects are all farm raised domestically.