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Thursday, December 03, 2020

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Students share their opinions on the rise of celebrity fast food meals

<p>A collage, from top left to bottom right, of the Dunkin', McDonald's and Chipotle logos.&nbsp;</p>

A collage, from top left to bottom right, of the Dunkin', McDonald's and Chipotle logos. 

Celebrities are finding new ways to expand their fan bases and reach larger audiences, such as  University of Richmond students, through collaborations with various fast-food chains to show off their favorite meals.

The McDonald’s "Cactus Jack" meal combo, Dunkin' "The Charli" drink and Chipotle "Dobrik" burrito are just a few of the most recent celebrity fast food collaborations.

First-year Ellie Grabow remains impartial concerning celebrity foods but understands the appeal for consumers and businesses, she said.

“[The partnerships] would definitely help generate more business because the food is considered to be new and cool,” Grabow said.

One of the most recent fast-food phenomenons was the Cactus Jack combo meal, which included The Travis Scott (the celebrity rapper's own specialty burger), medium fries with barbecue dipping sauce and a Sprite, sold at McDonald’s locations around the world.

Scott’s burger had been selling out at McDonald’s worldwide since its release, according to Good Morning America, who also said his collaboration is seeing similar success as McDonald’s' last collaboration with Michael Jordan in the early '90s.

The Scott Burger contains a quarter-pound beef patty with onions, pickles, two slices of cheese, shredded lettuce, bacon, ketchup and mustard; the lettuce and bacon differentiate the burger from a regular McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Sophomore Griffin King was fairly underwhelmed by his experience with the Cactus Jack meal, he said.

“To me, the Travis Scott Burger just seemed like they put his name on a regular burger,” King said. “It wasn’t anything special.”

Dunkin's offering 'The Charli' has also become popular on social media because of its namesake, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, who has danced with Dunkin’ cups in her TikToks previous to their collaboration according to a Dunkin' news release.

“Everyone knows that Charli runs on Dunkin’, and now Dunkin’ runs on Charli,” Drayton Martin, vice president of brand stewardship at Dunkin’ said in the news release. “Charli is one of our biggest fans and the feeling is mutual.”

'The Charli' is D’Amelio’s go-to Dunkin' order: a cold-brew coffee with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl.

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YouTuber David Dobrik also collaborated with the fast-food industry in his 2019 partnership with Chipotle according to their press release.

The Dobrik Burrito was the chain’s official National Burrito Day burrito in 2019 and consisted of brown rice, black beans, chicken, mild salsa, two scoops of corn salsa, cheese and a side of guacamole, according to the release.

Sophomore Andrew Moy, a self-proclaimed Chipotle fan, did not have the opportunity to try the Dobrik Burrito but sees the appeal, he said.

These collaborations [between celebrities and fast-food establishments] are a great way for fans to feel closer to their favorite celebrities, and they provide publicity for both the celebrity and the fast-food establishment, Moy said.

The most recent McDonald's collaboration is with Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin.

The J Balvin meal is offered until November 1 and consists of a Big Mac with no pickles, medium fries and an Oreo McFlurry. The McFlurry is also free if ordered on the McDonald’s app, according to the McDonald's website.

Other celebrities such as Kanye West and Michelle Obama have started collaborations with local brands in their areas.

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream in New York City has an annual Kanye West ice cream week based around Yeezy-inspired treats, and Obama has a turkey burger melt named after her at Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C. according to Refinery29.

The collaborations between celebrities and restaurants offer different meal options for customers, enticing not only fans of the celebrity but also the business's everyday customers, helping support both the business and the celebrity.

Contact lifestyle writer Alex Sprouls at alexandra.sprouls@richmond.edu.

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