Aside from receiving pressure from health advocates and fast-casual competitors, the traditional fast-food industry is engaging in two separate arms races: one based around value, the other around shock value -- enticing gimmicks designed to renew interest in the brands. This is a good thing. Competition breeds excellence, after all.
Every fast-food chain is reinventing and rebranding its value menus to up the ante in the high-stakes Hold 'Em, and each fast-food restaurant is pushing its chips to the center of the table. Fact is, the shit is getting real... Burger King and Wendy's are offering meals for $4. Carl's Jr. has one where a double cheeseburger comes with a side of chicken sandwich. Even Pizza Hut's getting in on this game. At Jack in the Box, two tacos are considered a "side item."