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Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Dave!Running out of new ways to say FAIL!

After my three previous failed attempts of getting a Streamliner Burger from Johnny Rockets, I played the odds and figured that my luck was bound to change. They can't ALL be out of soy burgers ALL the time? And this is a TUESDAY when they must surely have gotten their supplies in for the week.

So I take a very expensive taxi ride from my hotel to the Southcenter Mall's Johnny Rockets for dinner. I sit at the counter and wait to have my order taken. I order my usual vegetarian-safe Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. Then grit my teeth as I hear my waiter say...

"Hey, are we still out of Boca Burgers?

It was all I could do to stop myself from seriously jumping over the counter and choking the shit out of everybody with a Johnny Rocket's apron on.

But, much to my shock and delight, the answer was "yeah, we got Boca!"


A short while later my burger arrives and I start chowing down on it. But something's not right... it tastes... off. At first I tell myself that the lettuce must be funny and keep eating. But then, as I am half-way through, something falls out of my burger. And it looks like a piece of mushroom. WTF? That's when I pull the bun off and see that it's not brown like a Boca Burger usually is, but kind of a yellowish color. Oh shit.



And have I mentioned that I AM FUCKING ALLERGIC TO MUSHROOMS??!

Even if I could eat mushrooms, the burger was pretty gross. My best guess is that it's a GardenBurger "Savory Mushroom" patty... or something like it.

Fortunately, the amount was not enough to kill me, but it was definitely enough to make my throat swell up and cause me to have some serious gastrointestinal distress for the rest of the evening. So much for going to a movie tonight. FUCKERS!

I just don't get it. I have gone to Johnny Rockets and been denied a Streamliner Burger in San Francisco (twice), Santa Monica, Seattle University Village (twice), Seattle Pike Place Market, Seattle Pacific Place, Miami Aventura Mall, and Kent Station. And now Johnny Rockets Seattle Southcenter tries to kill me with an unannounced mushroom burger substitution. Why the fuck do they even offer a soy burger if the person in charge of inventory can't be bothered to keep it in stock or confirm they received the correct item? Who the fuck puts an item on their menu that you can only successfully order 50% of the time?

Johnny Rockets. The very definition of EPIC FAIL...

Epic Fail in the dictionary: George W. Bush and Johnny Rockets.

What's funny is that the waiter seemed completely unconcerned when I told him about the problem. He credited me the amount of the burger (still making me pay for the fries and a Coke), but that was it. As far as I know, he didn't even bother to follow-up with the kitchen staff to tell them they had the wrong burgers. And, as always, no offer whatsoever of any restitution... no free burger coupon for my next visit... nothing. I didn't even get a "hope you don't die."

The real shame here is that my favorite food on earth is a Johnny Rockets Streamliner Burger with no grilled onions and no mustard. And I'm not joking when I say that I would eat them morning, noon, and night if I could. It would be easy to say "I'm never eating at Johnny Rockets ever again," but I just can't do it. I will continue to eat at their restaurants knowing full-well that I'm setting myself up for disappointment and possible death by doing so.

In the meanwhile, I am waiting for somebody... anybody... to explain to me why it's so impossible to keep a FROZEN item in stock. It's not going to spoil... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's not going to go to waste if you over-order... IT'S FUCKING FROZEN! It's easy to make sure you never run out of something... BECAUSE IT'S FUCKING FROZEN!! DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S FUCKING FROZEN?!? I am flabbergasted beyond all reason as to why this is such a huge problem. It make no sense at all... and yet it's consistently fucked up no matter which Johnny Rockets location I try.

What's beyond EPIC FAIL?!?

Categories: Food 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Brandon says:

    Dude, you need to use your fancy iPhone and start making a call before you head out to these Johnny Rockets to at least save yourself some cab fare. Either that your start traveling with a cooler filed with dry ice and a box of boca burgers.

  2. Dave2 says:

    But, in this case, they would have told me YES, they have Boca Burgers… when, in fact, they did not. I can’t win.

  3. sizzle says:

    I can’t imagine what is after Epic Fail. I hope you don’t have to find out!

  4. margalit says:

    It sounds to me like they’re having a problem with their supplier. Chain restaurants don’t tend to run out of an item in every freaking store unless they have an issue with their supplier. Maybe the thing to do is to call the main office of Johnny Rockets and tell them not only what happened last night, but that you have tried without success to eat their damn fake burger in pretty much every Johnny Rockets in the US and it’s never in stock.

    My guess is that they haven’t reprinted the menus yet because it’s so expensive to redo a menu in a chain restaurant, but they no longer order or offer the soy burger anymore.

    I guess you have to make one at home.

  5. Patty says:

    Sorry about your continued problem with Johnny Rockets!!! That sucks. I think you need to have your own boca’s with all the fixens in your cooler with a handy-dandy George Foreman grill and do it up right. ha.
    Hope your day is better tomorrow.

  6. Bob says:

    You should seriously consider going the ol’American way: threaten to sue them!

  7. Whitenoise says:

    You have, of course, sent letters higher up the Johnny Rockets food chain than the “good, you have a pulse”-local managers? 😉

  8. ~jtm says:

    Dave have you called the corporate offices? It might be worth a shot to let them know how you’ve been treated, especially in light of the recent one where the ingredients could have caused you physical harm.

  9. Unbelievable. And yet you really really won’t stop eating there? They must be somewhat good. We don’t have them here.
    Your tags cracked me up SO bad!

  10. Beth says:

    Been to planet feedback, yet?

    You really should take this higher than the store level. You could get free burgers for life since they almost killed you. That’s worth a corporate notifcation.

  11. Andy says:

    A friend of mine is *really* allergic to all kinds of stuff like eggs and milk. His reaction when people don’t seem to understand the importance of finding out what is in the food is to tell the waiter to “either ask the chef or call an ambulance” (and nowadays they may want to include their lawyer!)
    At that point the waiter normally gets the message.
    I hate it when things come with a nut garnish that wasn’t mentioned on the menu – with so many food allergies today restaurants really should be more clued up about accurately describing their dishes.

  12. vsutherland says:

    why don’t you call corporate and ask????maybe they are fasing them out. I only say this as I work for a large corporate firm with that “says” the members are number 1…but hmmmmmm not so much…

    good luck on your quest for a boca


  13. Avitable says:

    Have you thought about sending a letter to the corporate headquarters? That usually works for places that have good customer relations departments.

  14. jenny says:

    I feel your pain – I used to eat veggie burgers, too, but then they all decided it was a good idea to put sesame in them. I can hardly find one brand that doesn’t – what’s up with that? Let’s start our own mushroom and sesame free veggie burger company!

  15. SJ says:

    Today, I am calling the Del Mar Johnny Rocket’s and verifying THEY still use Boca for Streamliners. SoCal is pretty protective of our vegetarians, so I’d bet they still do it right.

    Will report back.

  16. diane says:

    I’m with everyone else–if you haven’t already, send a letter/call corporate. That is unacceptable. It is one thing to irritate a customer, it is quite another to nearly kill them (and show no concern about it).
    I am allergic to mayo, and believe me, that particular allergy causes a lot of grief when ordering out. It’s not that difficult to just NOT put mayo on something, is it?
    You may continue going there, but it’s highly unlikely that it’s a place I’ll frequent now.

  17. Chag says:

    Dude, they’re trying to kill you! Or at the very least, drive you insane.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  18. ChillyWilly says:

    I think it’s time to pull out the big guns… Corporate Headquarters. I’ve contacted several companies at the top when they have failed me multiple times and have had success almost 100% of the time. It’s worth a shot. I mean, if it was my favorite meal ever, I would do that.

  19. Dar says:

    Presumably you could mail or call the head office to complain and/or find out whats happening?

  20. little_lj says:

    Biblical fail? As in, a fail of biblically-proportioned consequences (plagues, floods, kings killing first-born sons etc.) Although.. a biblical fail could also imply huge success, as it is one of the most widely read books in the world.. Hmmm…

    Regardless, that really sucks :o(

  21. Pattie says:

    I agree with the others who said to write to the corporate offices. The fact that they gave you something you didn’t actually ask for, but also that had an ingredient they didn’t mention that could have killed you would be reason enough for me to stop going there and tell the big head cheese about the incident.
    I have a friend with a SERIOUS food allergy, she was rushed out of a restaurant by an ambulance because they failed to mention this ingredient on the menu.
    As Boca burgers are readily available at the grocery store I’m certain you can recreate what Johnny Rockets serves (and do it better) at home. I have a box in my freezer right now!

  22. Finn says:

    You must, must, must write to these people and tell them what’s going on. Then tell them they almost killed you… that should get their attention.

    I’m glad you didn’t die, btw. 😉

  23. yvette says:

    Dave’s next big project after the poker cards — Davetionary! may i pre-order a copy?

  24. jewelz916 says:

    Boy, have you pissed of karma recently or what???
    Seriously, that was a HUGE fuck-up on the part of Johnny Rockets…I would definitely get in touch with corporate headquarters…they should be able to explain a)the reason the Boca Veggie Burger seems to be unattainable, b)why they substituted a mushroom/grain burger for a SOY burger, and c)offer you ga-jillions of dollars for their obvious fuck-up…or at least free burgers for a year.

  25. Bec says:

    They gave you a burger which had an ingredient in it that could have killed you? Oh yeah, sue. This is a suing situation. this is why lawyers exist. Go for your giggles. It’s time to get the money togather to take over the world. Let’s go.

  26. david says:

    What’s beyond epic failure? Sounds like Johhny Rocket. That is the verb for total failure. “He
    didn’t make the team, he johnny rocket his ty out!”

  27. Michelle says:

    Maybe the CEO is secretly against vegetarianism and only offers those items in order to appear ‘people friendly’? Then he sabotages your lunch outings every-which-way he can. Evil b……Ok, that’s far-fetched but hey, i’m all out of explanations!

  28. Hilly Sue says:

    Holy crap, this is inexcusable. They could have KILLED you! Duh, you already know that but I just wanted to say it again.

    I’m with the others who say to complain to corporate headquarters in some fashion. Do it!

  29. Suzy says:

    I used to work in restos when I first moved to NY. They only used to order things that “moved well.” Depending on the amount they sell, that is how many more they order. Try working in a place where the fish is flash frozen and the chef routinely substitutes one for the other because “people can’t tell the difference and they do taste alike.” I got caught about once in every 5 fishes. People can tell. Well, some people can tell.

  30. SeaSlug says:

    It’s a supply and demand issue. A shortage of Gardenburgers has increased the demand for Boca Burgers, thereby causing a shortage of those also.

    This was in the news about a week ago.

  31. SeaSlug says:

    It’s a supply and demand issue. A shortage of Gardenburgers has increased the demand for Boca Burgers, thereby causing a shortage of those also.

    This was in the news about a week ago.

  32. Wow, you really must love that place to keep going back after all the disappointments. I would have bailed long before now.

    I’d certainly write a letter of complaint documenting all the ways they’ve contributed to Epic Fail status though.

  33. SunSpotBaby says:

    Here ya go:
    Customer Service: 1-888-8-JOHNNY.

    To contact us by mail, please write to:

    The Johnny Rockets Group, Inc.
    25550 Commercentre Drive,
    Suite 200
    Lake Forest, CA 92630

  34. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness. I’m glad you’re okay and there wasn’t more serious damage done by the mushrooms.

    I agree with pretty much everyone else, you should write a letter letting them know what happened because it’s not that hard to keep frozen burgers.

  35. Foo says:

    Maybe they never recovered from their peta/free streamliner veggie week event back in May. Sorry to hear that you are continually being denied your Boca goodness.

  36. Kris says:

    Well I’m glad you didn’t die. My world would be MonkeyDave2-less. And that would be a sad, sad world indeed.

    Besides, whose blog would I go to in order to read the latest on LPS beheadings?

  37. Jodi says:

    i think it’s time to write a letter.

  38. Benjamin says:

    Dave, bro. You gotta write to the Consumerist or something. Bring this epoch problemo up with JR’s Corporate office or something. I always have boca burgers in my freezer they’re delish, and healthful and awesome.

  39. undisciplined says:

    Epoch fail!

  40. Tug says:

    I’d put an e-mail into also – they help get pretty awesome results!

    Good luck – the allergy thing isn’t something to mess with.

  41. Daisy says:

    I guess it’s time to stock up your home freezer with Boca Burgers and the fixins. Sigh. Life’s wicked sometimes.

  42. kapgar says:

    Is that going to be your latest addition to the Artificial Duck Store? A Daveified New World Dictionary?? Sign me up!!

  43. yellojkt says:

    Nothing’s worse than whiney vegetarians. Eat a salad or kill a cow like a real man.

    Seriously, the mushroom patty was scary. You could have been this guy. Killed by an Ruby Tuesday Chicken Oscar. What a way to go.

  44. David- I would talk to the mgr. and tell them they could have seriously killed you for substituting w/o asking first. Also, I would go to your “regular” Johnny Rocket’s and talk to that mgr. asking him to keep the Boca Burgers in stock because they will have a regular customer if they do. And last but not least (I’m just full of answers, not to mention all the other things I’m full of :)but you should pick up some Boca Burgers yourself and recreate them at home if you love them that much. That way you dont’ set yourself up for disapointment and on the contrary, make your own happiness!

  45. IRV says:

    Hey Dave, I don’t quite get what you love about this restaurant. I ate at one only once, in Shirlington VA, before a performance at Signature Theatre, and had the worst lunch ever. I swore I’d never try another one no matter what. With all your negative experiences of late, I can’t understand why you put yourself through it again and again. And don’t even get me started on the fucking singing every 10 mins, I mean WTF is that for?

  46. Mik says:

    That sucks, you ought to send head office a link to this post and point out your millions of readers who may no longer eat at their establishments.

    Good job my wife hasn’t been given one of those burgers, she is allergic to rice.

  47. Catherine says:

    How about something like ‘Jurassic Fail’?

  48. maybe you should get a foreman grill and a burger yourself, contact the local tv station and go in and order a burger. When they say they’re out (as usual) start cooking your own in the booth….

  49. amandarin says:

    I experienced my first vegetarian burger-related epic fail yesterday:

    Our caterer on location ran out of boca burgers at lunch, so they substituted with turkey patties.

    Because turkey is a vegetable.


  50. Gosh, I didn’t want to tell you, but since we’re ranting and inventorying all the Johnny Rocket’s veggie burger related failures, here you go: went to try one in your honor a few weeks back and although they did have them in stock, the one served up to me was so flavorless from being freezer burned for who knows how many years, that I never want to try one again… Blech!

  51. Alexis says:

    Man, even if you weren’t allergic to mushrooms…that patty looks like a piece of fake rubber vomit. Yuck! Definitely corporate headquarter contact time!

  52. Fucking Johnny muthafuckin’ Rockets! Dude, I think I would have taken somebody by the throat and caused a nasty scene. I’m glad you’re OK and not in the ER from a severe allergic reaction. Ish.

  53. Whit says:

    Obviously God wants you to eat meat.

  54. A pretty little man says:

    Dude, solution? Eat a F*CK*NG burger like nature intended you too. Why the F**K would anyone order an Fing soy burger from a restaurant. Restaurants are places to order real food. If I wanted a fake burger, I would make the dam* thing at home, instead of paying $8 for the same thing in a restaurant. Plus, they won’t try to kill you with mushroom if you are the they. Take it from someone who knows meat. It’s good, and it’s good for you. Eating soy is vegetable murder, so save millions of little soybean lives by eating one cow. Hell yeah!

  55. Dave2 says:

    I never know if these types of comments are a joke or not.

    First of all, my beliefs are such that you don’t kill animals for food. That’s why I order a fucking soy burger from a fucking restaurant.

    Second of all, when I hear idiotic shit about eating meat “like nature intended” I laugh my ass off because EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. Humans are in no way built to process meat. From the article I just linked to: “A. D. Andrews, author of “Fit Food For Men,” made an anatomical and structural comparison between herbivores (plant-eating animals) and carnivores (meat-eating animals), and came to the conclusion that man’s teeth, salivary glands, quality of saliva, long intestinal tract, absence of claws, are all similar to those of herbivores, very much unlike those of carnivores. Thus, he argues that man is a natural herbivore, and must eat what herbivores eat: vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and not meat or flesh, in order to stay healthy. Staying away from what herbivores should eat, and eating a lot of red meat, is unhealthy and is the cause of most, if not all, of man’s ailments, is also a well-respected argument in the scientific community.” If you’re looking to “nature” to support an argument that humans are carnivores, you might want to actually research it a little bit.

    Thirdly, calling meat “healthy” is about the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard of. Today’s meat supply is loaded with all kinds of nasty shit that nobody should be eating. Growth hormones, steroids, and who knows what other carcinogenic crap that should make hamburgers come with some kind of health warning like on cigarettes.

    I’m not saying that vegetarians have the perfect food source, we don’t… pesticides, genetic modification, and other crap are working their way into our food supply too (unless you can afford to buy organic)… I’m just saying that you are obviously someone who DOESN’T know meat, and is in no position to be advising anybody on their diet.

  56. Laur says:

    I just read a few of your posts and to me .. you just sound like a whiny annoying self righteous asshole.
    And no. .its not because you are a vegetarian, as i am one as well.

    You sound like youd be the kind of customer that waitress/waiters would spit in your food 🙂

  57. Dave2 says:

    So I’m a whiny self-righteous asshole because I complain about ordering a soy burger and get a mushroom burger to which I’m allergic?

    You sound like an idiotic asshole that doesn’t know the meaning of “self-righteous.”

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