Swiss Chalet's new Warm Lemon Water chips deemed epic failure

Swiss Chalet faced online backlash this week after releasing a new line of branded Lay’s potato chips.

NATIONWIDE—Swiss Chalet faced online backlash this week after releasing a new line of branded Lay's potato chips inspired by the small bowls of tepid water and lemon cubes the restaurant provides to dining room customers toward the end of a meal.

The move was an attempt for the beloved casual dining chain to capitalize on the popularity of the Chalet Sauce-flavoured chips they launched last fall, which saw Canadians flocking to Swiss Chalet locations to try the crispy version of Canada's Official Dipping Sauce.

"I haven't felt this betrayed since they stopped serving Toblerone bars with the Festive Special," tweeted Tanya Glibsworth of Calgary, whose profile picture shows a tattoo of a quarter chicken dinner on her upper thigh. She then tweeted: "If these water-flavoured Lay's are any indication of what actual water tastes like, we should replace the Great Lakes with Chalet Sauce."

But, according to the restaurant chain, the chips' unpleasant flavour is just a misunderstanding.

"These chips weren't supposed to taste good, or even be consumed. The Warm Lemon Water Lay's are meant solely to cleanse one's hands after eating Chalet Sauce Lay's," said Swiss Chalet spokesperson Freddy Marvin. "We honestly can't fathom why there has been any confusion over this."

I haven't felt this betrayed since they stopped serving Toblerone bars with the Festive Special.- As tweeted by Tanya Glibsworth

In the parking lot of a Swiss Chalet restaurant off Dalton Avenue in Kingston, tourist Yuki Kawasaki threw a mostly full bag of Warm Lemon Water chips directly in the garbage.

"These chips taste just as bad as the complimentary lemon broth," said Kawasaki, who had just dined at Swiss Chalet for the first time.

He said when his server brought him a small bowl of warm water, he asked if it was soup and "she just giggled politely, like it was some sort of joke she had heard a hundred times. When I complained the broth tasted very bad, she brought me this bag of chips as an apology for the confusion."

"My Lonely Planet guide said eating at Swiss Chalet would be a rich cultural experience. I expected to be dining in an haute wooden cottage, not a building next to a Dairy Queen. And the only thing 'Swiss' about my chicken pot pie was my feeling of complete neutrality towards it."

Marvin says Swiss Chalet is sorry if its name is misleading or if the intent behind the warm lemon water or any subsequent chips was unclear. "We sometimes take for granted that three generations of Canadians have been raised to understand the concept of lemon water served in tiny green bowls. We've been pushing for a Heritage Minute about it but the production company keeps insisting there's only 15 seconds of content, max."

Swiss Chalet's next move will be releasing a line of French fry-flavoured chips — rumoured to taste remarkably like plain chips — that people can dip in Chalet Sauce-flavoured chips.

"French fry flavour is not the same as plain. All our potatoes are cooked on a rotisserie, so it's a totally different taste," Marvin explains. "And most customers will need at least two bags of sauce chips per one bag of fry chips, so it should help us make up all the money we lost on the warm lemon water fiasco."

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