Most of us don’t really think twice when ordering a Whopper. We naturally assume the burger is gonna be fresh as always, the meat will be smooth and tender, and that crisp lettuce will perfectly close up the whole palate. And more often than not, that’s how it is.
But recently, Redditor u/Caseykins turned to fast food chain employees to find out what happens behind closed doors. The question read as follows: “what’s one item on your respective chain’s menu that you will absolutely not eat under any circumstances?” and it got 18.3k upvotes.
From ice cream to chicken sandwiches, these are some of the worst products according to people who know what they’re saying that honestly look very innocent to our hungry selves. So let’s scroll to see the faux pas foods you’d better stay at a safe distance from.
I have watched the hairiest men make coleslaw with no gloves, and for perspective we make a giant tub at a time. You’re literally armpit-deep sometimes in this bin to mix it correctly…Please don’t eat the coleslaw.
Never get the chicken pot pie. The chicken used for this is old chicken that hasn’t been bought throughout the day. For example, a cook will make the chicken at opening and once time passes no one buys it, they dump it in a container, freeze it, then shred it up for pot pies months later. No one would know since it’s sauced up in a pie.
I was a shift supervisor at a fast food place and years later, I still refuse to eat anything with ice cream in it. The machine we had was always covered in mold and spoiled cream, while the owner’s ‘fix’ was to scrape off a layer of mold and spray some Clorox on it.
Nobody ever f**king orders the chicken sandwich, so if you do, it’s probably been sitting in a warmer tray for an hour or two. We just can’t afford to throw out the old ones all the time, but have to keep some on hand. It will probably be hard and dry, and we probably won’t give you a refund.
I work at a chain coffee shop where we make our own in-house chocolate sauce. Sounds nice, but it starts to mold within a few days. That shouldn’t be a problem since we go through chocolate and make more daily, however, the chocolate sauce container only gets cleaned out properly if we run out during slow times. Otherwise we just dump fresh chocolate sauce on top and get right back to dealing with the rush.
Nobody ever ordered the crispy chicken. I’ve had it sit in the warmer from opening to changeover. Then from changeover when I ended my shift. Maybe it depends on the location, but the odds of getting one that’s been sitting there for an hour or two outweigh the odds that the grill people remembered it existed and changed it out when it started looking bad.
There’s a reason that the ice cream machine is down a lot. Sometimes it’s for legit maintenance, other times though, it’s to clean out the mold that likes to grow in the liquid mix. I only found out after a year. I was filling it one day and looked down. The stuff I saw was nightmare fuel and ruined me on their soft serve for a while.
Used to work at a small fast food place, and during training, my manager got mad at me for throwing out slimy corn. She showed me how she would just rinse the slime off in the sink and put it back. I find corn suspicious now.
The chili. Whenever a burger is cooked it is only considered ‘good’ for a certain amount of time. If the burger didn’t get used, it would be thrown in a bucket next to the grill. At the end of each shift, the person dumps all the old burgers into a larger bucket of old burgers, which may or may not be covered. They also may be from days prior. Overnight they chill, the grease congeals and the meat turns gray and weird. This meat may not be frozen, but it is still hard to break up. So the person making chili dumps it in a big colander, runs hot water over it, and mashes it into tiny pieces again. Now the soggy, grayish, lukewarm day-old burger meat is ready to be used in the chili.
We would cook hot dogs on the rotating grill for all to see. At the end of the day if they weren’t bought we were supposed to toss them. I mean they were almost burnt and wrinkly. The manager was there one day when we had three hotdogs left over. I went to toss them and he flipped his s**t. He put them in the fridge and told me to use them the next day in a chili or cheese dog where the customer couldn’t see the hot dog.
The thing I refuse to eat is the garlic bread. At our store and the other I worked at temporarily, we used a paint brush to spread the garlic butter. The thing was, the paint brush was never fully clean so garlic butter from the previous days would still be on the brush. I’d never seen the brush replaced in my nearly two years working there.
I discovered maggots crawling all over a box of moldy potatoes. I threw the box out, and I was cussed out. They fished them out and cut the maggot parts out of the potatoes and used them anyway. I quit that day.
Once I accidentally dropped a whole open box of frozen chicken patties on the floor and told my manager to write down the waste. He said, ‘Just put them back in the box. The fryer oil will get rid of any germs.’ Unfortunately, if food waste exceeded $100 a month, they would make the managers pay out of pocket for any additional expense… Seeing as everyone is underpaid, including the managers, you can probably guess the corners that would be cut to keep food cost as low as possible.
I was doing my thing one night, and the restaurant’s owner is on the phone, trying to get his fryer filter repaired… I said I’d check it out. Inside were two large dead rats, or what was left of them, bones and fluff mostly. They had gotten into the machine via the purge pipe, and got stuck inside. So for probably a month or two, all the fried food from this establishment had been cooked in oil that had been filtered through two rotting rats.
Did a month at Golden Corral during my senior year of high school.
Roaches. In. The. Meat. Freezer.
Roaches. In. The. M e a t. F r e e z e r.
There’s a rule for how long something can sit under the heat lamps, but no one follows it. If you’re not ordering during the lunch or dinner rush, you should assume whatever you get has been sitting out for hours.
My best friend worked at a very popular sandwich fast food chain. Some of the tomatoes had mold on them so she went to throw them out. Her manager scolded her and told her if anything grows mold, you cut the mold off and still serve it so they don’t waste food.
I worked at a pizza place that was infested with roaches, especially in the back room where we would leave the pizza dough out to sit. We would also find roaches in the ice maker, in the mechanical parts as well as the ice itself.
One shift, I cut the hell out of my hand and bled into a tea urn. The shift manager told me to use it anyways and didn’t even let me wash my hands. I dumped all the tea out, reported it to the GM, and made up a lie about having a blood borne illness so they’d take things a little more seriously.
Dairy Queen strawberry cheesecake blizzard.
When the cheesecake gets low you’re supposed to fill it up a certain way where the new cheesecake goes on bottom and what’s left of the old stuff is put on top to ensure it’s used first and it all stays fresh. Well let me tell you that s**t is like a brick after it’s been in the container long enough, you constantly take it out and put it back so it’s always thawing and refreezing and essentially freezing together. This is why absolutely NO ONE rotates the cheese cake. I once dropped the cheese cake container onto the tile and the chunk in bottom cracked in half and came out…. it had become almost like 98% mold. We’d been using it without rotating it for months.
Ham on pizza. Worked at pizza hut done time ago and the ham would turn this disgusting gray color within a day or opening the package. You just couldn’t tell if it had been opened 24 his ago or 2 weeks ago. But, during cooking it returned to pink which always weirded me out.
The main thing that was nasty was the fish sandwich, for a few reasons. 1) The thing just smelled foul. It was a frozen patty of fish that we’d dunk in the fryer for like four minutes, and then attempt to not vomit when we pulled it out because of the smell. 2) The tartar sauce. The tartar sauce sat in a container that was ‘cooled’ by the the larger tray it was in. This didn’t really cool it though, so it was usually room temp. Since few people ordered the tartar sauce, the top layer would quickly turn this greenish-brown color, which doesn’t sound that gross but it would turn FAST. 3) The fish patties tended to sit in the warmer for pretty much forever.
The ‘premium chicken’ that they use as a pizza topping has to be the absolute worst on the menu. It is very obviously liquefied and re-condensed chicken pieces which are then cut into strips and given artificial grill marks.
Former BK employee of 6 years here. The food was actually good if it was fresh. The issue is the staff/management. Sauce bottles would never get completely emptied and cleaned. People wouldn’t change their gloves between doing different tasks, or would be texting with those gloves then make your food. Also, all the items that go into making your food (lettuce, cheese, etc) was all tracked via time stickers (think a little clock). So if you brought out new cheese, the rules were it could only be left at room temp for 4 hours. If you brought it out at 12, you’d mark the sticker for 4PM, at that point you should have thrown it away. Well that never happened. Everything got stickers replaced to make sure they were always good in case of surprise inspection.
Whenever I’d train people I gave a few rules to live by:
1. If it’s dirty, clean it
2. If it’s out of place, organize it
3. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it
From a customer perspective, always order your food with a slight modification (light Mayo). This will ensure your food is made fresh instead of you getting one that has been made previously to speed things up; however, can’t guarantee the food it’s being made with is fresh.
Had a job with AMC theaters.
I wouldn’t reccomend buying anything other than popcorn/drink.
The fried food is really something else – one it comes shipped from a 3rd party, so it’s not even kind of fresh.
The oil is so gross. You’re basically ordering something that went through a machine built in the 70s that has accumulated layers and layers of oil residue. You can clean it a little bit, but you’re never going back to how it first looked. Everyday there’s like a new layer of “oil icing” and the corners of the steel plates are where they really get stuck.
(I’ve worked other jobs as a fry cook before too, making fresh chicken tenders and such everyday at a deli. AT the deli we cleaned the fryers every night, with huge hoses.)
AMC we cleaned the fryer once a week – by a person making minimum wage and doesn’t exactly have any motivation to do a pristine job.
A former taco bell worker told me she would never eat the beans. They came as dehydrated powder that they’d mix with hot water and voila, “refried” bean paste.
If people saw (and felt) the popcorn “butter” at AMC when I worked there you wouldn’t touch that whole stand, much less put that stuff in your body. To replace the butter we get this bag of yellow liquid that glows pink in the light to screw into the nozzle at the bottom. And somehow which I never understand, is that touching the outside of the plastic bag makes my hands super greasy. And when I say greasy, i have to SCRUB with a sponge for minutes to get most of it off and there is always some residue that remains. Can only imagine what that is doing to the arteries of the people pumping that s**t all over their food.
The chili is old dried-out burgers mashed up, microwaved in water, then mixed in with chili mix. I will not eat it knowing where the meat came from.
The chicken pot pie was made with old chicken from three to four days ago when we froze it. Nasty, and we wouldn’t make more pot pies unless we ran out.
Never. Ever. Ever. Eat a baked potato after 4 PM. We stop making them after lunch, unless there’s a rush at dinner where we use the last of them and need to make more. Otherwise, it would be left in the warmer going soft and brown. We were told that if a baked potato was passable enough that a customer might not notice it was basically mush on the inside, we just cover it in toppings so there were no visual cues that it was gross and nasty.
I work at McDonald’s, nothing in my store is actually gross we are really clean and follow procedures, but I wouldn’t have a filet o fish with the sauce because the sauce makes a disgusting sound coming out of the sauce gun.
Caramel frappuccino with extra caramel (I’m sorry dont hate me). I worked at Starbucks for over 4 years and this drink, as tastey as it is, is so high in sugar it makes a can of coke look like a cup of green tea. I get upset when I see parents order their children these sugar bombs.
The drink gets 3 different sugary syrups and EXTRA caramel. The only real bit of drink in it is the 2 oz or so of milk. Oh and ice, I suppose that too.
Commercial food equipment maintenance man here. I will never drink a fountain beverage with ice at a sub sandwich chain restaurant or anywhere else that bakes bread and has an ice maker. The yeast in the air makes things grow like crazy on the grid the ice is formed on. Even if the ice maker is cleaned regularly, it’s not enough. It’s why they don’t use clear cups. If you got clear soda or water with ice in a clear cup, it would look like pepper was floating inside.
I worked at a Subway in my senior year of high school. What disturbed me was how the tuna came packaged: in a big metallic bag (to keep it fresh, I guess.) Then when we had to take it out, it would make this squelching noise. And because I made so many subs, completely put me off from eating those sandwiches ever again.