If you’ve never worked in a fast food restaurant, you probably find yourself wondering what actually happens in those kitchens that could allow a moderately trained teenager to bring you a full meal in a couple minutes.
Well, thanks to the unifying force of the Internet, we can find out. Someone on Reddit posted the question, “Chain restaurant employees, what should customers not order from your menu?” The thread received a whopping 12,000-plus comments, including plenty of recommendations on which items to avoid from a wide range of chains.
Here are some of the more interesting and noteworthy. Just remember, you didn’t hear it from us; you heard it from Reddit.
According to a user who used to work at Burger King: “Don't order grilled chicken or veggie burgers. No one orders them, so they sit for hours (literally), and they become horrible dried-out garbage.” This sentiment was parroted in a number of other posts for other chains: If you order less popular items, the likelihood that they’ve been sitting around becomes greater.
Unpopular items aren’t the only ones with issues; a food being too popular can also cause trouble. A Redditor who used to work at Cook Out said, “I don't recommend ordering chicken strips. We'd get in a rush, and those [things] took FOR-GODDAMN-EVER to cook. And people would pull them out of the fryers early and just throw them on a tray. People brought them back for being undercooked all the time.”
For those of you not from the southern United States, Cook Out is a regional chain in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky that cooks its food “Outdoors Style®”—whatever that means.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
A food’s offense doesn’t have to be gross. Sometimes you just might not be getting a good deal for your money. A Moe’s employee pointed out, “I shake my head every time someone orders a cheese quesadilla. Not because they're bad, but they're so overpriced. Five [freaking] dollars for your 2 ounces of cheese on a tortilla.”
Turns out some “secret menu” items really are a secret. “As a Starbucks employee, please do not order anything off of the Secret Menu without giving us the recipe, especially in our Drive-Thru stores,” said another Redditor. “We're happy to make them, since it's not that much different from someone wanting soy milk or extra whipped cream in their Frappucino, but just coming in, asking for a Key Lime Pie Frappucino and getting angry at me for not knowing how to make it isn't cool.”
“Unless you know the shake/smoothie machine was cleaned that day, do not drink either of those at McDonald's,” suggested a Redditor who had once helped clean out the machine. “[It] gets cleaned once a week, and every time it was pulled apart there would be black slime/mold backed up inside the spout.”
Most people aren’t running to Chick-fil-A to grab a chicken salad sandwich; the chain is better known for their crispy stuff. But multiple former employees agreed that “the chicken salad did come from the leftover chicken from the day before,” with one saying, “You don't know how old the chicken is that is in the chicken salad.”
Lastly, a former TGI Friday’s bartender gives us a piece of advice we could follow at almost any restaurant: Don’t forget about the calories. “Most of the food is alright,” he said of Friday’s food, “but holy [cow], the calories. An ultimate mudslide is the caloric equivalent of a Chipotle burrito.” Still, sometimes you can’t help yourself: “Those mudslides are [freaking] delicious, though.”