One day, a Redditor took to the subreddit, r/AskReddit, to ask the following question: “Fast food workers of Reddit, what should we NOT order at your restaurant? and Why not?” From there, the thread blew up, with hundreds of current and former fast food employees sharing pieces of behind the scenes knowledge from their respective restaurants. To be fair, many of these incidents may be isolated to a very few specific locations. However, you never know if the restaurant near you happens to be one of them. Here are the Top 10 Fast Food Items You Should Never Order According To Reddit (Part 2).
10. The Secret Menu is Secret No More
The Starbucks Secret Menu is a thing of legends. It consists of decadent and elaborate beverages, including things like the Harry Potter inspired Butterbeer Frappuccino, the Honey Nut Macchiato, and the Strawberry Sunset Refresher. How on Earth can baristas manage to remember not only how to prepare the dozens of items on the official menu, but the hundreds of Secret Menu Items, as well? The short answer is they can’t. Because there’s no such thing as the Starbucks Secret Menu. You might think that employees are just saying that because they want to ensure that the Secret Menu stays, you know, secret. But, we promise you, it really doesn’t exist. Most baristas would be happy to prepare a customized drink for you, provided that the café isn’t too busy, and you have a recipe on hand. But don’t be that person who waltzes into a Starbuck during rush-hour and demands that they whip you up a Rocky Road Frappuccino, stat. If you want to deviate from the official menu, be patient, let the barista know the exact ingredients and quantities you want, and don’t complain about the cost. But really, it’s just so much easier for everyone involved if we just stick to the good old Caramel Macchiatos and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (when in season, of course).
9. Hold the (Mac and) Cheese, Please
The consensus among Panera Bread employees on Reddit seems to be that the bakery’s Mac and Cheese is a total rip off. While a couple commenters seemed to simply feel that it just isn’t worth the price, one person actually went as far as to describe it as downright “nasty”. While many of the restaurant’s pastries are made fresh in-house, their pastas are purchased frozen and prepackaged. Before being served, the dishes are simply reheated in the microwave. Not exactly the authentic, homemade cuisine you may have been imagining. One Panera worker pointed out that many people order the Mac and Cheese thinking that they’ll be getting a healthier, “artisanal” version of their favorite comfort food. But they are just paying a much higher price for essentially the same quality and nutritional value they’d have gotten from a box of Kraft Dinner. It’s really all about what kind of standards you have for your pasta. You might be a bit disappointed with these microwaved dishes if you’re used to your nonna’s authentic cuisine. When it comes to Panera Bread Mac and Cheese, it’s really just one of those things where, if you like the taste and don’t mind paying the relatively high price, by all means, have at it. But, keep in mind that, even Panera Bread’s employees don’t think you’re in any way getting your money’s worth.
8. Cut the Carbs
A former manager of Little Caesar’s chimed in to say that the fast food joint’s patrons should avoid ordering pretty much any of the breads on the menu. They mentioned Crazy Bread, Jalapeno Bread and Italian Bread specifically. Apparently, these popular side dishes are buttered with… well, would you believe it’s not butter? Instead of butter, an imitation product is used. What seemed particularly distressing to this fast food worker was that it didn’t require refrigeration to keep fresh. Some people don’t notice much of a difference between the imitation product and butter, while others agree with this former Little Caesar’s employee and think it’s disgusting. Furthermore, personal taste aside, the imitation stuff they use is reportedly horrible for your health. Not that you’re ordering breadsticks for their health benefits or anything, but they might actually be worse for you than you originally thought. Some people are relatively unbothered by this revelation, which is fair, since a lot of fast food employees from other restaurants were reporting things like mold. So, if imitation butter is as bad as it gets, Little Caesar’s is pretty okay.
7. More Doesn’t Mean Better
A Three Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza sounds like an absolute dream come true. Unfortunately, Pizza Hut’s staff has reported that it’s actually an absolute rip-off. If you’re a cheese-lover, opt for the regular Stuffed Crust Pizza instead. It may seem like the lesser pizza, but appearances can be deceiving. It turns out that if you were to look inside the crust of the Three Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza, you would find huge empty gaps where there’s no cheese. With the regular Stuffed Crust Pizza, on the other hand, the cheese goes all the way around. Turns out “Three Cheese” does not in any way mean “three times the cheese.” To make matters worse, when the ten-dollar pizza deal is ongoing, you can add all the toppings you want to the Stuffed Crust Pizza for only twelve dollars. The Three Cheese Pizza is exempt from deals like these, meaning that you’re stuck paying extra for each topping you add. All in all, it sounds like you’re getting way more bang for your buck with the regular Stuffed Crust Pizza than with the Three Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll probably end up enjoying your meal more! To the former Pizza Hut employee who shared this sage advice, our wallets and our stomachs are forever grateful.
6. Tastes Like Chicken
The general opinion seems to be that Sonic has a lot of good things going for itself. The burgers don’t sit out too long, the oil is replaced frequently, and the ice machine is cleaned daily (unfortunately, a rarity at many fast foods restaurants). However, if there’s one thing to avoid from this restaurant, it’s the chicken. One former employee claimed that it isn’t even real chicken. That raises far more questions than it answers. We’re not sure of exactly what that means, but it’s definitely enough to make us wary of the product. And if that wasn’t bad enough, apparently chicken (or whatever it is) doesn’t get ordered very often (we wonder why), so it ends up sitting out for hours on end. If it’s not good fresh, we don’t want to imagine what it tastes like after it’s been sitting out all day. A Sonic customer replied to the original comment warning people away from Sonic’s chicken with their own opinions on the matter. This included a very colorful description of the taste of the chicken at Sonic. In the name of keeping things PG and not completely ruining everyone’s appetites, we’re not going to repeat what was said, but just know that it was enough to convince us that we should listen to this former Sonic employee and steer clear of the chain’s chicken products.
5. Full Of Beans
This warning goes out to all of you in the Midwest. A Redditor who used to work at Taco John’s implores you to stay away from the beans. Reportedly, they should be safe to eat during peak hours, when lots of orders are coming in and fresh food is constantly being made. But outside of rush hour, it’s not recommended that you order them. Turns out that the beans are just left to sit on a hot table. When they start to dry out, instead of being thrown out and replaced with a fresh batch, water is simply added to plump them back up. Yum. So, if you find yourself craving Taco John’s beans, try to time yourself accordingly. Stop by right at lunchtime and you’re good to go. For reference, some of the Taco John’s food items including beans are their Bean Burrito and one of their side dishes called Refried Beans. Finally, if you’re a big Taco John’s fan, you should be happy to hear that this particular employee didn’t have anything else bad to say about the establishment. In fact, they still eat there themselves! Since working in customer service can be brutal, it says a lot about the quality of the food that this former fast food worker is able to return to a place that likely holds so many bad memories.
4. Canada’s Too Cold for Ice Coffee Anyways
Calling all Canadians (and anyone lucky enough to live near one of the rare Timmy’s outside of its natural habitat)! Many Canadians are incredibly passionate about Tim Horton’s, and won’t hear a bad word about it. However, some employees would have us know that it’s not necessarily as perfect as the great white north makes it out to be. For one thing, the “always fresh” moto is a bit of a stretch, since most of the pastries are shipped frozen to each location. But that’s not such a big deal. What’s harder to get over is the fact that, while many locations have very strict policies on cleanliness, some neglect their frozen base machines to the point where they start to get moldy. The employee who reported this tidbit also added that the iced coffee, which is supposed to be kept no longer than twelve hours, would actually end up sitting out for far longer. They recommended staying away from the iced coffee, fruit smoothies, and, to everyone’s horror, the beloved Iced Capp. To help put your mind at ease, many other employees chimed in saying that this was not the case at any of their locations, but, still, it’s hard to know which restaurants you can trust.
3. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to
The thing about Wendy’s Baked Potatoes is that they’re not inherently bad. Actually, they can be quite good. The issue is that it’s like you’re playing Russian Roulette each time you order one; you never know how long it’s been sitting out for. The reason behind this is that baked potatoes are a pain to prepare. It takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour bake them, and their shelf life is only about sixty minutes. Because they’re so annoying to prepare, and aren’t the most popular item on the menu, it happens that a single batch is made around lunchtime and then used for the rest of the day. So, if you go at the right time, you could get a piping hot, delicious baked potato. But if you go at the wrong time… well, few foods are as disgusting as a dried-out potato. If you’re still not convinced that you should keep away from this food item, by all means, take a chance and order one. You might get lucky. If you don’t, just know that you were warned. One employee was kind enough to offer up a life hack to help better the odds that you’ll end up with a fresh potato. Apparently, the less ingredients there are on the potato, the fresher it’s likely to be. This is probably because the ones with less dressing are more popular. According to this employee, ordering a baked potato with just salt and butter will significantly increase your chances of getting a potato fresh out of the oven.
2. Unlike a Fine Wine, Chicken Doesn’t Age Well
Prepare your stomachs for this one. Hopefully you’re not a fan of KFC’s BBQ sandwich, because it’s about to be ruined for you. After approximately four years of working at KFC, this former fast food worker took to Reddit to share the secret behind the BBQ sandwich. They claimed that the chicken used in these sandwiches is the same chicken that was deemed too old and stale to donate to nearby homeless shelters. Instead, it was soaked in BBQ sauce for hours on end, to get it to the point where it was soft enough to eat. Afterwards, they claimed the meat is kept in a heater for an ungodly amount of time, waiting for people to order the BBQ sandwich. This former KFC employee ended their tell-all comment with a confession, written in text so small it was easy to miss, which read: “I still order it, though”. Turns out, even knowing a restaurant’s dirty little secrets isn’t always enough to stop the cravings. Sometimes the food just tastes way too good. This is another case where some KFC employees who worked at other locations noted that this wasn’t common practice at their restaurants, while others corroborated the story, saying that their restaurants did the exact same thing. It’s important to remember that the rules put in place by management vary from restaurant to restaurant, even within the same chain! Nonetheless, this is still something to keep in mind next time you’re considering ordering the BBQ sandwich from KFC.
1. Lemons…From Anywhere
If there’s one thing fast food workers can agree on, it’s that lemons are bad, regardless of where they come from. This seems like a weird entry for this list, as lemons aren’t exactly a staple fast food item, but, when you think about it, it’s surprisingly how often they pop up. Unfortunately, it’s a rarity for a lemon to be washed in a fast food restaurant. As one commenter pointed out, this is a big deal, because the lemons go through a lot, with all the transport and storage it takes for them to finally end up in the restaurant’s kitchen. For them to simply be sliced and dropped into your drink… It’s pretty gross. On top of that, they’re often left to sit around all day after being sliced, which isn’t so great either. There are also a ton of horror stories circulating about iced tea (it’s way too sweet) and ice (the machines are never cleaned and it’s a moldy disaster) and, since these things all go hand-in-hand, maybe it’s time to stop ordering drinks – or at least iced tea – from fast food establishments.