We all love that feeling of discovering a new restaurant, the excitement of looking over a new menu and seeing what tasty treats you can order. However, sometimes the excitement can quickly fade away once we actually try the food on the menu. With this list, we look at the Top 10 Worst Restaurants Ever.
10. Olive Garden
Okay, don’t throw rocks, Olive Garden had its heyday, but they have been slowly slipping away. Over the years, Olive Garden has tried to market itself as the go-to place for families to eat great Italian-American food. Being one of the relatively new kids in the restaurant chain world, Olive Garden burst onto the scene in the early 1980s. It very quickly established itself as a family-friendly restaurant, or at least, that was the original goal. However, the reality is a little different. While Olive Garden has grabbed a large slice of the family dining experience, the food does not exactly measure up. Considering that the chain has a clear mission statement to provide great Italian food, it seems to fall short. Nothing on the Olive Garden menu is truly authentic Italian food. The food is cheap, usually over-salted and some of it is even frozen! The fact is, if you want some decent Italian food, you would be better off making it yourself at home. It will be cheaper, tastier, and overall probably even more genuine.
As the years passed, Denny’s tried to become a symbol of real American food. The name Denny’s is already almost as American as apple pie or baseball, so their goal shouldn’t have been too hard. It has been a part of the US fast-food landscape since the early 1950s, and what helped Denny’s differentiate itself from other diners is its table service. While every other chain wants us to do the work in order to get our food, Denny’s is happy to let us sit down and relax as the staff waits on us hand and foot. Denny’s is also the king of the big breakfast. Whether you are finishing off your night or you’re an early bird, Denny’s will fill your belly with giant breakfasts, none more so than their infamous Grand Slam breakfast. However, while this was a great thing back then, nowadays, most of us are expecting more from our meals than a heart attack on a plate. While the social landscape has changed as we look for tastier food made from fresh ingredients, sustainable products, and meats that haven’t been pumped full of antibiotics, Denny’s, unfortunately, hasn’t been able to keep up. Not only that, but most of its menu items are also deep-fried and severely unhealthy. Worse still, Denny’s commits the ultimate sin as their coffee is often voted as some of the worst in the world. Because of this, Denny’s now has the reputation of a place you go when you want your waistline to die. Unhealthy breakfasts and bad coffee are just two of the reasons to give Denny’s a pass.
Next on our list of the Top 10 Worst Restaurants Ever, we turn to the biggest name in fast food. Starting off as a simple burger stand owned by the McDonald brothers back in the 1940s, McDonald’s, with the help of salesman Ray Kroc, quickly became one of the biggest fast-food restaurants in the world. Staying with its simple premise of fast, tasty, and cheap food, McDonald’s was able to build a reputation for itself – sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Now, we all know that when we go to McDonald’s’, it not because we want something healthy; we just want something quick that will fill us up. However, in recent years, as we look for better-sourced ingredients and foods, McDonald’s has had some trouble staying in the game. It still uses chicken that is pumped full of antibiotics and continues to make food with too much fat, salt, and sugar – and eating too much of this kind of food can cause serious health problems. Remember the documentary Super Size Me? Not a good look for McD’s. Not only that but McDonald’s is also constantly being rated low for customer services and customer relations. Those famous Golden Arches may have once ruled the fast-food world, but that title just might be slowly slipping away.
When it comes to food – fast food, casual dining, or posh restaurants – one of the most popular items is pizza. The crispy crust, mountains of cheese, and topping combinations have been delighting the world for generations. Pizza is serious business and a lot of people will argue about which pizza is the best – whether it’s about the pizza style, toppings, or even restaurants to order from. While the best pizza debate will never be resolved as we all feel strongly about our favorite, when it comes to the worst pizza restaurant, most people can unite against Domino’s. Offering only take out or delivery with no eat in dining room, this pizza chain is one of the biggest pizza chains in the world, with locations stretching all over the globe. However, the fact that Domino’s is everywhere doesn’t take away from the fact that it just doesn’t make very good pizza. On paper, Domino’s should be one of the best fast-food chains out there, it has all the right ingredients, but somehow it just can’t seem to get the basics right. It’s not as if it has to worry about table service or staffing a dining room; after all, it only needs to focus on the pie, but even this seems hard to do. Every few years, Domino’s tries to rebrand or upgrade its image, but all of that is in vain as it still won’t focus on the basics; give us a great pizza. Until then, we’ll try one of the other many, and much better, pizza chains.
6. Chuck E. Cheese’s
Many of us have fond memories of going to a Chuck E Cheese as children. Whether it was for a birthday party or some ‘family fun,’ Chuck E Cheese has played a part in all of our childhoods. Whether our memories of those Chuck E Cheese adventures are good memories or bad, we can’t help but smile when we think of those days. Back in its heyday, the 1970s and ’80s, Chuck E Cheese was filled with ball pits, soft play areas, and had some interesting animatronics. Chuck E Cheese really was a place where kids could cut loose and enjoy tasty food. However, looking at this restaurant chain as adults, we can see it for what it is. It’s a loud, dirty, and disgusting place that should be avoided at all costs. On top of that, the food isn’t even that good, either – for kids or adults, the menu is just bad by any standards. Over the years, Chuck E Cheese has tried many different tactics to reinvent themselves and keep up with the modern way of dining, but none of them seemed to have worked. It seems like no matter what it tries, Chuck E Cheese is always stuck in the old days, and nothing it does will ever be able to pull it out of that particular hole.
As you will see from our list, many restaurants and fast-food chains always try to do at least one thing better than anyone. This doesn’t always work, but the fact is, most of the more successful chains try to keep their restaurants and food simple, unlike Applebee’s. Marketing itself as a ‘neighborhood bar and grill,’ and having many locations across the country – there’s most likely an Applebee’s somewhere in your neighborhood. However, the first thing that turns us off about this chain is the menu. Not only is the food at Applebee’s not very exciting or intriguing, but the menu itself also reads like a Russian novel. It’s long, over-blown, and goes on and on and on. That should be the first red flag when sitting down at an Applebee’s. Instead of concentrating on doing a few items really well, Applebee’s wants to try and do everything. In itself, that’s not really the best way to go since doing more can sometimes mean doing worse. The food earned Applebee’s the nickname ‘Microbee’s’ for its overuse of the microwave. The other thing about Applebee’s is the decor. It’s as if the founders of Applebee’s saw a bar in the early 1970s and decided that’s what they wanted their chain to look like, and they have stuck with that ever since! The only thing that Applebee’s has going for it is its bar. Their specials and cheap cocktails are a winner. Probably because, after a few cocktails, people won’t care about the quality of the food. If that’s the case, then that could be the best business model around.
You’ll be forgiven if you haven’t been to or even heard of our next entry, Chi-Chi’s. This restaurant chain was started in the 1970s in the midwest. In those days, there weren’t a lot of options when it came to Mexican food; not even the likes of Taco Bell had reached that part of the country yet. Because of that, Chi-Chi’s quickly became everyone’s go-to place for some sit-down Mexican dining. However, because there was no competition, Chi-Chi’s didn’t really have to try that hard to make its food authentic or even tasty. Being the only Mexican restaurant in that part of the world was enough to attract local customers and big investors too. Pretty soon, Chi-Chi’s started to expand across the Midwest, and the profits were rolling in. But, as the decades passed and the restaurant chain had bigger expansion plans, it became clear that Chi-Chi’s couldn’t compete with the other big guys. Expanding into other areas, such as New York or Miami, became the downfall of this rapidly growing company as those areas failed hard. This was probably due to the many other options for Mexican food, and people chose not to embrace Chi-Chi’s. Instead of working harder on its food and menus, Chi-Chi’s just stuck to what it knows and kept itself relegated to the midwest.
3. Red Robin
If there is one food item that we all love and crave, it’s burgers. Propping up the majority of the fast-food industry, burgers have been satisfying our hunger for decades. Ever since restaurants like White Castle and McDonald’s made the burger more accessible, cheaper, and faster, we haven’t been able to get enough of meat patties in between buns. As the world changes to a healthier view, the humble burger has actually managed to keep up with the times. With more and more fast-food burger chains out there, the burger doesn’t stop there. There are also plenty of independent burger joints that focus on making truly great burgers with healthy options and better quality ingredients and meat – or even no meat at all due to the rise in popularity of such items like the Beyond Meat Burger. With all those options out there, it can be difficult for certain chains to keep up, and this is the issue with Red Robin. Not too long ago, Red Robin was actually a popular burger joint with multiple restaurants across the US and even Canada. But, in recent years, Red Robin has suffered greatly and nose-dived into a bit of a black hole. The simple truth is that with so many great burger options on the market, the quality of Red Robin’s food just can’t compete in either price or quality.
Possibly second only to McDonald’s in terms of worldwide restaurants and revenue, KFC has been feeding us its famous chicken for decades. With its secret herb and spices blend, the Colonel has been frying up chicken and serving customers since it was founded in the early 1950s. While it’s still pretty popular today as the ultimate guilty pleasure, KFC just isn’t what it once was. With many of their menu items falling off the mark in recent years, it has also lost its way when making its signature chicken. Maybe that’s because it has become complacent or because of the rise of other, better chicken restaurants, like Chick-Fil-A or Popeyes. With better and healthier chicken options on the market today, KFC seems to be falling behind when it comes to the quality of its food. KFC has also been in trouble quite a lot over the years because of its bad customer service and dirty dining rooms. KFC may have been a giant in the chicken world back in the day, but perhaps its crown has slipped from its greasy fingers, and the time has come for the chain to kick the bucket – so to speak.
There are many things that can make a restaurant bad, depending on what you’re looking for in a meal; it can be the customer service, the speed of the service, the price, or the general feel or ambiance of the joint itself. However, the usual main reason that a restaurant should be avoided is the overall quality of the food served, and unfortunately, this is one of the things that has plagued Arby’s for years – and it can’t seem to shake it off. Unlike other fast-food restaurants at the time, Arby’s wasn’t interested in selling burgers or pizza, but instead, it wanted to bring us the best roast beef sandwiches. And for a while, that’s exactly what it did – after all, the roast beef sandwich is legendary. But, over the years, it became clear that the food and the ingredients weren’t as good as they could be. In fact, they were the worst. Arby’s downfall all started with rumors coming out that their meats were actually meat paste shaped and cooked to look like meat. Some people were never able to get past that idea and have been boycotting Arby’s ever since. With so many better sandwich options out there, you would be better off spending your money in a place with fresher ingredients without a history of being fake.