This article was originally published on Kueez
Many people suspect that fast food isn't always the freshest. Turns out they're not wrong! Workers behind the scenes at some of the most popular fast-food chains reveal the dirty details for us about some of their best-selling items. Check out these real candid confessions from those who make our favorite quick eats, and see if you still have an appetite. Be warned, some of these are truly nasty!
Only One Thing Is Quality at Buffalo Wild Wings
We all love a night out with friends at Buffalo Wild Wings. Sometimes, not everyone wants chicken, so it's nice that they have a full menu. But is everything there worth the calories? As it turns out, not at all. According to HunterOfTheSky: "I work at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Don't get anything other than the wings. That's the only quality thing there. Everything else is frozen."
If it's all just frozen and reheated food, we can try that ourselves at home. We will save our cash for the real specialty there. The wings actually are good, though!
A&W Gravy Isn't so Appetizing
A&W has more than the usual menu we expect for a fast-food experience. We love their root beer, cheese curds, and hot dogs, especially. But there is one thing we will be avoiding, from now on, at the Canadian locations. According to staff cook ExarchApophis: "Gravy at the Canadian A&W. One of the ingredients is literally a ladle of used fryer oil from the chicken fryer. It's really quite gross."
Gravy is supposed to be the liquid from deliciously cooked meats. But here, we see that it might be old chicken oil. That's gross, and we can't forget it now!
Arby's Shady Roast Beef
Arby's roast beef sandwiches are what put them on the map, back in the day. No other chain had that option! But what are they made of? According to Redditor Lodgik, it isn't even a solid product when they receive it. The current employee explains: "When we receive the roast beef, it's not actually solid. It's a bag of meat paste that solidifies after 3 hours in the oven. Still tastes good though."
Liquid meat in a bag? We are shocked to hear that is the current practice, frankly. Sounds more like a science experiment!
Chick-Fil-A Is Never Truly Gluten Free
Gluten-challenged Chick-fil-A fans are going to be sad at this one. Is it even possible to eat at the chain? Redditor SwagSorcerer questions if that is really a wise choice at all, given the chain's practices. According to this employee: "Don't order grilled foods if you're gluten-free. While technically gluten-free — a lot of cross-contamination can occur. Be specific to be safe." How alarming, if you have a life-threatening allergy!
Don't order the grilled chicken? But that's exactly what we wanted to eat! For those who can't have gluten, dining out is always a challenge: Better safe than sorry, even at Chick-fil-A.
Wendy's Chili Might Be Another Item
This employee says Wendy's might be selling you old, greasy burgers in another form. According to ex-cook zenkaifts: "If you have someone who can't seem to stop overcooking the beef you may end up with chili meat to last for three days. Chili meat is good for 7 days if I recall correctly. Occasionally, depending on how popular the chili sells on a given day, it is possible to have chili with meat cooked the same day."
Fans love this stuff, but they might be mad to find out it's not fresh. But hey, chili never claimed to be fresh. Are you that surprised this is the recipe?
Dairy Queen Salads Are Questionable
Dairy Queen is the neighborhood shop we got ice cream as kids. Over the years, they have really expanded their menu. But is all of it worth your dollar? Employee obeyyourbrain admits: "Salads from DQ are a rip-off. They just recently down-sized them while changing the bowl to make it look like the same amount. Over $5 for 3 ounces of old lettuce, cabbage, carrots and even older grilled chicken."
We wouldn't have known without this noble employee tell-all. We see the trick they did there: Change the packaging, change the quantity, charge the same price. We're onto you, DQ!
Starbucks' Unappetizing Practice
Starbucks is the place we get frappuccinos and pumpkin spice lattes. Nobody does those better, and we're delighted to waste all of our money on them. But what about their food menu? As it turns out, it may not be worth anything. Barista likeabaker admits: "All Starbucks food is reheated frozen food. Ridiculous how little people realize that. Doesn't mean it doesn't taste good, it's just not fresh at all and incredibly overpriced."
This is a real shocker. We thought their sandwiches were gourmet, based on the packaging and price. But looks can be deceiving, and we are afraid we have been deceived.
Panda Express Orange Chicken Isn't Ideal
Sup3rh3r0_31 says that Panda Express has strange practices to keep everything moist. We're not sure we want to eat our favorite dish there, ever again! The cook quietly warns: "I work at Panda Express and you should never order orange chicken...we put uncooked sauce on it to make it more moisturized. Even my manager says it's ok, as long as I do not do it in front of the customers. Panda Express is disgusting."
That's incredibly disappointing. Orange chicken at Panda Express was our favorite item on the menu, hands down. But it is fast food, so we can't say we are surprised it's old, even if it isn't cold.
Hardee's Fried Chicken May Be Spoiled
Hardee's cook CapsUnlocker says they pulled out a bag of old chicken, and it smelled really bad. They were encouraged to fry it anyway, though. The Redditor reveals: "The smell was putrid. Very strong. I complained of course and the shift leader said 'Yeah, it is bad. Someone left it out last night so we tossed it in the fridge. It isn't a big deal though, the grease fryer will take care of the bad stuff.'...I go and complain to the manager, get the same response, except told that I will definitely be cooking that."
Everyone knows that you can't leave out chicken all day, refreeze it, and cook it. Customers could get sick! At fast-food joints, we never know what they are doing. We wish we knew sooner!
Subway Tuna Could Be Sickening
Subway sells tuna sandwiches and salads, and their fish has been at the center of controversy for a while. Some customers tried to sue them claiming there wasn't enough real fish in the dish. That's disturbing enough, but now, we have a new concern. Redditor Reaverx218 claims: "Subway, tuna is literal poison in a container. It is always several days older than expiration. I used to walk on shift and throw it out by look alone."
Poison in a container? No thanks. We will stick to the classic turkey with cheese, please. If employees can't follow the rules of food safety, we don't want a taste.
Better Avoid The 7-Eleven Hotdogs at Night
7-Eleven has always been there for us. When you're in the neighborhood and want a quick bite, this chain is always open by definition. But what should you be eating there, really? Novelty_bone warned: "I'm gonna say any of the taquitos or hotdogs from around midnight up through about 4 or 5 am. Around midnight you can be assured that these are now high-mileage. That hotdog might have more miles than your car."
Our favorite wiener might be better in the morning, we get it. But who wants to eat it then? That's a late-night, drunk food choice. We're disappointed to know the truth!
Five Guys Is Way Grimier Than We Suspected
Rumors keep swirling online that Five Guys might not be the cleanest burger shop around. According to a former employee on Reddit, at least some locations might have problems. Use abcdefg1234t67 says: "I stopped working there after arguing with my manager about food safety and restaurant cleanliness...Some points to my argument: Patties shouldn't sit out for three hours after prep." Now that's not something we would want to eat!
We agree that meat shouldn't sit out for hours. That could present a food safety problem, and we don't want to get sick. The question is, which locations are really doing this?
KFC May Not Change the Oil
We love us some Kentucky Fried Chicken, any day of the week. But that's assuming it's freshly fried, as oxymoronic as that sounds. We now find out that may not be the case. Past worker JoeB_302 says: "At KFC, we were supposed to change the fryer oil every couple days. Our penny-pinching manager had us change it every couple weeks. We'd just skim off the 'floaters' and cover it at night."
That is pretty disturbing info, we must admit. If we're going to get our fingers greasy, we want that grease to be fresh. Are we asking for too much here?
Pizza Hut Allegedly Uses Some Nasty Gunk
Love Pizza Hut? Might be time to reconsider. Redditor soft_nibba_hours says that the ingredients used to make our favorite hot treats are less than appetizing when raw. The former employee shared: "The most upsetting things were the yellow butter-like liquid we slathered on the breadsticks, the spray can of stuff for the crust...and the smell that the store caused the whole dining area to have, which one can only describe as metallic pizza."
We did love those greasy breadsticks, not going to lie. But now that we know the ingredients a little better, we need to rethink our habit.
Outback Doesn't Cook This Fresh
When you go out and spend the big bucks on a steak dinner, you'd like to think you're getting the real deal. Is that so much to ask? Yes, according to Redditor chepalleee: "I worked at an Outback Steakhouse for a little bit. Sometimes we would microwave pre-cooked steaks. A lot of stuff we would advertise made fresh that day, it was frozen and microwaved a majority of the time."
They never said they don't do this, but it just doesn't seem right. Steak is supposed to be fancy, and this just doesn't fit the bill.
There's Just One Thing You Should Skip at Steak N Shake
User AdronScyther strongly advises against ordering the BLT. The former Steak n Shake employee discloses: "I worked at Steak n Shake for a while. Pretty much the only thing I'd never order is a BLT. You're paying like $6 for two pieces of toast and two strips of bacon. The problem is that the BLT is supposed to be made with 4 strips of bacon." Why is this going on? Why, to cut costs, of course.
We're happy to keep ordering everything else on the menu, for sure. But it's good to know that the BLT is not worth our time. From now on, we'll make that at home!
Red Lobster Doesn't Really Replace Things
Redditor Cleighrhas some bad news for anyone who thought they were getting good service at Red Lobster. Ever sent back an item because it wasn't quite right? The Reddit waitress shared: Manager isn't gonna let us throw that away, and they aren't ordered all that often so unless another order for one was on the screen, the sauce got scraped/rinsed off and back on the grill it went for a minute or two."
Wait, they've been rearranging our rejected food? That is a serious food offense. We bet that other restaurants try this sneaky trick, too, though.
Panera Bread Soup Isn't up to Our Standards
Demonic_Toaster warns that the soup process at your favorite Panera Bread isn't that sanitary. How so? The casual dining veteran admits: "Soups were frozen in a bag and shipped. They were thawed using a 're-thermalizer,' a sink full of heating elements that boiled water. Yeah well, that sink wasn't cleaned out all the time, sometimes bags burst....the pitcher was hardly ever cleaned, if poorly rinsed out could be considered cleaning."
Maybe we thought that greasy burger joints got lazy with cleaning. But Panera? We're a little disappointed to hear this one. Their soup in a bread bowl was so innovative!
Sonic Isn't That Careful Behind the Scenes
Not everyone can eat the same food, and that's just the way it is. If you have allergies, you always have to be careful dining out. But can you eat at Sonic? Worker AntProtein warns: "If you're allergic to any kind of food be weary, onions are in the same dressing station as the rest of the condiments and cross-contamination is not our problem. The same goes for peanuts with the shakes."
Sounds like Sonic is just another fast food place among many that don't have the practices we hope. If you've got allergies, this might not be the place for you. Few places are, sadly!
The Hot Chocolate at Dunkin' Is Shady
Dunkin' Donuts has a lot of sugary treats, and we thank them for that. But we might be reconsidering the hot chocolate after this confession. Why is it actually so milky and creamy? Coffeenut617 says: "There are thickening agents in the mix, including Cellulose Gum and Xanthan Gum...Without it, it would probably be a watery product similar to any cheap hot chocolate mix you'd buy for home and mix with hot water."
We think their coffee is probably still amazing, but this hot choco sounds pretty artificial, and that's not warm and comforting.
We No Longer Crave Jack in the Box Tacos
When we're in the mood for Texmex, only tacos will do. But where is the best place to satisfy that craving? Maybe not Jack in the Box, it turns out. A former worker claims that the process is less than fresh, just one step from start to finish. AngusVanhookHinson says: "It comes to the store as meat in a corn tortilla, and it's deep-fried like that. That's why they're so greasy."
Jack in the Box, we're disappointed! We would like to think our tacos are assembled in recent history, but that may not be the case. Who knows when these things were prepared?
Taco Cabana Allegedly Uses Really Old Ingredients
Redditor Swagovich is a secret Taco Cabana worker who thinks customers should know a little more about what is going on at their location. What's so bad? Well, a lot. He explains: "Our manager is really stingy when it comes to throwing away food...he'll just pour a little water in it and there you go, 'fresh' beans! Sometimes when we receive the truck full of veggies the tomatoes are really squishy and brown."
Squishy and brown produce? That is gross, indeed. Lucky for all of us, the chain is only in Texas. Unless you're from Texas. Then, we suggest you watch out!
Movie Theater Popcorn Isn't so Clean
Love buttery movie theater popcorn? One staffer admits that only the most used pieces of the machine are ever cleaned, and you can't see the filth below. Nautilus23 says: "I worked in a movie theatre and found out only two of the inside metal trays of the popcorn machine were cleaned weekly. I took it upon myself...It was lined in the corners with mold probably dating back to when the machine was originally purchased."
Old mold in the popcorn machine? We are sad to hear this one. We don't even like the kind you pop yourself in the microwave. It's just not the same!
Little Caesars Breadsticks Are Filthy
Little Caesars might be the place where you order deals on pizza. We do, too! But after these confessions, we're definitely having some second thoughts. Employee Nico6001 advises: "Don’t ever get the breadsticks at Little Caesar’s. Literally, tons of day-old butter are painted onto the bread. I’ve seen co-workers pick up breadsticks off the ground and put them back in the bag just because they are in a rush."
We don't need breadsticks if they've been on the floor. Employees walk to the bathroom and then walk back to the kitchen station with the same shoes. Thinking about the germs is nauseating!
Edible Arrangements Could Be Secretly Moldy
Reddit hero GreenPandaPower has someting terrible to say about everyone's favorite fruit at Edible Arrangements According to them, the strawberries are never washed, but it gets worse than that. We are appalled, now that we know! The worker admits: "We often get mushy/moldy strawberries from our distributors. If it's just a little bloop of mold (strawberry still looks big and red otherwise) we'll dip it in chocolate and hide the mold."
This is shocking stuff. We know that berries are an expensive ingredient, but we could never imagine that unscrupulous managers would just hide the truth in chocolate. How gross!
Tim Hortons Soup Might Be Rottten
Up north, Tim Hortons is famous for its donuts and coffee. Americans don't get to try it, most of the time. It's considered Canada's best — but is it? Octopus_salad admits: "The soups are frozen (and have found maggots in them before), the sandwiches are alright but it's iffy most of the time. I suggest sticking to the bagels and butter/cream cheese. Those aren't made in store but it's better than pretty much anything else."
We're a little disappointed to hear that the soups are frozen. That's not the worst offense, but maggots? We know they caught them on occasion, but it's disturbing to think they may have missed others. Yikes!
Better Not Get This at Jersey Mike's Subs
Do you really know the truth about Jersey Mike's Subs? It's time for a recommendation from the kitchen. Redditor Dr_Schalke tells us to stick to the cheesesteaks and cold cuts. The former employee recalls: "I worked at Jersey Mike's Subs. The only thing I wouldn't eat is the chicken parmesan. It's a frozen pre breaded chicken patty that we just microwaved for a few mins that just turns to mush in the sandwich."
We're okay with cold cuts, we suppose. Now that we know the chicken patty isn't up to par, we will just stick to salami from now on!
Checkers Chili Never Ends
Love Checkers chili? According to an ex-employee of the chain, you should ever, ever eat the chili. DuctTapeChainsaw explains: "The 'chili' is just the past few days unsold, sat in the heater too long to sell as a hamburger, meat that gets chopped up and thrown in some chili seasoning and beans. The batch of chili was never thrown out, just always sat there getting replenished...some of the chili in there was months old at least."
The idea that there is a never-ending pit of meat really grosses us out. There is a time when it's time to start fresh, in every kitchen. Checkers may not agree, though!
Taco Bell Breakfast Isn't Veg Friendly
We know they have beef all day, but Taco Bell claims to have some vegetarian-friendly items. You may have thought they were on the breakfast menu. But are they? According to worker donkeypunch9000: "The meat products are kept on one side of the hot line, and the veggies on the other side of the cold line. No contact. Exception is bacon, in the mornings, is placed on the veggie side."
We are quite sure that vegetarians don't want veggies that were touching bacon. But the hurried workers may not care about little details like that. They're in fast food, after all!
We No Longer Desire McDonald's Grilled Chicken
CaseyTwist is a former McDonald's cook in Canada. As we suspected, not everything is up to par at every location of this fast-food giant. The Redditor shares: "I've done a 4-hour shift and just forgot to throw out the old grilled chicken and make new ones because nobody ordered it, and it had already went past the timer when I got on so there was no beeping to remind me."
We'd like to think that Mickey D's tries to make their sandwiches fresh since it is already overprocessed. But as it turns out, it might be a double whammy. Yuck!
Just Stick With the Domino's Classics
Domino's has plenty of cheesy, gooey items on its menu. But every once in a while, they come out with a novelty to intrigue us. Is it a good idea to try it? Employee whyamiupattwoam warns us: "At Dominos, don't order the Philly steak or American cheese, it's only used on the sandwiches and one specialty pizza so it usually goes bad and we have to throw it out often."
We're totally okay with the traditional sausage, pepperoni, and veggie mix. There was no need to come out with a steak version of their bestselling pizza. Fresher is better, always!
Burger King Fish Sandwiches Are Potentially Ancient
Burger King sells plenty of burger options, obviously. But for customers sick of beef, they try to push their fish sandwich as an alternative. Should you get adventurous with this option? According to thesituation531: "It's a rectangular piece of fried fish and breading. Absolutely disgusting. They also keep some surplus so they don't have to make it new each time someone orders it, so you may be getting old fish."
If the cook making the fish doesn't want to eat it, we don't either. We'll stick to the flame-broiled burgers and chicken. Maybe fish is better left to the experts!
This Isn't Even Healthy at Jimmy John's
Admit it: Jimmy John's is a place you love to order drunk food. What's better than a sub at 3 am, really? But for those of us who get it at lunch and try to be health-conscious, we have bad news. Worker lolutah warns: "If you're trying to order a healthy option, don't order the Gourmet Veggie Club. It's the second-most caloric sandwich behind something called the 'Gargantuan.' 8 slices of provolone cheese will do that."
It's funny to think that their meat options might actually be better for you. But if you think about the cheese, there's no denying it. It's fatty, even if it's veggie!
Chipotle Tacos Are Not What They Seem
Chipotle is one of our favorite places to get Mexican, quick. But it turns out that some things are a much better deal than others. What should you be avoiding? Past employee KourageWolf advises: "Never ever ever order the tacos. You get less than half the regular portions. Instead, order a bowl with whatever you want in it, then ask for the taco shells, hard or soft, on the side."
We never thought about it before, but it's true. We like the idea of fighting the system. We will get that taco bowl next time, and ask for the shells separately. Great plan!
Nando's Might Have Expired Sauce
Nando's is a chain promoting flame-grilled peri-peri style chicken. In theory, that sounds nice. But after this icky confession about expired condiments, we may stay away. Airpressure recalls: "We had a whole box of takeaway peri peri sauce packets that had passed their expiration date. The manager was so stingy he didn't want to throw them out so he made us all rub off the date so customers wouldn't know."
How cheap can you be? Sauce can't be that expensive, and we expect it to be safe. We wish we knew the location of this particular Nando's, but for now, it remains an internet secret.