16 Fast Food Menu Items Fast Food Employees Say You Should Never, Ever Order
Ordering from a fast food restaurant can sometimes feel like a gamble. You might find what you’re eating to be tasty and delicious, but at the same time, you’re pretty aware that it could be prepared in a gross way, or just completely unhealthy and full of empty calories. You logically know that you shouldn’t eat fast food, or you at least shouldn’t make it a habit, but sometimes it seems worth it. And can the stuff really be that disgusting? As it turns out, many fast food employees agree that yeah, it can definitely can be.
In a series of Reddit threads, employees have talked about which menu items you should never order from various fast food chains.
While a lot of these will leave you feeling like you never want to eat fast food again, ever, there is one glimmer of hope: each fast food restaurant is individually owned and operated, meaning that the practices at one store might be completely different than the practices at another store. Basically, one employee’s experience doesn’t equal everyone’s.
Still, it’s a little disconcerting when multiple employees from all over are saying the same thing.
Take a look at which fast food items you should think twice about ordering next time you go out:
1. Don’t order original recipe chicken from KFC right before they close.
Reddit user DaftFunky, who says they worked at KFC in “a small town,” recommends not ordering this menu item shortly before the KFC is closing.
They warned, “You might get chicken that was in the heat oven several hours old, or worse, from the ‘dropped on the floor’ bucket of chicken.”
Actually, one common warning from many users was to avoid ordering pretty much anything right before a fast food place is closing: cooks are cleaning and they want to leave, which means they’re more haphazard with your food and don’t put much effort into it.
2. Avoid the Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s.
Many Reddit users who said they were McDonald’s employees advised against ever ordering a Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Reddit user wuhjoh1 said, “Don’t order the fish filet because 9/10 the burger has been sitting in the tray for an hour+.”
Basically, the fish filet sandwich isn’t as popular as the rest of the menu, which means that it doesn’t get changed out as often as, say, a burger or fries.
According to employees, when you order one, you could be getting something old that’s just been sitting under a heat lamp all day. That’s not really the best idea with fish!
3. Skip the veggie burger at Culver’s.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you probably don’t want to take advantage of Culver’s veggie option, as it may not be quite as meat-free as it seems.
Reddit user SlyCoopersButt, says, “I work at Culver’s. DO NOT order a veggie burger from a fast food place. We keep our veggie patties frozen in the back of our freezer and when someone orders one we’ll nuke it in the microwave for half a minute to thaw it and cook it on a grill that’s been used to cook beef patties all day whilst making jokes about how disgusting the veggie burgers are. I can pretty much guarantee that this is the case for almost every fast food place that offers veggie burgers.”
4. Wait a while before going to Taco Bell during the day.
If you have a serious craving for Taco Bell for lunch, you might want to put it off a bit.
According to Reddit user __PM_ME_ANYTHING, everything will be old right after they first open their doors.
They said, “[The food is] all carried over from the night before.” If you don’t mind leftover and reheated fast food, then by all means, walk in there as soon as they flip the “closed” sign to “open.” But if you want something more fresh, you might be better off being patient.
5. Never get ice, no matter where you are.
One comment that popped up on almost every Reddit thread about fast food employees was this one, which a user who has since deleted their account left:
“Get your drinks with no ice. Can’t tell you the number of ice machines I’ve seen with mold and dead flies in the bottom.”
Many other employees agreed, saying they never wash the ice machines or only do it very sparingly. You might be safer with warm soda.
6. You probably don’t want the dipped cones at McDonald’s.
As you know, McDonald’s offers a bunch of delicious looking dessert options along with their regular meal menu items. However, some may be a little less sanitary than others. Reddit user Evie566 said, “I worked at McDonald’s for about a month. Don’t order the dipped cones, they leave the chocolate out all day. The top layer will congeal and they just mix that sh*t back up and still use it. Not to mention at the McDonald’s I worked at, we sprayed the trays off next to the chocolate, so God knows how much chemical gets into it.”
7. You should also hold off on some desserts from Burger King.
Ice cream from a fast food place may seem like a safe bet, because, after all, how much can you mess up something delicious and frozen? As it turns out, you can… a lot.
Reddit user chewbiedoobiedoo said, “Do not order the ice cream or shakes from Burger King, the machines are rarely cleaned… sometimes the shake mix has already expired.”
Basically, it seems like anything at a fast food place that comes out of a machine may be less than sanitary, which is not ideal.
8. You probably won’t want to order the roast beef from Arby’s anymore.
Arby’s is known for their meat sandwiches, but one of their meats might not be exactly what it seems, according to several employees on Reddit.
One user, Lodgik, said, “When we receive the roast beef, it’s not actually solid. It’s a bag of meat paste that solidifies after three hours in the oven.”
They added, “If you order the roast beef in the first few hours of the place opening, you are getting yesterday’s left-over roast beef. It’s just been in the holding oven over night.” Another Reddit user, KevinBaconsBush, agreed, saying, “It’s nothing but a giant hotdog. It’s mechanically separated beef chunks mixed with fat and pressed into a 10 pound lump.” Doesn’t sound too appetizing!
9. Avoid the round eggs at McDonald’s.
If you’re heading to McDonald’s for your breakfast, you may want to rethink ordering some of the eggs that are on the menu.
Reddit user zurako1993 warns against the round eggs, saying, “I recommend not eating the folded eggs they put on their biscuit/steak sandwiches… we do not make those there, they come in plastic wrap initially frozen, and they taste like old eggs.”
So should you avoid all of the eggs at McDonald’s? Not necessarily. The same user recommends getting scrambled eggs or “an Egg McMuffin-style egg,” saying both of those are considerably more fresh.
10. Stop ordering from the secret menu at Starbucks.
If you’ve ever gone on the internet, then you’ve almost definitely heard of the Starbucks “secret menu.” It’s supposedly made up of tons of unique drink combinations that aren’t on their real menu, and they all have their own names.
A lot of people will walk into a Starbucks and order one of these, but employees are literally begging you not to.
Reddit user stac52 said that the secret menu doesn’t exist, adding, “If you want a snickerdoodle, Nutella, or Captain Crunch Frappuccino (or whatever other overly sugary thing someone has since come out with), know the base drink and the modifications, and order that. If you just say the name, it’s up to the barista to come up with what’s in the drink, and it may not be what the last barista you ordered from put in there.”
11. Milkshakes at Jack In The Box could give you an allergic reaction.
Craving a milkshake? Don’t order one from Jack In The Box if you’re allergic to fruit.
Reddit user RingoTheCraftySquid said, “We do not clean the mixer very well, and it’s used for smoothies and milkshakes.
Like, we’re told to just half-ass it. In the training video.” Basically, your milkshake that doesn’t actually appear to have fruit in it could have the remnants of fruit in it from the smoothie made right before.
12. Think twice before ordering chicken nuggets from McDonald’s.
Chicken nuggets are a really popular item at McDonald’s, but that doesn’t mean they’re made fresh for every customer.
Like most fast food places, they’re made, then placed under a heater.
Reddit user Ritch88 said, “I used to work at McDonald’s. If you order, especially chicken nuggets, just ask for them fresh. Otherwise they’ve been just sitting in their container in the heat. They have a time, but 9/10 times when the timer goes off, people just reset the timer instead of making new ones. This could go on until all the nuggets are sold.” That goes for more than just nuggets!
13. Skip the beans at Taco Bell.
Since Taco Bell is a Mexican-inspired fast food place, you might think that their beans are something they’re known for. Not really.
Reddit user bobby_smith_, who says they’ve been working at Taco Bell for about a year and a half, recommends avoiding the beans.
They said, “Our beans come bagged. To prep is pour the bag into a pan and add water and somehow it turns into beans after 45 minutes? Not a fan.” A few other users agreed.
14. Be aware that all of the food at Starbucks has been frozen.
Starbucks offers a variety of bakery items, as well as things like sandwiches and eggs.
You can order the stuff, but if you’re looking for something fresh and free of preservatives, you may not want to.
Reddit user likeabaker said, “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.”
15. Reconsider ordering the chili from Wendy’s.
One of Wendy’s signature menu items is their chili, but a lot of employees advised against ordering it. Why?
Many said that the meat used in the chili is leftover hamburger patty meat and not anything fresh or different.
Still, many other employees said it’s perfectly fine. Reddit user Umbreonnnnn said, “The chili is fine, yes it’s old burger patties that didn’t sell, but that’s what you’re supposed to do with leftover hamburger.” If you don’t mind the fact that the meat may be a little bit old, then go for it.
16. Avoid the ice cream at Sonic.
Is ice cream safe at any fast food place?! Apparently not. Reddit user SailoLee said, “Used to work at Sonic. Unless you’re absolutely sure someone is cleaning [the machine], don’t eat the ice cream. No one in the store I worked at received any training on maintenance, and when I became a manager I scheduled a large amount of people to handle the front one night just so I could clean it without interruption. It was disgusting, mold everywhere.”