"I used to work at Taco Bell for a few years. Stay away from items containing beans or steak. The beans are made from a rehydrated mix of ingredients and when the steak sits too long then it starts to take on the consistency of hair gel."
"There have been some changes to the menu in the last 4 years, but I would order anything from Wendy's except for the baked potatoes. Only because they're hit and miss. You never know how fresh the potato will be. Also don't order the chili. It's made from hamburger meat from the grill that has not been used. The meat gets collected in a container until there is enough to make a batch of chili with rehydrated beans and water."
"Former Starbucks worker here. Please don't order anything off the 'Secret Menu.' It doesn't exist. If you want a snickerdoodle, nuttella, or captain crunch frappuchino (or whatever other overly sugery 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."
"I worked at KFC for about 4 years. The BBQ sandwich is actually made from chicken too old and stale to give to the homeless shelters, so they soak it in BBQ sauce until it can be pulled and then they keep it on the heater for a month."
"I work for McDonald's and make sure everyone that matters to me never orders anything that comes out of the "McCafe" machine as these are routinely neglected, in practically all the McDonalds. All McCafe beverages run through a horrifically dirty machine (we're talking 5 plus inches of uncleaned, liquid bullshit making up its inside parts) and the smoothies have glass cleaner in them (this might not be the case at every McDonalds, but it certainly is at mine). I work nights so unless I really hate the person coming in, I try to play it off like these machines are in their 'automatic cleaning cycles' and can't be used, but really I can't morally justify serving people this (dangerously) sh_tty stuff."
"I used to work at Panera. Don't order the pasta; it's all microwaved (this includes mac and cheese). Don't order smoothies or frozen drinks either; they all use this nasty base crap that smells and it's sticky. Cupcakes and coffee cakes all come frozen. Soups are all pre-made and frozen too. Best items are the real sandwiches, paninis and salads. They use real ingredients and are usually fresh. Just whatever you do, don't order the steak & blue cheese salad or the lobster sandwich. Trust me."
"I worked at Subway from 2010-12. Only thing I have to say is that the packaged tuna and seafood used to have a label on it that said it didn't contain dolphin or turtles in the meat, then that label suddenly disappeared in 2012."
"I used to work at McDonalds. 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 timer, but 9/10 times when that timer goes off, people just reset the timer instead of making new ones. This could go on until all the nuggets are sold."
"Used to work at Sonic. It's actually a really clean place--ice machine cleaned daily, oil replaced daily. Our burgers seem to be good quality, we grill them and put them in bins, if they've been sitting for like 30 mins we just threw them out. The chicken on the other hand, well, first of all it isn't real chicken; and it sits for much longer b/c of lack of orders and lack of stocked up chicken in general. All the fries and popcorn chicken are prepared well. The only thing along those lines is the corndogs; you could certainly get one that really isn't fresh. Our hotdogs are prepared on one of the roller things and you won't get one that has been sitting for more than 20 mins because they just burn up."
"If you're allergic to fruit, don't order the milkshakes at Jack In The Box. 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. The training video specifically tells us not to bother cleaning too much. It's f_cking ridiculous."
"Don't order the complementary salad at Olive Garden. It's the only thing in our restaurant that comes 95% pre-made, with the exception being the tomatoes, which are cut at 8:30am-9am and are expected to last all day. Everything is technically 'refrigerated' but the fridge is always left open, since we go through salad so fast. Chicken anything. We go through chicken really fast, so if a particular kind isn't thawing fast enough in the walk-in, we leave a whole tray of it sitting underneath an oven (raised oven; it's not on the floor), sometimes up to 3 hours. Fried anything. I don't know how often the frying oil is changed, but judging by the color... ugh. I know it smells rancid. I don't know which dishes this comes with, but the potato and pepper mixture, which is fried, will often have pieces of pepper in it that have started to rot. Not growing-mold rotten, but definitely soft-discolored rotten. I don't do this, but I know every other prep cook at my location does. On the other hand, all of our breadsticks are made no more than 15 minutes before you consume them and are kept warm until your waiter picks them up. They're also 140 calories each, WITHOUT butter, but hey. Whatcha gonna do. All of our soups are quite fresh, and all of the vegetables in them are fresh. 90% of them have been cut that same day. Sauces like pesto, toscano tomato, garlic hummus and our aioli will always be quite fresh. The pesto, and all of our tomato sauces sans marinara sauce are made from scratch in house. The breaded eggplant will ALWAYS be the freshest thing on the menu. It's the only item I'm aware of that MUST BE USED THE SAME DAY IT'S MADE. Everything else can be kept in the walk-in anywhere from 2-7 days. Don't worry, the only item that's kept for 7 days is our seasoned roasting oil. Actually, come to think of it, the breaded eggplant is fried in our rancid oil pit of filth, so I take back what I said about it being fresh. Overall, it seems like Olive Garden is one of those places that's really determined by management. The whole kitchen is incredibly organized, and it's incredible that we can serve the amount of food that we do with so few kitchen staff, so I think that OG's corporate system (Darden) is pretty good at what they do. I just happen to work at a location with an insane and incompetent manager."
"I worked at Chick-fil-a. Almost all of the food is great and prepared properly and on that day, the ice machines are cleaned everyday, the refrigerators that house the chicken at least once a week, and even the spouts that the soft drinks come out of are sanitized daily. The cookers and fry machines are moved once a week to clean behind and under them to make sure pest have nothing to munch on. The lemonade is hand made (fresh squeezed lemons in the juicer in the back), as is the tea (it's actually brewed). Then I have also worked at a fine dinning restaurant--Ruth's Chris. The ice machine was never washed for the year I was there, lemons were picked up and put in glasses by the unwashed hands of servers and bussers, and the kitchen would leave stuff out over night without putting it in the fridge, then use it the next day--'lemon juice and baking soda can make anything smell good again.' Some of the chefs here even told me that this was one of the cleaner restaurants they had worked at."
"I used to work in a baseball park concession stand. The short answer is not to order anything, but if you absolutely have to buy something, don't buy the hotdogs. Do. not. Buy. The. Hot. Dogs. They made it out of the package okay, and might even have been edible after we finished grilling them--and then they went into the water. We kept three pans of water at the back of the grill that held the hot dogs. Any hot dogs left at the end of the day went back into the fridge and came out again the next day. Me and the other cook put our feet down on throwing out the water and old hotdogs after two full days, but the management didn't want to let us. Oh, and our freezer broke so all the meet got stored in the ice bin. And our management always told us when the surprise health inspectors were gonna show up, usually a week or so in advance."
"I've worked at four restaurants in my life and lemons and ice are by far the most disgusting things you can get."
"The egg white delight is just as unhealthy, if not more so, than the regular round eggs. The amount of butter (at least in my store) sprayed on the grill must up the calorie and fat count like crazy. I've heard a cook say, 'shouldn't have come to McDonald's if you're trying to lose weight!' while soaking the inside of the egg white ring with layer upon layer of butter. Also, I'd recommend a regular round egg any day. The liquid eggs for the scrambled and egg whites are a chemical sh_tstorm. At least the round egg is the real deal."
"Former bartender here...don't eat the olives on the bar. Just don't."
"Don't confuse sh_tty restaurants with sh_tty management at fast food joints. A well run McDonalds will have spotless food, fresh products up constantly and everything cleaned routinely. A poorly run one will be god awful and disgusting. But really though, those lemons have been sitting out all day. Stop ordering them."