"Directly under our broiler was the main access point for the restaurant's drain. Think of it as a rectangular manhole tiled to fit in with the floor.
One really busy Saturday the toilets backed up to the point where the pressure under this cover was great enough to lift it up. This resulted in sewage water, poop and toilet paper floating through the kitchen.
The manager refused to shut the restaurant, even with myself and most of the staff refusing to continue working. It was only when the junk started floating out to the front counter that she stopped serving food."
"I watched this really slow guy drool all over the burger he was making. A guy had a scab fall into the bun toaster and get toasted with the bun so he gave it to the customer. Some really large customer came behind the line and started helping himself to fries with his bare hands and no one cared but me. I've seen two male employees fool around on the prep table during the overnight shift. McChickens weren't that popular so we kept the super old ones for horrible buttholes and gave them bad McChickens. Sometimes they had mold on them. We used to spit on burgers for the really vile customers. I heard of a guy who threw a mouse into the fryer to watch him burn alive. Poor mouse.
One day we purposely squeezed as much grease out of the burgers as possible for one day just to see how much grease we could collect (its a crapton, like 20-30 gallons, at least), then we had chicken nugget food fights when we weren't busy."
Rachel L. Sellers/Shutterstock
"When I worked at Wendy's, we once had this couple come in, a little past middle age. You could smell them from probably 5-6 feet away. Both of them looked pretty disgusting. They had a lot of cash and ordered a bunch of food to go. Both of them were pretty huge, and I remember the guy was wearing these gigantic denim overalls, really worn out. As we're making the food and I'm bagging it, the guy seemed kind of uncomfortable and made some grunting noises and was breathing heavily. I thought it was weird but didn't say anything. After they got their food, as they were walking out, the guy started tugging at the upper leg of one side of his overalls, and as he's walking out hard little pieces of feces are just coming out of his pant leg onto the floor, like the rocks in 'Shawshank Redemption.' There was this trail of crap all the way out the door. We were all so grossed out and shocked that no one said anything for a good minute after they left. Now mind you, they ordered a pretty good amount of food, all of which was made fresh - this man had plenty of time to use our restroom if he wanted. Also, who the heck just craps on the floor of Wendy's?!"
"I worked at a McDonald's for a little over a year. One of my cleaning tasks (mind you this is between handing out people's food) was to get down on the floor with a long-handled scrub brush and clean underneath the automatic drink machine. I...I saw things, man. There were several times I had to peel three-inch long jelly-like things covered in mold and slime. I swear they were alive, some kind of worm or something. They...wiggled. I'd scrub the black, moldy, inch thick soda blanket with a heavy combo of lye and degreaser, then I'd jump up and hand someone their food. We complained to management that they couldn't make us handle bio-hazards and food at the same time. They responded by giving us more messes to clean.
Also, I just remembered when the tubing in the creamer machine busted and whoever broke it just cleaned the visible part, leaving the mess to sit underneath all the stuff on the counter overnight. When we traced the smell back. Well, let's just say you're a different person after you spend two hours soaking up curdled creamer."
"My professor worked at KFC when he was in college. They had a manager that did not like to throw out chicken. One day he told the manager the chicken was starting to go bad when the manager said he'd take care of it. He later saw his manager spraying down the meat with a bleach solution; sure, regulations have changed, but how much?"
"I worked 3 years at McDonald's. Let's see...We used to leave particular pieces of meat in the heating trays all day, these were placed on crappy customer's burgers. Killed a fly with the spatula and put it in someone's burger. Not washed my hands for a whole shift. You should see what the McRib looks like before we prep them. I've dumped a whole grease trap on my foot before and had to work the rest of the shift like that. Someone dropped a piece of meat in the grease trap by accident, pulled it out, wiped it off and used it. Our managers ALWAYS had us replace expiration dates on everything. Unloading trucks once this guy took a carton of eggs and hid it for a couple months (outside of the fridge) then used them all after about 2 solid months sitting out. I don't know how many times I've seen people sneeze on the prep line and keep going. The playground areas are especially gross. Our managers forgot to clean the shake machine for a couple months - fermented dairy in its finest. I didn't shave the scruff on my face one day so they made me dry shave in the bathroom with a crappy disposable blade - blood everywhere while working on the line. We usually put the least capable people in charge of washing dishes. Ya know, the ones that can't properly take someone's order? Guess how well they did cleaning dishes. If we didn't sell all the breakfast burritos for one day we would use them the next day, or possibly the next after that."
"So, I'm expressly not cool with Fight Club styled 'food service terrorism,' but my buddy didn't have my scruples, and we were working for what amounted to a couple college of dudes with too much money who opened a restaurant so they could mess around with the servers at late-night parties. That is, they were massive buttholes, and I can't say they didn't have this coming to them for their behavior, but it's still so messed up I have to caveat it with all that -
One of these managers would come in on Friday nights, in the middle of the rush, order the most complex meal they could think of (special order stuff), usually for them and their girlfriend, and expect it first, faster than anything else that had come in before them. Well, he asked for it to be spicy, really spicy. He said these words to us, on the line: 'Hurt me!'
Yeah, you think you know where this is going, but you don't. Sure, we piled heat upon heat upon heat - you can really make things spice up when you have Thai chili's on hand, but here's what you didn't expect. After we'd gotten the sauce hot, and the pan itself was searing hot with his steak, my buddy took the scorching hot saucepan into the back room, and he freaking PEED IN IT, then brought that back, and reduced the pee into a sauce, which he then served over the steak and whatnot to the guy and his girlfriend.
I'm not kidding, we served it to that jerk before our buddy told us what he did (we thought he got a nice wine or something). To be clear, I was not cool with how this went down, but after the fact, you can't do much but laugh.
After the meal, the owner came back and freaking THANKED US, told us it was the best meal he'd had in a long time and made some empty promises that of course never came to fruition.
Moral of the story? Don't freaking tick off your line's cooks in a gourmet restaurant when you have no idea what you're doing because we do. We know exactly what we're doing, and how to make food taste like whatever we want."
Rudy van der Veen/Pexels
"I worked with these guys that would feed seagulls outside of the drive-thru window. Once they wrapped an Alka Seltzer in a piece of cheese and the result was rather gruesome for one bird. The removal of the poor creature's remains, and the hosing of the dustpan thereafter, was probably the most disturbing part."
"I used to work at a Subway at the local hospital and had this girl come in with her friend (didn't seem like patients or faculty, assumed they were visiting). They both ordered and got their toppings and whatnot, and then one of them wanted mayo on her sub. And by mayo, she meant she wanted the whole TUBE of mayo on her sub. She kept telling me, 'Keep going, keep going' until the whole tube was almost gone. She would have gotten the whole darn thing if her friend hadn't have looked up from her phone and saw what she was having me do and yelled, 'That is nasty! You don't need that much!' and then I was finally told to stop. When I closed (or, tried closing) the sandwich, almost all of the mayo came out from the sides but she still wanted it. I wrapped it up for her and rung her up. To this day, that is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen someone want on their food. Not just subs, but food in general. Now I can't even eat mayo anymore without thinking about almost a tub of it oozing out of the sides of a sandwich. Gross, it still haunts me to this day."
"We used to sell expired cheese. Our manager told us just to toast it, and it would be okay. Most of the time I just told customers we were out, but there was this one girl from my high school whom I hate that came in every day... Girl ate rotten cheese for about two months straight."
"I used to work at a fast food place that after a while ended up with a mouse problem. The owners hired someone to come in and take care of them, but he did a poor job. The mice would sometimes get into the traps, but apparently, he had also sprayed poison some places. If the poison actually killed any of these critters, we never saw those. We did, however, see the ones that were unlucky enough to survive this ordeal. And smell them. It would be in the middle of the day and mice would come walking out from under counters or workstations very slowly and they stunk like death. I called them zombie mice because they smelled like they should be dead, were gross looking and just moved very lethargically. They also didn't really seem to be afraid of people anymore. I had swept up a couple and tossed them out the back into the grass, I figured they'd probably wander off and die. Others I think got tossed in the dumpster. The worst was when I was at the dish station filling orders and my cook was standing in front of her fryers and a mouse fell from the freaking ceiling almost hitting her on the head. We both freaked out and the thing just kind of stood there."
A. and I. Kruk/Shutterstock
"I used to work at McDonald's and at the end of every shift we had to count our waste. Waste is things like sandwiches that were returned, food from that had been through 2-3+ warming cycles, cooked/raw food that fell on the floor, etc.
All of this wonderfulness would get tossed in this red bucket throughout the shift and at the end of the shift, the person in drive-thru (me) would have to count it all and log it. This food, cooked and raw would sit in this bucket for hours, dirt would get in the bucket if you can imagine what that looked like - it's one of the nastiest things I've seen and touched.
Now imagine some dude making minimum wage, tired, wanting to go home in the middle of the night, stuck counting a big bucket of nasty mess and that's when you pull up to pay for your order. This guy is going to put his disgusting bucket down, ring you up, cash you out and then go back to counting waste without missing a beat. All that disgusting filth he touched is now on your money/credit card/hand!"
"I worked at McDonald's. Trust me, you do not want your kids playing in that play area ball pit. I have seen all manner of disgusting human waste and feces mixed around in that thing.
See, if an employee is notified that a child has had an accident in the pit, or if we see an issue, we are required to notify management. At that time the ball pit will be closed for cleaning. Here's the catch: frequently, if you report that you know of a waste issue in the pit, you will be asked to help clean it up, so employees would just keep it to themselves to avoid having to get involved. This allows the issue to grow, and avoidance increases accordingly. Nobody wants to clean up the entire disgusting mess that is the Playland ball pit.
This was almost 20 years ago, so who knows how they handle it now, but if I had a kid, no freaking way."
"We had an older regular customer that would come in all the time. Well, one day, she comes in mumbling to herself saying 'It's coming, it;s coming' Now we were used to her mumbling to herself but didn't think much of it. About two minutes later this horrible smell hits. Then she comes out of the bathroom covered in poo from her neck all over her side and hands, obviously the back of her pants, and shoes. She goes through the little curvy handrail, happily wiping it all over everything and wanted to place an order. I told her as gently as I could that she needed to leave and go clean up first, then she could come back and order. I finally get her out of the store, look down and see that she had liquid poo starting from the door in a trail all the way to the bathroom. I throw the keys to one of my employees and had them lock the doors so no one could get in until we could clean it up. I finally walk into the bathroom, and she apparently was trying to scoop this out of her pants and what not and had wiped it all over - it was everywhere. I got in trouble from my DM because I shut the dining room down for about 45 minutes so we could use chemicals to clean the dining room up. I had deemed it a health hazard with fecal matter all over the floor, the front counter, the handrails and the carpet."
"Back in my college days, I used to be a floor manager at a McDonald's. The primary manager allowed workers to come in even if they were sick. I see one of the cooks one day start vomiting on the floor between two of the stoves, wipe their mouth on their sleeve and keep on working. I complained to the store manager but he wouldn't hear it."
"I worked at a Jimmy John's in a college town. The restaurant was located within walking distance of several bars, and we were one of the only places in town open after last call, so naturally, we had an abundance of idiots come through. One night, an extremely messed up girl walked in and instead of going into the restroom, she walked into the kitchen across the hall. My manager saw this out of the corner of his eye and went to go tell her she wasn't allowed in the kitchen. We couldn't find her at first, but then we opened the walk-in cooler to find her squatting down with her panties around her ankles peeing on the floor. Somehow she was so out of it it was enough to mistake a freezing metal room filled with vegetables and lacking any toilets for a bathroom stall."
"A few weeks after I started at Arby's, an old employee got a shift on probation (with the store) after not getting a shift for a few months. Most stressful shift of my life. For context: it was in a mall so we had 3 people working; this guy making sandwiches, my supervisor on till, and myself on the frier.
-When he came in he didn't wash his hands until I reminded him.
-He comes back from the washroom, I asked him if he had washed his hands. I get 'uhh yeah' as he shuffles to the back and washes his hands.
-He freaking reeked. Hygiene of any kind was a mystery to this guy
-His workstation was a mess. He managed to drop or spill everything he touched so after like 10 orders the food prep area was covered in everything. Everywhere he went he left a trail of grime in his wake.
After his shift ended (thankfully only 4 hours and not 8), I cleaned every single thing that he had touched. He was fired. The manager was less than impressed that the new guy had to constantly remind the experienced guy to wash his hands and tidy up."
Alan Poulson Photography/Shutterstock
"I was at a fancy restaurant and there was this sophisticated looking old man who specifically asked the waiters for a large extra dining plate.
He dined with good manners and you could tell that he knew his way around a formal dining setting. All's well except for one thing: he disliked swallowing his meals.
He'd use the extra plate he asked for as a container for all the ground-up food he'd been chewing and it'd just build up into a big pile of mashed food."
"I worked at Hardee's in high school and one of my coworkers was tasked with dumping bacon grease into our oil barrel out back. We cooked the bacon in an oven on sheet pans and drained the left-over grease into a five-gallon bucket until it was full. A full bucket was quite heavy, so the preferred technique for transport was to grip the bucket's wire handle with both hands and waddle towards the barrel. The poor guy took maybe 5 steps before the wire handle detached and sent the bucket hurtling towards the floor. The drop was only 1 or 2 feet, but upon contact with the floor, the entire contents of the bucket shot upward and covered him from knees to paper hat with thick, congealed goo. We all turned to see what happened, he stood still for a few seconds while saying nothing, then walked briskly over to the time clock, punched out, and left. He reported back the next day like nothing happened."
"Back at my first store, one of the other managers was a 60+ woman who had very little in the way of social awareness. This came to a head when she was covering for a server on a busy shift. She had an itch, so she had to scratch. The problem was that she just lifted her shirt and went for it, in the middle of the store, in front of a bunch of families. There was a lot of comping that night."
"At the end of the night, we throw out all the old food that's been sitting in the Product Holding Unit (PHU) and wash the pans, then put them back for the next day's shift. 10.5 hours later, the cooks come in and start prepping the food for lunch.
We serve a lady a Tendergrill sandwich and continue working. Then someone goes, 'Joe did you cook Tendergrill this morning? Greg, did you cook Tendergrill this morning?' They couldn't figure out who cooked the Tendergrill. That's because they didn't cook it. It was left over from last night's food that they missed when throwing everything out and this poor lady out in the dining room has it.
We couldn't just go up and tell her what happened, so I casually went out and asked if everything tasted good and all she said was it tasted a little dry. We replaced it with a fresh patty and she was fine with it."
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
"When I was 16, my first job was as a drive-thru guy at Taco Bell. After working there for about a year I was pretty darn good at my job. One night during our prime rush hour I hear one of the ladies that worked on the steam table making your food screaming bloody murder in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish so I had no idea what she was screaming about, to be honest, I thought she had cut herself or something. I walked over to see what had happened and found out that a giant rat had jumped into the steam table, run across it and fell into the steak and died.
I later learned that what she was screaming was 'A RAT A RAT' in Spanish."
"One of the servers got off and her parents came to pick her up, bringing the dog with them. The manager on duty decided it would be alright to bring the dog in the back door of the restaurant, the one that leads right to the kitchen while wearing her black apron. Dog hair everywhere, including in the food after it started falling off her apron, and she wanted me to take the blame for it (I wasn't even there)!"
"I work at a McDonalds' as a crew member. I once found the bathrooms flooded and had to unclog the toilet responsible with my hand. I was literally elbow deep in the toilet when I found a Burger King cup was clogging it. Not a good day.
In relation to food, I once saw someone go without washing their hands while handling food for about 3 hours straight (everyone else washes them every 20-30 mins, as we don't use gloves other than for frozen food). "
"Our dining room closed at 8 because we were in a rough neighborhood. 8:05 some dude was banging on the door wanting in. I shook my head and told him no. He waived $40 at me, begging to go to the bathroom. Hmmmm, well just this once. I open the door, he runs past me throwing money on the floor and to the bathroom (he was an older guy, probably in his mid 50's, I didn't feel too threatened, although I could have lost my job, but hey, I needed money). SO here I am all happy, I have 40 bones in my pocket when my dining room closer was like, 'What's that?!' I look down and see little rabbit turds all through the dining room leading to the bathroom. CRAP! More poo. This kid closing the dining room grabs the wet floor cones and starts marking them like he is a freaking crime scene investigator, telling me it's my fault and he isn't going to clean it up. It's ok, I just made 40 bucks, I will pooper scoop. After about 20 minutes, we realized old dude hasn't come out, so we crack the door open, 'Are you ok in there?' He asked for some trash bags. He double bags his tighty whiteys, his shoes, and his undershirt and gives me $20 more dollars on the way out the door with an apology."
"We always wondered why the milkshake machine rumbled and didn't seem to like working when you needed it to. Turns out that there was a pretty sizeable leak inside the machine that meant the mix was dripping all down the thing.
When we popped it open to look, it was like solid stalactites of cheese, but liquid cheese mixed with grease and chilled to turn into an amorphous liquid. Seriously that stuff stunk, wouldn't come up clean, and clung to everything it touched. The management didn't care as the machine technically worked as needed.
Thankfully we got a new machine very recently, but not before we'd carried on using the previous one for a good year after finding out about the leak inside."
"I worked at Friendly's for many years.
There were these four old ladies who came in once. They ate Fishamajigs and the free senior sundaes. On the way out one said: 'I left a bit of a mess in the bathroom, sorry.' Poop. Poop everywhere. She missed on the way to the toilet, so it was like floor, toilet seat, gigantic poop water monsoon in the toilet. We had one single bathroom each for men and women as it was a small store so we had to send the women to the men's room as we cleaned this horrible mess in the middle of the dinner rush. The guy who cleaned it had to pause to puke in the sink.
Also, all of my friends fooled around with each other in a) the freezer b) the dry room or c) the office. My best friend lost her virginity on the checks."
"Honestly, the customers are disgusting. There have been a few cases where a moldy something might get shipped in but we dispose of it immediately. Everything is cleaned and sanitized at least daily if not every four hours like its supposed to be. But yeah, after all the things I've had to clean up from customers, like smeared poop, a puke clogged sink, used tampons left on the bathroom floor, food and garbage thrown all around their table and left, customers in the drive-thru trying to give me their trash in their car to make room for the food they just ordered, etc."
"I work at Tim Hortons and so, being a coffee place and all, I've had to deal with a lot of messes involving cream and milk, and even better, crusty cream and milk.
I've also encountered a lot of blood on the job. I went to clean the washrooms one day and there was blood dripping down the urinal and the 'water' was blood red. I've also been handed handfuls of coins coated in blood and/or feces and/or god knows what."
"I worked for a few fast food places in college. One of the more baffling/gross things I ever saw was when I went to clean the men's restroom. Two teenagers burst out of the door as I was entering. Apparently, they had been spitting their chew juice at the handicap stall door for sometime before I came in."