Perkins
Perkins

"The scrambled eggs. The five-gallon bucket of mixed egg sits in the hot kitchen all day, then at the end of the day, more egg is added to it to fill it back up and it is put away for the next day. The kitchen manager is the only one that can make the call to empty the bucket and clean it. He goes by smell to make the decision."

Red Lobster
Red Lobster

"Do not eat the pasta. They microwave the noodles in plastic bags and the sauce in plastic cups, melting the plastic in both and a guy like me has to pick the bits of plastic out with his fingers. Don't pay twelve dollars for a plate of microwaved spaghetti fingered by high school dropouts."

McDonald’s
McDonald’s

"I worked at McDonald's for almost 3 years, 6 months as a manager. Everything was, for the most part, fine. If you go outside of peak hours you'll probably get something that has been sitting in a warmer for an hour or more. That being said, there were a few things I would not be caught dead with:

1) Filet-o-fish. On the box of frozen patties, the ingredients say, 'Pollock and/or other fish.' I have no idea what 'other fish' could be.

2) Any of the juices. On a particularly slow evening, I decided to clean the nozzles. They were absolutely covered with mold. Oh, and we only got the machine about 6 months before. As far as I know, the one previous was NEVER cleaned.

3) McDonald's salads. It was probably just the place I worked at that was a craphole, but I was yelled at once because I threw out a bucket of shredded cheese that had maggots in it. Apparently, I should have scraped them off and used the rest.

4) Ice cream. My first day on the job, they were showing me how to clean the ice cream machine. Apparently, it hadn't been cleaned in months and people just kept resetting the machines clean cycle. I was twisting off nozzles and noticed it was blocked. I had assumed a little ice cream built up a that's it. Nope. About a hundred or more maggots were caked in the machine."

TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays

"It's almost all frozen: your lobster, soup, veggies - all microwaved. If any of your food isn't hot enough, microwave. Plus, if you order fries, anyone who walks through the kitchen and sees the plate on expo probably ate a good portion of them.

At my restaurant, they kept cooked and raw meat literally right next to each other, but wondered why people complained about getting sick. All around distasteful.

Also, anything 'vegetarian' actually isn't. All the soups have meat or meat bases in them.

And 85% of the time, your food has been touched by hands that likely weren't recently washed. Plating the food before it's served means one of the staff touched it with bare hands because they're too lazy to use gloves. I never ate anything there when I worked there.

I always felt bad for customers who ordered the Oreo Madness for dessert. Costs something like $6.50, for literally just one relatively small Klondike Oreo ice cream sandwich, taken out of its individual packaging, and slapped on a plate with some powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.

Just go to Walmart and you can buy a whole box for half the price."

Taco Bell
Taco Bell

"Worked at Taco Bell for way too long. Do not eat at the Taco Bell on Colfax Ave in Denver. Employees never wash their hands, and like to play a little game of 'hide the mucus and/or body hair.' They have been cited multiple times for health code violations and people getting very sick from the food. A couple of scumbag acquaintances of mine work there and told me that the manager apparently thinks it's hilarious.

Obviously, nothing is top of the line, but I never ate anything with beans or red sauce. They sit out, get all nasty and crusty, and then the workers just pour hot water in it. By the end of the day, it's just recycled crusties. The beans aren't as bad because they go through more, but that red sauce is disgusting.

Red sauce is in the Mexican pizzas, burrito supremes, bean burritos, etc, and again, avoid that at all costs. Also, don't eat Taco Bell first thing in the morning. I don't mean the breakfast stuff, but the Tacos and burrito type stuff. All the ingredients are from the night before and are 'rehydrated' with hot water to make them 'ply-able' for use the next day. Always wait until 3/4 of the way thru the lunch rush to get the 'fresh' ingredients.

By fresh, of course, I mean cooked in a factory somewhere and semi-dehydrated until 'rehydrated' at the restaurant."

Church’s Chicken
Church’s Chicken

"Never order Church's Chicken tenders if you're in the Vancouver area. I don't know about other areas, but when I worked there, they'd ship the things to us frozen in bags. Just a pile of raw chicken breast strips, entangled with each other, frozen in a lump in a bag. As they thawed, much of the meat would liquefy because the ice crystals ripped through it as it froze. So when the ice melted, it couldn't hold itself together and became goo. Then, instead of draining it, we were told to just dump the contents of the thawed bag into a pan and keep that in the fridge. The meat would sit in the back in its own slime until it was needed. Each bag is five pounds and people don't buy them as often as you'd think, so they sit there for a long time. Like, long enough for the meat to smell rancid, even while refrigerated. They don't want to waste food though, so they'd tell us to rinse them with tap water and put them back in the fridge with some ice on top. I'd only eat them if I knew I'd have to peel them out of a half-frozen mass of meat to make them myself, it's the only way to be sure they hadn't been sitting in meat goop for days.

Don't buy the apple pies unless it's right when they open or if you see them pulling them out of the fryer. Any given store uses maybe three on an average day. Yes, it's the same three they make in the morning to put on display. They're supposed to expire ten minutes after cooking.

And avoid the rice at all costs. They leave leftover chicken out overnight at room temperature, then cut it up the next day to freeze in portions for the rice. Yeah."

Hardee’s
Hardee’s

"I wouldn't eat anything there, at least not at that particular one I was at.

-They make their workers put new stickers on old prepped items like onions and tomatoes and what not.

-We had mice in the store that would nibble on the buns, but the manager made us use those buns since customers didn't notice.

-The cheese would get old and cracked and moldy, but we were only allowed to throw away the heavily damaged slices and had to use the rest because no one notices when it gets melted on the bun.

-The staff (mainly the manager's daughter) would use the restroom and then not wash their hands before making sandwiches with no gloves on. They would also clean the floor and then go straight to making sandwiches.

I should have reported that place, but I was new to the country, needed a job, and didn't know any better."

Applebees
Applebees

"It's been awhile since I worked there, but don't get a bourbon steak from Applebees. It's like a black licorice tasting steak. It makes no sense. I'm convinced that every one of those I ever cooked was someone trying it for the first time.

I remember one time we accidentally cooked an extra one and we offered it to a waitress to eat. She took one bite and immediately spit it out. She kept asking us all night, 'What did you guys put on it?!' She was convinced that we had put something nasty on it to mess with her. We didn't do anything to it, that's just how bad they were."

Panda Express
Panda Express

"Most of the food at Panda Express is kept in a more sanitary environment than you would expect, but I wouldn't get the mixed veggies. Fairly often, we would get shipments of carrots that were clearly bad, like gooey and moldy, but I was told to cut around the gross parts and the carrots still got used. Also, the blancher rarely gets cleaned and gets used to clean off the wok ladles after every other dish gets made, so there's usually debris from other dishes just sitting in the water.

They'd also use the white rice left over from the night before to make the first batch of fried rice and if that's not enough, they mix what they have of the leftover white rice with the brown rice they made that morning. The rice stays in a warmer all night, but it's usually dried out and gross by the morning."

Steak n’ Shake
Steak n’ Shake

"Chili is a no-no, they never ever cycle their grease, they never clean the shake station, and never ever have enough employees to run the place properly so nothing ever gets done. 1st and 2nd shift say 3rd will do it all, and third is one person doing everything and since there is always people at 4 am, never get to clean anything.

I knew a night shift manager who worked at a different location. She would beg us to come clean the place at night and would pay us in all the food we could carry. I did it once and found what I first thought was a massive pile of Oreo crumbles under the shake station. Was that Oreo crumbles? No. No, it was not. It was black mold that had created a huge heap on itself and was feeding on all the flavor and drippings that were being dropped under there. It was at the point of sentience when I killed it. Humanity can thank me now."

Subway
Subway

"I will preface this by saying it has been years since I worked there, but here goes. Subway. Stay away from anything with mayo on or in it. We used to get our food shipments from a major distributor. We'd get our mayo in enormous bags. I started to notice in many bags that there were these lumps that got thrown away. One day I picked one out to examine. It was spongy and kind of yellowy. We began referring to this as the mayonnaise meat. It will be in the squirt containers, in the tuna salad, etc. I saw this in multiple stores. Also, those veggie patties were foul.

The meatballs from Subway LOVE to roll around and get everywhere, and at Subway, if the sandwich isn't neat looking enough the customers and management get ticked at you. So making a flatbread sub usually involves several glove changes from having to readjust the meatballs, plus it's hard as HECK to get the cheese to sit right on it. If you ask for it toasted, you are pretty much the devil because we have to get it on to a pan and slide it into the toaster. If you don't pick up the sub with the UTMOST care and ever so gingerly slide it into the oven, you will have meatball sauce everywhere and/or 2/3 meatballs on the floor. All the while having to move as quickly as you can because there is a line of people behind the person you are making this monstrosity for."

Papa Johns
Papa Johns

"I worked at Papa John's a while back. I would highly advise against the following:

Spinach Alfredo sauce. It's not popular, is kept in an open container in the fridge where it absorbs many other hideous odors, and reeks to high heaven.

Any of the local toppings. They're not popular, so odds are, they're less fresh.

Special garlic sauce. It's a tub of trans-fat, this goes without saying.

There was this spicy ham that only went on one particular type of Specialty pizza. Because of this, it was almost never used. I recall pulling it out and finding that it was swimming in the juices of its own rot. This should never happen, but poorly managed restaurants the world over operate like this.

Order popular fare, or better yet, don't order at all. Corporate chain restaurants are just awful, and the sooner you can give them up, the better your life will be."

Chipotle
Chipotle

"As a prep and grill person, I would say avoid the chicken. A lot of cooks tend to undercook it, so you get some raw pieces. I also suspect it's where a lot of the outbreaks from years past originated.

Also, 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.

When I was there, the shells were free to get on the side. I'm sure they still are, but I'm not 100% sure."

Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts

"Most of our donuts late at night. In the morning, our finisher is making them constantly because we have way more customers, so they are always fresh. However, once they leave in the afternoon, the only donuts we have are what is left from the morning. If we lose all of our glazed or one of the frosted types, we might make some more, but only one more rack. The rest just sit in the back until we run out in the front, then they eventually are all brought forward. There's always this one regular that asks for a 'soft' old fashioned donut, I always get him the softest one we have, but it's never soft enough for him. 'Hard as a rock!' Yeah, because it been there since 6 am, dude."

Chili's
Chili's

"My very first restaurant job (15 years ago at the age of 16) was at Chili's. We were supposed to make up any excuse to not allow customers to see the nutritional content book that we were required to keep in the back.

An Awesome Blossom (deep fried onion) was 2500+ calories and some people would eat a whole one before their meal."

Sonic
Sonic

"Don't order steak or grilled chicken...EVER.

Don't get the new Ultimate Chicken sandwiches, they're insanely overpriced and the normal crispy chicken sandwiches taste better anyway. The best time to get fresh food is when the place is busy, as they're less likely to give you something that's been in the hold for an hour, or their hold will continually be fresh. If there's a sale going on for something like 'half-priced hotdogs, or half-priced burgers,' only order a reasonable amount if you want quality. If someone orders 20 burgers in the middle of a rush on half priced burger day, we won't be as careful. We will throw them together so sloppily, you'll barely be able to call it a burger. This doesn't apply to half-priced corndogs, however, as we're able to just make a bunch at a time anyway. Don't get the chili. It comes in a bag, gets warmed up in a metal tub, and then sits for 10 hours until we run out and replace it. It's also just not very good to begin with. Try the seasoned popcorn chicken, the BBQ and garlic parmesan flavors are actually really good. If you're allergic to any kinds of foods be wary, 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. Sonics are dirty, at least in the region I worked. We were continually understaffed and expected to run the entire place with a small crew as well as clean. We do the best we can, but we don't get paid enough to stay after our shift and work off the clock cleaning up. It sucks, but that's the way it goes."

Denny’s
Denny’s

"I worked at Denny's for years. Everything comes frozen (even the avocados, which are then microwaved,) the gravy is powder stirred into boiling water, and nacho meat is microwaved. Store to store can vary from cleanliness, but at mine I suggest avoiding the scrambled eggs, nachos, corn hash, sausage, French toast and waffles (especially the wheat or whatever custom mix they have). I occasionally glanced at the menus and was surprised at how much they charge."

Einstein Bros Bagels
Einstein Bros Bagels

"Avoid ordering a Southwest Egg White sandwich from Einstein's Bagels if you're in a hurry (at least at my location).

-It uses egg whites. Eggs whites are hardly ever ordered and our little heat pans can only keep eggs good for 30 minutes. So egg whites are almost always cooked-to-order. It takes 2 minutes for the eggs to cook. Add another 30 seconds to fetch the egg white mix, pour out a portion or two, and prep the egg machine.

-It's on a 'thintastic' bagel. So instead of just dropping it through the bagel slicer, we have to hand slice it, twice, in order to carve out the middle of the bagel.

-It uses reduced fat cream cheese. Now, we don't use expired cream cheese or anything but the reduced fat version hardly gets used, so it just sits there, which makes it harder to spread, which not only takes longer but we might use a tad more cream cheese to cover everything. So if you thought you were saving a few calories with this stuff, (you're not anyway - it's reduced fat, not reduced calories) you are mistaken.

-The tomatillo salsa looks watery and awful. I've never tasted it. We get it in frozen bags. We thaw it and shove it into a squeeze bottle, and throw 95% of that away every week because hardly anyone uses it. We've tried to get smaller portions ordered since we end up throwing so much of it away, but we can't.

-With the egg whites, the cream cheese, and the salsa, you have a slippery, goopy mess of a sandwich. And God help you if you're the sucker who ordered this with two or more eggs. We have to hold one half of the bagel together as we saw through it, to prevent it from tearing apart or everything splattering out to the sides. If you ever wondered why your sandwich doesn't look great, it's because we lack the equipment to cut your sandwich in half without physically touching it.

-All in all, the southwest egg white sandwich clocks in an average of 6 minutes between you ordering and us handing it to you. That's about twice as long as any other egg sandwich. This is optimal, and assuming no one ordered anything before you so it took X minutes to get to your order, assuming you didn't order anything else with that southwest egg white sandwich, and assuming you didn't catch us at a bad time like we just started cooking a batch of regular eggs and have to wait for those to finish before we can even start on your precious egg whites.

If you're in a hurry, don't order the Southwest egg white. Just order a regular egg sandwich."

Starbucks
Starbucks

"Former Starbucks worker here. Please, don't order anything off the 'Secret Menu.' It doesn't exist.

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. Also, all Starbucks food is reheated frozen food. Ridiculous how few people realize that. Doesn't mean it doesn't taste good, it's just not fresh at all and incredibly overpriced."

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