We go to fast food restaurants knowing that we’re getting a bunch of fat, preservatives, and other additives that will make us have regrets, but we hope that the places we go to take their cleanliness and other health standards seriously.

We probably realize, though, that’s not always true – and if you’re wondering if there’s something in particular you shouldn’t be ordering from your favorite spot, well…these employees are dishing below.

1. No one knows what’s in there.

My bro managed a Weinerschnitzel.

Unbelievably they catered lunch for a few local high schools. (As did Ameci’s Pizza). The chili wasn’t up to school standard and they had to add more meat to it in order to pass LAUSD code.

Of course they used old burgers, dogs, and expired ground beef from the freezer. Bro bluntly told me, “Never eat our chili.”

2. I’m so sorry.

So I’m a rat guy. I block them out of restaurants.

I was doing my thing one night, and the restaurant owner is on the phone, trying to get his fryer filter repaired. He told me he’d been trying for weeks but the co was booked solid.

I’ve got a degree in engineering, so I said I’d check it out. I managed to get it apart, and get a look inside.

Inside were two large dead rats, or what was left of them, bones and fluff mostly. They had got in the machine via the purge pipe, and got stuck inside.

So for probably a month or two, all the fried food from this establishment had been cooked in oil that had been filtered through two rotting rats…

3. A word to the wise.

I worked at a pizza place that was infested with roaches, especially in the back room where we would leave the pizza dough out to sit.

We would also find roaches in the ice maker, in the mechanical parts as well as the ice itself.

If a restaurant has roaches nothing is safe.

4. If they wanted homestyle chicken they’d go to Chick-Fil-A.

I worked at Wendy’s nobody ever fucking orders the homestyle chicken so if you do it’s probably been sitting in a warmer tray for an hour or two since we just can’t afford to throw out the old ones all the time but have to keep some on hand

It will probably be hard and dry and we probably won’t give you a refund

5. It’s such a good sandwich, though.

When that Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich came out with all that hype I gave in and decided to try Popeyes for the first time.

Walked inside to see the filthiest eating establishment I’ve ever seen, stepped on two massive roaches that crunched beneath my feet and a trash can overflowing to my right.

I’m ashamed to say I still proceeded to order the meal lol.

6. They can survive anywhere.

Did a month at Golden Corral during my senior year of high school.

Roaches. In. The. Meat. Freezer.

Roaches. In. The. M e a t. F r e e z e r.

7. E. coli waiting to happen.

I won’t eat at Bobby’s Burger Palace because I had to go into the kitchen once (my job doesn’t involve food but this particular instance required going into the kitchen) and there were full Roach traps everywhere.

I also saw an employee grab a knife from what looked like a dirty container of haphazardly strewn about kitchen utensils, start chopping lettuce without washing it, and then scraping the knife on the edge of a trash can to remove excess and go right back to chopping.

8. Put this one on the list.

I worked for Noodles & Co for a few years and I would honestly eat everything on the menu. The sauce ingredients come from a corporate kitchen and get combined/made to order, the veggies were prepped fresh twice a day or more if needed and tossed at the end of the day, we pulled out all the kitchen equipment and deck scrubbed constantly.

I’ve been fortunate to work in restaurants I wasn’t embarrassed by for most of my working life.

9. A kernel of truth.

Worked at a small fast food place and during training my manager got mad at me for throwing out slimy corn.

She showed me how she would just rinse the slime off in the sink and put it back. I find corn suspicious now.

10. Not all places are created equal.

Cleanliness and not serving bad food varies from store to store. The Taco Bell I worked at took pride in our cleanliness* and we followed food safety rules. During down times we’d get lent out to other stores. We came back from some and we were all “dude. Never ever eat there”.

*We always passed the health Department inspections with flying colors. The only points we ever got taken off for was once not realizing that they had changed how far off the floor shelving had to be and our sprayer nozzle was too low. Considering the inspections were always a surprise, that’s pretty damned good.

11. No one cleans those things.

I was a shift supervisor at a fast food place and years later, I still refuse to eat anything with ice cream in it.

The machine we had was always covered in mold and spoiled cream while the owner’s “fix” was to scrape off a layer of mold and spray some clorox on it.

12. That’s quite a story.

Dairy Queen strawberry cheesecake blizzard.

When the cheesecake gets low you’re supposed to fill it up a certain way where the new cheesecake goes on bottom and what’s left of the old stuff is put on top to ensure it’s used first and it all stays fresh. Well let me tell you that shit is like a brick after it’s been in the container long enough, you constantly take it out and put it back so it’s always thawing and refreezing and essentially freezing together.

This is why absolutely NO ONE rotates the cheese cake. I once dropped the cheese cake container onto the tile and the chunk in bottom cracked in half and came out…. it had become almost like 98% mold. We’d been using it without rotating it for months

13. As long as it’s fresh.

Former BK employee of 6 years here. The food was actually good if it was fresh. The issue is the staff/management. Sauce bottles would never get completely emptied and cleaned. People wouldn’t change their gloves between doing different tasks, or would be texting with those gloves then make your food. Also, all the items that go into making your food (lettuce, cheese, etc) was all tracked via time stickers (think a little clock).

So if you brought out new cheese, the rules were it could only be left at room temp for 4 hours. If you brought it out at 12, you’d mark the sticker for 4PM, at that point you should have thrown it away. Well that never happened. Everything got stickers replaced to make sure they were always good in case of surprise inspection.

Whenever I’d train people I gave a few rules to live by:

  • If it’s dirty, clean it.
  • If it’s out of place, organize it.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it.

From a customer perspective, always order your food with a slight modification (light Mayo).

This will ensure your food is made fresh instead of you getting one that has been made previously to speed things up; however, can’t guarantee the food it’s being made with is fresh.

14. Thank goodness for small favors.

I work at Pizza Hut but honestly it’s all pretty lit I wouldn’t have an issue eating any of it m

Thought I would help you guys realize not everything is sketchy lol

15. Why would anyone eat there, honestly?

Applebee’s; not a d*mn thing.

It’s the only restaurant I’ve worked for I would never eat at.

16. Once a week!

Had a job with AMC theaters.

I wouldn’t recommend buying anything other than popcorn/drink.

The fried food is really something else – one it comes shipped from a 3rd party, so it’s not even kind of fresh.

The oil is so gross. You’re basically ordering something that went through a machine built in the 70s that has accumulated layers and layers of oil residue. You can clean it a little bit, but you’re never going back to how it first looked. Everyday there’s like a new layer of “oil icing” and the corners of the steel plates are where they really get stuck.

(I’ve worked other jobs as a fry cook before too, making fresh chicken tenders and such everyday at a deli. AT the deli we cleaned the fryers every night, with huge hoses.)

AMC we cleaned the fryer once a week – by a person making minimum wage and doesn’t exactly have any motivation to do a pristine job.

17. You heard it here first.

I work at a chain coffee shop where we make our own in-house chocolate sauce.

Sounds nice but it starts to mold within a few days. That shouldn’t be a problem since we go through chocolate and make more daily, however the chocolate sauce container only gets cleaned out properly if we run out during slow times. Otherwise we just dump fresh chocolate sauce on top and get right back to dealing with the rush.

The white mocha and caramel sauces are manufactured and therefore have a long shelf life. I stick with those.

18. Just pretend there is no ice cream machine.

I work at a mcdonalds. While there isn’t much that I wont eat (I just have stupid low standards for food) There are some…riskier things to eat.

There’s a reason that the ice cream machine is down a lot. Sometimes its for legit maintenance, other times tho, its to clean out the mold that likes to grow in the liquid mix.

I only found out after a year, was filling it one day and looked down. The stuff i saw was nightmare fuel and ruined me on their soft serve for awhile.

I had said something about it. “First shift will get it tomorrow.”…..

19. No one wants a wrinkly hotdog.

I worked at Orange Julius for my first job. We would cook hot dogs on the rotating grill for all to see. At the end of the day if they weren’t bought we were supposed to toss them. I mean they were almost burnt and wrinkly. The manager was there one day when we had three hotdogs left over. I went to Ross then and he flipped his shit

He put them in the fridge and told me to use them the next day in a chili or cheese dog where the customer couldn’t see the hotdog. To this day I still feel bad for the customer who received the chili dog the next morning since he was there. Thankfully he has rarely there and I would toss out those wrinkly fuckers at the end of the day.

20. It might make you diabetic.

I work at a fast casual baja style mexican grill place that is a smaller competitor to Chipotle. I’m the lead cook and make every protein, sauce, bean and hot item in house with fresh ingredients. That being said our most popular protein is our sweet pork. For a single batch of pork (60 lbs) I will use close to 10 lbs of straight white sugar, 3 gallons of coke and 3 lbs of butter.

The shit taste like fuxking candy and is crazy addictive. There are folks who come in every day and get double meat (8oz) slather it in queso, and get shredded cheese on top. I’m pretty damn sure I am contributing to their eventual death by cardiac arrest.

21. Not made fresh.

I currently manage a red-colored fast food place. The only item that I will not eat on the menu is the breakfast burrito. Everything else is cooked fresh in the store except for that item.

Other people are claiming other items are bad due to poor waste control practices, but I always tell my employees “if you wouldn’t pay for it, do not serve it”. Emphasis on the PAY for it. People pay a premium for our food compared to arch-based or crown-based places, so they better be getting quality food.

I would rather someone wait 1-2 minutes extra for fresh food than serve sub-standard products.

22. Learned this the hard way.

Ham on pizza. Worked at pizza hut done time ago and the ham would turn this disgusting gray color within a day or opening the package. You just couldn’t tell if it had been opened 24 his ago or 2 weeks ago.

But, during cooking it returned to pink which always weirded me out.

23. That’s not a sound you forget.

I worked at a Subway in my senior year of high school. What disturbed me was how the tuna came packaged: in a big metallic bag (to keep it fresh, I guess.) Then when we had to take it out, it would make this squelching noise.

And because I made so many subs, completely put me off from eating those sandwiches ever again.

24. Just go to Chick Fil A, friends.

Used to work at McDonald’s. Nobody ever ordered the crispy chicken. I’ve had it sit in the warmer from opening to changeover. Then from changeover when I ended my shift. Maybe it depends on the location, but the odds of getting one that’s been sitting there for an hour or two outweigh the odds that the table and grill people remembered it existed and changed it out when it started looking bad.

That and the gravy. Shit smelled like dog food and looked like glue. I didn’t have a single coworker who liked it. I might just be biased against it since it took forever to make it. And if I thought “Oh, we have enough to finish out breakfast I be wrong. Every. Single. Time. I’ll never order it close to changeover and have someone have to make a gallon they’ll end up using one scoop of.

25. Why is it always the chili?

I worked at Wendy’s in high school. For me, that item is the chili.

Whenever a burger is cooked it is only considered “good” for a certain amount of time. So many minutes after cooking and the burger didn’t get used it would be thrown in a bucket next to the grill. At the end of each shift the person dumps all the old burgers into a larger bucket of old burgers which may or may not be covered. They also may be from xays prior. Overnight they chill, the grease congeals and the meat turns pretty grey and weird. This meat may not be frozen, but it is still pretty hard to break up. So the person making chili dumps it in a big colander, runs hot water over it, and mashes it into tiny pieces again.

Now the soggy, greyish, lukewarm day old burger meat is ready to be used in the chili.

26. They’re hard to clean.

I never drink anything from a tap or fountain, anywhere. Those things are always nasty, and I say that as someone who has had a career in waste disposal. In the first bar I worked I took it upon my young, dumb ass to deep clean the beer taps.

Not only have I never seen that quantity of black mold anywhere else, on my next shift five people, apparently regulars, chewed me out because the beer tasted wrong and it was obviously my fault. They weren’t wrong, but it stung, especially since I couldn’t tell them why.

Yeah, some stuff I swear you just don’t want to know.

If you’re a fast food worker, or have been in the past, lay your own cautionary tales on us in the comments!