Fast food is part of the average American diet and it’s not showing signs of stopping. According to a CNN piece, one-third of U.S. adults from 2013 to 2016 ate fast food on any given day.
Fast food isn’t the healthiest choice, but what it lacks in nutrition it makes up for in value and convenience. Yet in order to have food warm and ready in a matter of minutes, there’s a drawback.
Workers for Taco Bell, McDonald's and more have strict rules they have to follow when it comes to cooking and preparing the food—and some are bad enough to make customers swear off fast food forever. We’re going to look at disturbing rules fast food establishments make their workers follow, along with rules they broke.
20 They Salvage Vegetables From Spoiled Batches
The vegetables at Panda Express are one of the perks for healthy eaters of ordering there. If a worker on Reddit is accurate though, it would be best to steer clear of their veggies altogether.
Delish quoted the workers comments on Reddit in which they said, “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 then the carrots still got used."
19 Use Cleaners With High Amounts Of Chemicals
Fast food joints are public spaces in constant need of cleaning. Tables, the grills, drink machines and more need to be germ-free for customers who are always in and out.
According to Reader’s Digest, workers have to use cleaners that come packed with chemicals. However, the last thing customers want to hear is that these chemicals come into contact with their food or drinks.
18 Using A Pail For Towels To Refill The Ice Cream Machine
A Reddit user posted this photo of a McDonald’s employee using a bucket labeled “soiled towels” on an ice cream machine.
It’s somewhat speculative as to what extent it’s a rule; however, one could imagine management asking workers to use this bucket simply because it's the biggest one available.
17 They Put Cooked Food In Storage Until Someone Orders It
The food customers receive isn’t always fresh. One worker admitted, as per Reader’s Digest, that workers stow cooked food away in a cabinet and take it out when someone orders it.
While workers do reheat the food, this may not sit well with customers who expect what they get to be straight out of the oven.
16 The Onions Aren’t What They Seem
Those diced onions that come on a McDonald’s Big Mac may look real, but they sound like they have more in common with something out of science fiction.
Like food pills in movies and TV shows where characters just add water to make their meal, the site So Yummy reports they come dehydrated in bags that workers mix in with water and let sit for a period of time.
15 Workers Put Less Bacon On Sandwiches To Save Money
An employee who used to work for a Steak 'n Shake admits witnessing this next method workers would do.
In a quote provided by Delish, the worker admitted, “The problem is that the BLT is supposed to be made with 4 strips of bacon (8 pieces when broken in half) but nobody does this, usually due to managers trying to invisibly cut costs.”
14 They Store Fish Filets In Warmers For Days
A warning to all Burger King fish sandwich lovers: this next bit of info may be disturbing. A worker with the company revealed on Reddit, as per Mashed, “we had the same 2 or 3 fish filets in the warmer for entire days sometimes.”
It’s doubtful whether all Burger Kings do it, but it seems to have been the practice at this particular location.
13 They Make Salads Days Long Before It’s Ordered
Salads don’t keep for very long, but that doesn’t seem to stop fast food chains from serving them. Customers may not want salads though after this discovery.
AnonHQ reports that establishments often make salads and put them in the fridge where it can sit for days until a customer finally orders one.
12 They Use The 10-Second Rule If they Drop Something
We’re all guilty of it. A piece of food falls on the ground and we follow “the 5-second rule,” which purports that as long as someone picks it up in time, it's still OK to eat.
However, Reader’s Digest reports that workers follow the “10-second rule” instead, even if it’s a fallen patty.
11 They Leave Pastries Outside The Freezer To Defrost Overnight
The pastries behind the glass at Starbucks always look appetizing—until this news dropped. A user on Reddit said, as per Mashed, that workers get pastries and put them in the freezer until they need them.
Then workers take them out to defrost overnight, which if true, is usually not the safest way to thaw food.
10 They Use Expired Food
McDonald’s customers may not like what they hear next. A former worker with the company shared a story with Delishably, who said their manager told them to use lettuce that was ten days past its expiration.
They ended up throwing the lettuce away despite the manager wishing them to use the produce as is.
9 Perfectly Good Food Gets Thrown In The Trash
Not all chains are like Panera Bread, which claims to donate any leftover bread each day to those in need. Reader’s Digest reports that most places don’t give their food away suggests there are times where there’s a good amount left.
Instead, it gets thrown into the trash, essentially going to waste.
8 They Heat Up Frozen Donuts
Dunkin’ Donuts has a reputation for its coffee and donuts, but folks may not want the latter item anymore. According to Mashed, a former worker with the chain shared on Reddit that the donuts come frozen.
The worker then states they were “‘baked’ for 30 seconds,” which is contrary to their fresh appearance.
7 McDonald’s Clam Grills Cook Burgers In 38 Seconds
The age-old cliché is that people don’t want to know what’s in their hot dogs or how they’re made. One could say the same for McDonald’s burgers, which Reader’s Digest reports they cook using clam grills.
These pieces of machinery heat both sides of the patty at the same time and it only takes 38 seconds—which is both practical and unappetizing.
6 They’re Dodgy About Calorie Counts
Burger King’s popular slogan is “Have It Your Way.” They may be regretting that, however, when customers ask to know the calorie count in its foods.
According to AnonHQ, they discourage fast food workers from sharing how many calories are in their food items, probably because people would think twice about ordering if they knew.
5 They Put Uncooked Sauce On Chicken
There’s a method workers at Panda Express use to dress up its popular orange chicken that might rub customers the wrong way.
A worker admitted on Reddit, as per Mashed, “sometimes when it isn’t busy, and the food gets dried up, we put uncooked sauce on it to make it more moisturized.”
4 They Rub Butter On Chicken
Fast food restaurants aren’t known for their healthy food, but there are alternatives. It’s why some opt for a chicken sandwich instead of a burger. One worker may have spilled the beans though on why ordering chicken could defeat the purpose as a healthier option.
Reader’s Digest reports that workers have covered chicken breasts with butter to help when grilling.
3 They’re Forced To Deal With Burns From Cooking
There are risks involved in any job, many of which can lead to serious injuries. According to EHS Today, McDonald’s employees experienced injuries from working with hot oil and grills.
Instead of getting proper first aid, some workers claim their managers told them to put mustard or even butter on their burns.
2 Broken Rule: Worker Cooked Without A Hat On
It’s common for fast food joints to make their employees wear hats or hair nets. Foregoing one could result in a strand of hair falling in someone’s food.
A Yelp user caught this worker in a Panda Express cooking food without one and it even led the company to respond by saying they would address it.
1 Broken Rule: Worker Samples The Ice Cream Machine
Thankfully this next one isn’t a rule Wendy’s enforces its employees to follow. Apparently, a worker decided to taste the ice cream himself, only instead of putting it in a cup, he put it straight in his mouth.
With the act caught on camera, the company couldn’t have been happy about this.
Sources: CNN, Reader's Digest, PaneraBread.com, Reddit, So Yummy, AnonHQ, Delishably, Mashed, Delish, EHS Today, Yelp