50 Menu Items Fast Food Workers Say Never to Order

Sometimes fast food items are bad because of the way they’re handled or kept either before or after being made. A thread on Reddit focused specifically on this. The workers specifically talked about what exactly a customer should never order from their restaurant. Either because of gross practices, never-cleaned machines, bad ingredients, or just general unhealthiness, most places always have at least one thing that a customer should never order. 

Warning: this will alter views on the globe’s popular fast food chains. Be prepared to be grossed out.

These aren’t super popular. That’s not too much of a surprise. McDonald’s is a burger fast food place. They aren’t particularly known for their quality fish. So, if you truly expect anything other than the burgers to truly be fresh, then prepare to be disappointed. Filet-o-Fish is best avoided.

McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish

“When I worked at McDonald’s the filet of fish was never ordered. We had to make them at 11 when lunch started and had the same ones in the tray until the elderly people came to get their supper at 3 P.M. Then replace them and we threw away those same ones when we closed. Never order them.”

A former employee claimed that Sonic chicken isn’t true chicken but didn’t elaborate on what it actually was. However, they did say that the chicken will always sit longer because it’s not as popular as the burgers.

Sonic Chicken Sandwich

That’s something to keep in mind. No one wants chicken that’s been sitting for hours or chicken that’s frost bitten until it’s inedible.

You’d think that the beans would be something Taco Bell would be known for since they are a Mexican-inspired fast food restaurant. Apparently not, though. The beans at Taco Bell are bagged and just require water to somehow turn into the beans we know. Kind of gross. Maybe that’s a good reason they don’t sell.

Taco Bell Beans

“I worked at taco bell a little bit ago and I warn everyone to stay away from both the beans, and the steak. The beans start out looking like cat food, and the directions are, ‘Add water and stir until you can’t see white anymore.'”

According to the Starbucks employees on Reddit, secret menus don’t exist. Your barista will look at you like you’re an idiot if you walk up and ask for something on the secret menu. Find what you’re wanting and then figure out the base drink and add from there.

Starbucks’ Secret Menu

“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.”

There’s apparently a saying amongst employees about these fries: they aren’t old until they’re sold. That means you could be eating fries that are several hours old.

Wendy’s Fries

No wonder they’re cold. It’s also not a surprise that some people refer to Wendy’s fries as soggy socks rather than fries. Mmm-mmm, delicious.

Yeah, this one kind of surprised us, too. Apparently, those ‘fresh’ donuts aren’t so fresh and are delivered frozen on trucks. Such a disappointment.

Dunkin’ Donuts Donuts

Considering there are about half a dozen donut places to choose from at any given time, Dunkin’ better step up their game. No one wants frozen donuts.

Oven-roasted sounds pretty good, right? Too bad that isn’t how this sandwich is actually made, it’s more likely boiled in a microwave then slapped on a bun.

Subway Oven-Roasted Chicken Sandwich

That’s not nearly as healthy or satisfying as it sounds. To be fair, they said “eat fresh” not “made fresh.” There is a little bit of a difference.

Ice cream at any fast food place can be kind of sketchy, and Sonic is no exception. A Reddit user said that most of the time no one receives proper training on maintenance or cleaning of the ice cream machines.

Sonic Ice Cream

They also said that once they actually have the time to clean it, they found mold. Everywhere. That’s a no from us. Maybe that’s why they put ice cream in quotations on the signs.

Yeah, we all know the 11 herbs and spices story, but that story doesn’t fix the actual quality. If you have a craving for fried chicken maybe don’t get KFC anytime around when they close.

KFC Original Chicken

You might just get chicken that’s been left under the lights for hours or some that have been dropped on the floor, according to one Reddit user. Turns out those black specks were dirt, not pepper.

Yes, these are super popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re made fresh for every customer in line. Typically, the nuggets are made and just left under the heater for hours until they’re all sold. That’s not surprising considering McDonald’s hates to waste any food. Why should their chicken nuggets be any different?

McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets

“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.”

Who doesn’t love breadsticks? All buttery and garlicky, sometimes with cheese sprinkled on top…sounds like heaven! Unless, of course, you get them from Little Caesar’s. A former manager posted to Reddit, claiming that apparently, that’s not real butter on your breadsticks. It’s just some gross imitation that comes in a giant tub that isn’t refrigerated.

Little Caesar’s Breadsticks

“Former Little Caesars manager here. Some franchises are different, but I wouldn’t order any Crazy Bread, Jalepeno Bread, or Italian Bread. The shit they dress it with out the oven is NOT butter; it’s some nasty imitation that comes in a huge bottle and does not need to be refrigerated.”

The pasta here (yes, even the mac & cheese everyone loves) is microwaved. Unfortunately, there’s nothing fresh about it.

Panera Pasta

That means that delicious cheesy mac is just frozen pasta that was thrown in a microwave and served out lukewarm. May as well cook your own considering the price.

A former Firehouse Subs shift manager has said that anything other than sliced meat or the meatball sub isn’t worth it. This means steak and chicken is off the menu.

Firehouse Subs Steak or Chicken

The steak is usually frozen and super greasy. As for the chicken, it’s frozen and packaged. All around, not worth the price, which seems to be increasing every year at Firehouse.

Okay, so, this isn’t really anything gross. It’s just to help you save your money in the end. According to a former employee, the tacos at Chipotle get you less than half of the regular portion of what you’d get in a bowl.

Chipotle Tacos

Just spend a little bit more on some side tortillas and order a bowl. It’ll be more worth it in the end because you get more food for less money. Whether you eat it there or not, that’s more money in your pocket.

This one will be controversial. The orange chicken is Panda Express’s most popular item, and it’s still not always fresh. Once the rush is over, and the food is sitting out, the chicken starts to dry up, so how employees fix that?

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Cover it in some uncooked sauce, of course, just make sure the customers don’t see. Who knows how old the food is when it’s served? The thought sends shivers down our spines. Ugh.

The chili here is basically just overcooked beef that can be kept for up to seven days. Read that again: seven days. How many times have you thrown out something in your fridge because it’s been there for four days?

Wendy’s Chili

All we have to say is to beware if that’s what you’re craving next time you go to Wendy’s. It probably isn’t fresh and could be downright dangerous.

Another chicken item from Burger King, chicken fries were sometimes kept for up to six hours before being served or tossed out. Six hours is a little too long.

Burger King Chicken Fries

On top of that, most of the time they’re about 80% breading. That means you’re not getting your money’s worth, although they’re not exactly expensive.

Several former Arby’s employees told Reddit users that the roast beef is, apparently, not actually solid when it first arrives. The roast beef is actually just a bag of meat paste that solidifies after some time in the oven.

Arby’s Roast Beef

It’s just mechanically separated hunks of beef mixed with fat and pressed into a ten-pound paste of grossness. Maybe that’s why so many Arby’s employees don’t want to eat there.

Let’s just say the McRib isn’t actually made out of ribs. If you’re curious, it’s made out of pig tripe, hearts, and stomachs. Gross, right?

McDonald’s McRib

FYI, if you’re wondering what tripe is, it’s the lining of the stomach. The McRib also has enough preservatives to keep it fresh until it’s the year 3000. Yeah, we’re not lovin’ that.

A former subway worker on Reddit claimed Subway tuna is “literal poison in a container.” The reason?  It was always a few days past expiration.

Subway Tuna Sandwiches

You read that right. It’s apparently mayo-based and sits around for a while, so the chances of food poisoning are far too high.

Similar to some of the other frozen treats on this list, the coolatta is usually made in rarely cleaned, frankly disgusting machines.

Dunkin Donuts Coolattas

On top of that, they’re absurdly high in sugar. Even the small coffee coolata has about 71 grams of sugar. You could eat two candy bars for that amount of sugar.

Any McDonald’s worker will tell you never to order ANYTHING from McCafe. Staff usually aren’t properly trained to service and clean the machines. That means anytime you order a McCafe drink, odds are your drink is running through a ridiculously dirty machine. So, maybe avoid that from now on?

McDonald’s McCafe

“I’m not sure about all places but the McDonalds I’m at now also has us cleaning the smoothie machine with f***ing glass cleaner. 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. TL;DR: All McCafe beverages run through a horrifically dirty machine – we’re talking 5+ inches of uncleaned, liquid bullsh*t making up its inside parts, and the smoothies have glass cleaner in them.”

An employee dropped the bomb on these barbecue sandwiches. They’re stale. Really stale. The chicken is usually soaked and heated for a full month before being served. A full month?! Yeah, that isn’t something anyone wants to hear before they put food in their mouths. You couldn’t even donate that to a homeless shelter.

KFC Barbecue Chicken

“Worked at KFC for ~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.”

Whopper Juniors are pretty unpopular among customers over, like, ten. So, if you want a whopper junior, then odds are it’s been sitting around under a heating light for a good while. 

Burger King Whopper Junior

That means you’re getting something that’s likely super old. Only god knows how long it’s been under those heating lamps. We’re getting sick just thinking about it. 

This one’s not super gross or anything, but if you have an aversion to pre-packaged, frozen foods, then maybe avoid literally everything at Starbucks. All Starbucks food has been frozen and reheated.

Starbucks Food

Nothing is fresh, and it’s all ridiculously overpriced, yay! Nothing like paying twice as much (sometimes three times as much) for microwaved and toaster-warmed food.

Little Caesars is apparently guilty of cooking their chicken wings in the same pans as the pizzas for the same amount of time. This, most of the time results in you receiving mostly raw chicken.

Little Caesars Chicken Wings

In all honesty, their slogan is “pizza, pizza.” It has no mention of wings. Considering the price of the food, you get what you pay for. Time to stop at Wing Stop if you have a craving for wings.

If you get the tea in the morning or early in the day, then it’s probably fine. However, former employees warn about ordering it late at night, mostly because when the tea is made.

Jimmy John’s Tea

The tea is brewed at 5 a.m. by the opening manager and then never replaced throughout the day unless it runs out. Considering tea isn’t the most popular drink, it isn’t often switched out as the day goes on.

Panera is back at it again with the awful ingredients and shady practices. The soups are sent to the stores frozen. and are thawed out in a “re-thermalizer.”

Panera Soups

The re-thermalizer is just a sink filled with boiling water. When thawing, the bags usually burst open, and the re-thermalizer often isn’t cleaned very thoroughly. How old are the soups left in the sink?

So, apparently, the machine to make milkshakes breaks often. On top of that, the milk base will stay inside until the machine is fixed, which makes it go bad.

McDonald’s Milkshakes

Sure, they do clean the machines out after it gets repaired, but there’s a caveat – it’s never cleaned as thoroughly as it should be. As far as regular cleaning, it’s not often enough.

You would’ve thought a veggie club would be super healthy compared to other choices, right? Wrong! A 16-inch on 9-grain wheat is over 2,000 calories with super high sodium, fat, and sugar ratings.

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Veggie Club

You could eat four Big Macs, and that would only be a few calories more (and less fat). At that point, you’re not really eating healthy even if there are vegetables involved.

Sonic’s chili comes prepackaged in a bag and thrown into a warmer to heat up. Then, it’s left there all day long. There’s no way for you to know how long it’s been sitting there.

Sonic Chili

Also, if you have food allergies, it may be best to avoid Sonic all-together, as they’re usually sloppy with cross-contamination. This varies by location, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The sweet tea at McDonald’s apparently has one pound of sugar for every gallon. One. Pound. A large has 38 grams of sugar, way over your daily recommended limit.

McDonald’s Sweet Tea

Candy bars have fewer grams of sugar. You’re better off getting unsweet as far as McDonald’s is concerned unless diabetes sounds like a great future.

Is this one that much of a surprise? Getting chicken sandwiches anywhere that the main seller is hamburgers is probably a bad idea because they’re known for beef.

Burger King Chicken Sandwiches

Chicken sandwiches like BK’s just wind up sitting around in the warmer for hours and becoming rubbery and gross. Do yourself a favor and just order the burger.

Were you hoping for pastries that are baked fresh daily? Well, they’re absolutely not fresh or baked daily. What you’re getting is something similar to everything else there.

Panera Pastries

Like the pasta, the desserts and pastries are frozen, too. At this point, we’re questioning what’s actually baked fresh at Panera. Is everything microwaved?

Apparently, nobody cleans the blender. That means you might get some extra bits from other shakes and smoothies that were prepared throughout the day.

Jack-in-the-box Smoothies or Milkshakes

Not only is this a mess for cross-contamination and food allergies, but it’s also terrible for the ingredients. Anyone want hours-old milk with their delicious treat?

Like many other places that aren’t known for their ice cream, the ice cream and shake machines at Burger King are supposedly rarely cleaned.

Burger King Shakes

As if that weren’t bad enough, the shake mixes are often expired (probably because no one buys them). Have it your way, as long as it includes food poisoning!

This one is less of a “dirty” thing as it is an unhealthy thing. This burger apparently has a quarter stick of butter in it. That sounds like Paula Deen levels.

Steak ‘N Shake Wisconsin Butter Burger

That’s 200 calories from butter. It’s also 23 grams of fat. Yikes. Save your arteries some pain, and just leave this one alone.

A former employee has said that the chocolate is left out all day long. The top layer will congeal and get all gross and employees are just told to mix it back in.

McDonald’s Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Doesn’t that sound so appealing? The fact that it isn’t really refrigerated is also pretty suspect. We’ll pass, thanks.

Fresh eggs, which is usually something you’d want for your bagel, don’t come standard here. In fact, the eggs for Einstein Bros. Bagels are simply microwaved and placed in a warming bin until their ready to be served.

Einstein Bagels Eggs

Obviously, you’ll have no way of knowing just how long they’ve been sitting there. It could be fresh, or they could be sitting there for hours. Who knows? We’re not willing to take that gamble.

Wait, wait, wait… Domino’s has sandwiches? Yeah, apparently. And if you didn’t know, believe us, you weren’t the only one. Which is why an employee on Reddit went on to blast these sandwiches.

Domino’s Sandwiches

The sandwiches aren’t really fresh. This goes double for things like the Philly Steak or the American cheese since those are only used on sandwiches and one pizza. That means you’re getting old ingredients.

A former Burger King worker has said that (at least at their location) decaf didn’t actually make or serve decaf. Their ‘decaf’ was just watered-down regular coffee.

Burger King Decaf Coffee

We have two things to say about that. One, watered-down coffee is super gross, and that’s not even close to what decaf actually is. On top of that, it’s super shady.

So this veggie burger may not be as meat-free as you would think. A Reddit user who used to work at Culver’s said that the veggie burgers were kept frozen in the freezer until ordered.

Culver’s Veggie Burger

Then, it’s thrown in a microwave to thaw it and cooked on the same grill used to cook regular burgers. To be fair, most fast food places probably do this.

This one’s not gross, but it might annoy you. A worker said that the BLT is super overpriced for what you get. It’s common for employees to skimp on ingredients (especially the bacon) to help cut costs on their end.

Steak n Shake BLT

Considering what the BLTs cost, we want more than bread with a couple of pieces of bacon. That’s the only expensive ingredient anyway.

A former Tim Hortons worker has warned other Redditors about the soups at this popular Canadian chain. The soups are frozen, which isn’t too much of a surprise, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

Tim Hortons Soups

Apparently, that same worker claims that they found maggots in the soup. We’re trying our best not to throw up right now.

One Redditor has said that Jersey Mike’s chicken parm is the only thing on the menu they wouldn’t order. The chicken parm is just a frozen, pre-breaded chicken patty that’s thrown in the microwave for a few minutes

Jersey Mike’s Chicken Parmesan

Because it’s thawed out in the microwave, the chicken parm is super mushy. Yuck. The bread may soak up some of the moisture, but then you have soggy bread. You can’t win for losing with this sandwich.

Let’s discuss DQ salads because we have a bone to pick. DQ salads are basically just rip-offs because they already cost more than they’re actually worth.

Dairy Queen Salads

Also, the salads have recently been downsized, but you wouldn’t know that because the bowl changed to make it seem like the portion size is the same. Too shady, DQ. Too shady.

This one made us gag a little, not gonna lie. A former Dunkin Donuts employee on Reddit revealed that the hot chocolate has thickening agents, including Cellulose Gum and Xanthan Gum.

Dunkin Donuts Hot Chocolate

The amount of preservatives in the chocolate would also keep it fresh longer than most of us would live. Let’s just skip this one, shall we?

Have you ever noticed that sheen on the roast beef at Subway? Us, too. We always wondered what it was, and thankfully, a former employee was happy enough to share the details.

Subway Roast Beef

The former employee said that the roast beef was so chock full of preservatives that it was “iridescent.” So much for “eat fresh.”

According to a former Sheetz worker, the grill marks on their burgers are fake. Apparently, the burgers are actually microwaved.

Sheetz Burgers

Which begs the question: what do they use to put the grill marks on the burger? We don’t know, but we DO know that microwaved burgers are disgusting.