Whether it’s for a meal in a rush or just for some guilty pleasures, fast food joints have become our go-to places. While the food is known for being convenient and generally unhealthy, it’s usually tasty enough for us to turn a blind eye. But it turns out, some of these beloved fast food items are worse than we expected.
1. Sonic Drive-In’s Ice Cream
When you order some fast food soft-serve ice cream, be fully aware that you aren’t exactly getting the kind of quality that you’ll find at your local Cold Stone Creamery. The ice cream is often being pumped out of a machine that’s used and maintained by a bunch of teenagers.
According to Reddit user manjingavin, Sonic Drive-In’s are no exception. While the chain is known for their amazing ice cream selection, this Reddit user found mold in his ice cream. If a fast food ice cream machine isn’t well maintained, you might find yourself slurping up something sweet and rotten.
2. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish
While most fast food chains aren’t going to be serving you up anything particularly healthy, usually your best shot at quality is buying the food that they specialize in. If you go to McDonald’s, for example, you should do yourself a favor and stick to their burgers. One of their least popular items is the Filet-O-Fish.
One former employee assured the masses on Reddit that while the fish sandwich is a favorite amid Catholics on Fridays, you can bet that sales are pretty low throughout the rest of the week. This means that it is almost guaranteed that your precious Filet-O-Fish isn’t exactly going to be Filet-O-Fresh. Yes, it was a fish once upon a time. But when it was originally caught is another story entirely!
3. McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets
One of the most beloved items on the McDonald’s menu is their chicken nuggets. They are easy to pop in your mouth and come with an assortment of tasty sauces. However, the nuggets are absolutely horrific if you look up the process behind making them. It is literally impossible for a nugget to be ‘fresh.’
Reddit user Ouroboros recently stated that these tasty little nuggets are only 50% meat and the rest of them are all fat, blood vessels, nerves, connective tissues, and ground bone. Let’s not forget that they basically start out as a pink sludge. They are also pre-prepared in restaurants, and usually left under McDonald’s heat lamps for hours.
4. Taco Bell’s Beans
When it comes to Mexican cuisine, there is simply no room whatsoever for bad beans. They are an essential part to so many tasty meals. Among the many Mexican-inspired fast food joints, Taco Bell is the most popular. It’s a favorite amid 20-somethings after a night of hard partying. With such a reputation, many would assume their beans are always top-notch.
However, this just isn’t the case. Most might picture a big pot of fresh beans cooking in the kitchen. Sadly, behind the scenes, that isn’t their reality. According to the website Health Alot, Taco Bell’s beans come bagged and require water to get re-hydrated rather than actually being cooked. With that, they turn into the bean mash you see on your taco.
5. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Veggie Club
As you walk into your local Jimmy John’s and order that Veggie Club, you might think that you’re doing your body a huge favor. One can only imagine how good they’d feel after stuffing down plenty of fresh vegetables between two wheat buns. With any normal veggie sandwich that might be the case, but not with Jimmy John’s.
That “healthy” sandwich is 16-inches on 9-grain wheat. That is, in fact, over 2,000 calories as well as being super high in sodium, fat, and sugar. You would be eating less calories and less fat if you just ordered three big macs at McDonald’s. Take that to the bank next time you head to Jimmy John’s for something healthy.
NEXT: We can’t believe chains have gotten away with these methods of fast food preparation.
6. Domino’s Sandwiches
For decades, Domino’s was called Domino’s Pizza, and thanks to some seriously decent slices, they lived up to that name pretty well. In recent years, the chain decided to change their name and expand their menu beyond pizza. With that, they began selling sandwiches and other things.
One Reddit user who used to work at Domino’s stated that their sandwiches are hardly ever fresh. The cheese for the sandwiches is exclusively used on them, and hasn’t had stellar reviews. Reddit user the_mighty_moon_worm stated, “I honestly can’t stand anything but the pizza. Their sandwiches taste really cheap, like it’s all made of fake cheese and meat, and the pasta is very overcooked. Turns to mush in your mouth.”
7. Starbucks’ Secret Menu
The entire world over raves about Starbucks’ secret menu while they sport oddly colored drinks that we aren’t seeing on a regular basis. However, in an interview with NY Magazine, one Starbucks barista said something that would shock lovers of the coffee conglomerate everywhere.
Apparently, that much-referenced Starbucks secret menu doesn’t exist. He said, “It’s stuff that random-ass people made up online, and then people will come in and try to order stuff and expect us to know what it is, and we have no idea. It sounds good, but unless you can tell us what’s in it, we can’t make it for you. And people get kind of mad about that.”
8. Orange Chicken At Panda Express
Of all the Chinese fast food joints out there, Panda Express is a fan favorite. The most popular item on their menu is no doubt the crispy symphony of flavors they call orange chicken. However, if you need a quick Chinese food fix, you might want to go to a family-owned establishment, as Panda Express isn’t exactly fresh.
If you catch the orange chicken during the lunch or dinner rush, you’ll be in for a really good time. However, if you see no line, just walk away slowly. A former employee on Reddit confessed that the chicken would sit out for hours and get really dry. So how to keep the chicken moist? Simple enough: they would just pour uncooked sauce over it.
9. Subway Tuna Sandwiches
While Subway is essentially a glorified fast food joint, it has garnered a reputation for selling healthy sandwiches. We’ve all heard of the Subway diet and how it’s transformed lives. However, one kind of sandwich in particular is known for harboring a nasty secret.
Much beloved among Subway customers are the tuna clubs. However, the tuna in these sandwiches could pose a serious risk. According to a former Subway employee on Reddit, their tuna was always a few days past its expiration date. Also, the tuna is mayo-based, which makes food poisoning even more likely. Next time you eat a Subway tuna sandwich, really pay attention to how you feel afterwards.
10. Sonic’s Chili
Amid the many fast food restaurants, Sonic is often praised for having higher quality by comparison. While they may have those fancy drive-ins and waiters on roller skates, they’re still serving up fast food-quality meals, but in a nicer package. However, turns out that praise might not be warranted.
One former Sonic employee revealed on Reddit that their beloved chili comes pre-packaged in a bag. They simply throw the entire bag into a warmer and heat it up. They then leave it there all day and use it when needed. Sonic have also had problems with cross-contamination in the past, meaning that people with food allergies should avoid eating at the restaurant altogether.
NEXT: Hope you have a strong stomach, because these fast food items have some secrets.
11. McDonald’s Milkshakes
McDonald’s workers aren’t necessarily putting a lot of love into the milkshake you get served up. The quick sugar fix is no culinary treat. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite of just that. To understand what makes the McDonald’s milkshakes so iffy, you have to look at the machine that makes them.
According to Health Alot, McDonald’s milkshake machines are prone to breaking down. Most of the time, the milk inside the machine is kept inside and left to go bad until it gets repaired. They then use the milk once the machine is back in functioning order. Health Alot also noted that the machine is rarely cleaned, and even then, the cleaning job isn’t usually up to standard.
12. Panera’s Pasta
Panera has successfully created a brand image associated with freshness and elegance. When people sit in a Panera, they usually feel like they’re doing themselves a big favor by nibbling on some of their fresh food. This might be true for their famous bread, but there’s way more than meets the eye when it comes to some of their other selections.
TikTok user Briannaraelenee exposed Panera by taking a video with a ton of pre-packaged frozen macaroni packets. The pasta is taken from those packets and put straight into the microwave. You heard that right: the microwave. Gordon Ramsay would be having an absolute fit — and you should too. There isn’t a fresh noodle amid your plate of pasta.
13. Einstein Bros. Bagels’ Eggs
Few things could sound quite so comforting as a fresh egg between two fresh Einstein Bros’ bagel halves. Shame it’s not something that you can actually buy at Einstein Bros. While they do flaunt their bagel egg sandwich, it’s frozen — and nobody can be too sure how long the sandwich had been in its icy hibernation.
TripAdvisor reviewer Julia T. Sebastian was extremely disappointed by her frozen sandwich, stating, “I thought it was very spongy and had very little cream cheese. When I asked to speak with the manager, a lady named Sarah came to speak with me…she did admit that the bagels come in frozen but they are then thawed and add ingredients, but are baked on location.”
14. McDonald’s McCafé Items
While getting a quick and cheap coffee at McDonald’s may seem tempting, you’ll want to head elsewhere when you hear all about how grimy the McCafé can be. Take note that McDonald’s staff is often super young and not trained to deal with proper coffee production alongside their other many tasks.
Reader’s Digest did an article on the McCafé, and one employee they quoted from Reddit said, “I work for McDonald’s and make sure everyone that matters to me never orders anything that comes out of the McCafé machine, as these are routinely neglected in practically all the McDonald’s. All McCafé beverages run through a horrifically dirty machine — we’re talking 5+ inches of uncleaned, liquid making up its inside parts.”
15. Dunkin’ Donuts’ Donuts
Back in the day, if you wanted a fresh donut, you would take yourself to Dunkin’ Donuts. The revered establishment promised nothing less but quality and freshness. It was a promise they made, but perhaps didn’t keep. A recent story by the New York Post exposed some of the donut shop’s more shady methods.
The article was about a TikTok post by a young employee named Morgan, which revealed that their donuts, bagels, and muffins all arrive to the store frozen in a truck. If you’re looking for some freshly-baked donuts, it’s best to seek them out elsewhere. You’ll be able to taste the difference.
NEXT: Bland, gross, disappointing, or all of the above? You decide.
16. Wendy’s Fries
Wendy’s fries are left under the heat lamps for hours upon hours at a time. Reddit user and Wendy’s employee ZebraHerder stated, “Cooked fries would sit for hours, so would baked potatoes. Nothing unsanitary about this, it just makes for some limp fries and dry potatoes.”
They further stated, “Like others have said, you can ask for fresh fries and we’ll passive-aggressively make you a new batch.” However, according to New York Times article about Wallace McCain, a frozen fry-manufacturing giant, these fries are never exactly fresh, as they are bought frozen. So really, what this person is saying is that you can ask for a new warmed-up batch of frozen fries.
17. KFC’s Original Chicken
As beloved as KFC chicken is, a 2017 article by The Mirror exposed just how foul (get it?) their products can be. The article presents a video of KFC employees demonstrating the restaurant’s bad habits, such as selling old chicken and fries, and even reusing dirty mac-and-cheese cups.
Some of the chicken they show in the video is covered in mildew and mold. One of the employees in the video can be seen smelling the chicken and looking visibly disgusted. He also admitted that much of their food was cross-contaminated. Next time you need a quick chicken fix, perhaps consider some alternatives.
18. Starbucks’ Food
When someone orders food at Starbucks, they are no doubt expecting some quality eats, especially with those eyebrow-raising price tags being sported by every muffin and sandwich. While there’s nothing too surprising about Starbucks’ food, chances are, it certainly isn’t what you think it is.
An article by The Daily Meal recently revealed that the reason why every Starbucks’ items look identical across the world, is that they are all factory-produced, shipped to the store frozen, and eventually heated up and put on your plate. What, did you honestly think a single muffin was ever freshly baked within the confines of a Starbucks?
19. McDonald’s McRib
Every year or so, the McRib makes its triumphant to McDonald’s and the reaction it garners is quite amazing. People flock to their McDonald’s and get as much of this sandwich as they can while it’s still around. Yet if these folks actually knew what was behind the McRib, they’d probably have second thoughts about eating it.
According to CNBC, the McRib has zero rib in it. “The patty, which contains pork, water, salt, dextrose, and preservatives, is then misted with water to keep it from dehydrating during the freezing process.” The parts of the pig that it comes from are delicacy in some places, but not for everyone: guts, heart, and stomach.
20. McDonald’s Sweet Tea
If there is one soft drink that you might want to keep away from your children, it’s McDonald’s sweet tea. The site Caffeine Informer has stated that there are 69 grams of sugar in a 32-ounce sweet tea. That’s as much sugar as you’ll find in a two and a half Snickers bars.
This is one tea that certainly doesn’t hide anything behind its name. If you’re someone who loves McDonald’s sweet tea, but you care about your health in regards to all that sugar intake, then rest assured, you can always find the same refreshing taste with their sugar free sweet tea.
NEXT: These next facts are guaranteed to make you think twice about the fast food items you consume.
21. Soup From Tim Horton’s
While one wouldn’t automatically question the quality of a soup from Canada’s trusted Tim Horton’s, a former employee warned the masses over Reddit to never order their soup. No matter how tempting that warm cup may be on a cold winter’s night, opt for a can of Campbell’s soup at home instead.
The employee stated that the popular café and bakeshop serves up soups that were frozen in ice. Employees have even reported having found maggots inside the soup. While we don’t recommend that anyone order this soup, if you don’t mind it being frozen and having a little extra protein inside, feel free.
22. Chicken Wings At Little Caesars
If one is looking for a five dollar pizza that is at least edible, they can’t go wrong with Little Caesars. That being said, when it comes to buying their chicken wings, think twice. Apparently, employees cook them right alongside the pizza, and once the pizza is done, so are the wings — whether they’re cooked fully or not.
Not only does that sound like a recipe for cross-contamination, but it leaves their customers with a pretty good chance of getting sick with salmonella. One TripAdvisor reviewer named Buabuagirl stated the following about their wings, “Wings were salty, under cooked, and just gross.” Well, we have a hunch as to why.
23. Burger King’s Chicken Fries
If you find yourself driving over to your local Burger King, chances are you’ll be tempted to snatch up one of their famous Whoppers from the delicious burger menu. You’re probably in the clear with those “freshly-grilled” burgers. But not so for their chicken products, especially their chicken fries.
A former worker took to Reddit with the incendiary claim that his restaurant’s chicken fries would usually be kept under the heat lamps for up to six hours before either being purchased or finally tossed out at the end of the day. Another downside about their chicken fries is that they’re usually about 20% chicken and 80% fried breading.
24. Burger King’s Whopper Jr.
If you’re over the age of eight, chances are you aren’t going to be ordering a Whopper Jr. from Burger King. As you can imagine, these little burgers aren’t hitting the Burger King grills often. According to one former employee on Reddit, a Whopper Jr. can spend hours resting under the heat lamps.
If you don’t mind having a dry burger that’s been sitting around all day, order it. One reviewer on Brand Eating described the Whopper Jr. by saying, “It’s not great but it’s decent when you have some change lying around and feel like some BK.” That about perfectly sums up the experience.
25. Burger King’s Decaf Coffee
While Burger King’s decaf coffee doesn’t exactly go through any of the filthy machinery you’ll find at the McDonald’s McCafé, there’s still some shady business going on. One former Burger King employee took to Reddit and exposed how his Burger King branch was undermining their decaf coffee drinkers.
According to them, people would order decaf all the time, but they never once got a decaf coffee. The store didn’t even serve decaf despite having the drink on their menu. Ultimately, their decaf coffee was just watered-down caffeinated coffee. Heaven forbid somebody with a caffeine allergy orders coffee from Burger King.
26. Tim Hortons’ Buffalo Crunch Doughnut
Some things just don’t go together and buffalo sauce and donuts is a perfect example of a match from hell. We can’t imagine what the folks at Tim Hortons were thinking when they decided to make this very odd match.
When was the last time you walked into a Tim Hortons or any establishment and felt like having a donut with a buffalo sauce volcano in the middle with two sad tortilla chips sticking out of the side of it? Never, we’re guessing. Unless you’re looking for the quickest way possible to get a case of heartburn, we highly recommend passing this item by.
27. Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Double Down
If you wake up and you’re feeling spry and lively, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s double down will be a quick way to drag you down. Bacon, cheese and two pieces of what look to be extra fried chicken will definitely take the wind out of you.
That said, if you’re on a keto diet and trying to avoid all the carbs and health factors that come with bread, the double down will definitely be a nice way to really cheat your diet without exactly breaking the diet. If you ditch one of those chicken fillets and replace it with two bread pieces, you might have something good on your hands.
28. Taco Bell’s Croissant Taco
As if Taco Bell doesn’t already give Mexican food a bad enough name, they have to try to water down French cuisine as well. The notion alone of a buttery croissant mixed with egg, sausage and cheese doesn’t sound all that horrible, especially if it’s coming out of a fancy bakery or restaurant where you know it’ll be treated with care.
That said, Taco Bell does very little to do the croissant, egg and sausage any justice. Everything looks carelessly smacked together and the croissant looks frozen and dry. We’d recommend just buying all the products for yourself and making this at home. It will likely taste a hundred times better.
29. Dunkin’ Donuts’ Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich
People love donuts and it’s completely understandable why they do. However, we really don’t need to see a donut mixed with so many other foods. This sandwich is definitely something to stay away from. We already covered how Dunkin’ Donuts’ donuts are actually made in factories and arrive frozen to the stores.
With that said, you really can’t expect this sandwich to be fresh and made in the store.Let’s take a look into this sandwich. We have two sad pieces of dry bacon and a colorless egg stuffed between two dripping glazed donut halves. One would be better off just throwing the egg and bacon out and just eating the donut.
30. Wendy’s Triple Quad Baconator
The Wendy’s Triple Quad Baconator would be better suited to be called the Triple Bypass Baconator. While this may look tempting, it might be a meal that’ll change your life forever. If you see someone you love about to dig into this monstrosity, you might want to quickly slap it out of their hands.
This is no ordinary burger, as it contains 38 grams of saturated fat, 345 milligrams of cholesterol, 1330 calories, 3150 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of sugar. We have no doubt that it might taste good, but sometimes you have to do your body a favor and not order a burger that has ranked as one of the most unhealthy fast food items.
31. Hardee’s Monster Biscuit
The Monster Biscuit lives up to its title as a being a monster. This sandwich is so stacked with arterie squeezing foods that it’d be a challenge to bite into. This mess features ham, bacon, sauce, cheese, egg and not a single veggie.
In 2009, this item topped the list of the most unhealthy items on a fast food menu. Talk about one heck of a way to start your day. One of the worst parts about this sandwich is that many people complained about it lacking flavor. If you’re going to put your life at risk by eating something, it should at least taste good.
32. Pizza Hut’s Cheeseburger Stuffed-Crust Pizza
When looking at promotional posters, the cheeseburger stuffed-crust pizza looks like something being served on some distant planet, but it also looks like it might be somewhat tasty. We like how colorful the pizza/burger combination looks. However, the “beef patties” look a lot more like meatballs, which we’re going to say is a good thing.
The actual product looks very little like the pizza you’re seeing on the television. The Cheeseburger Stuffed-Crust Pizza looks sickly. If it were possible for a pizza to have a bad case of the flu, this is how it’d look. At the end of the day, settle for a pizza or a burger. A combination of the two does nobody any favors
33. Arby’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake
Throughout the years, Arby’s have brought us some amazing shakes. Who could forget their tasty Jamocha shake or their Mint Chocolate shake that became an instant classic. While their sandwiches are usually wet and soggy, one could always have faith that an Arby’s shake would be good.
That said, they completely failed with the Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake. What should have been perfect for the festivities surrounding the fall, ended up being a bit too much. The sake is just too heavy. If you think that it’d be a good companion for a meal, you can forget it. You’re going to be feeling this shake swish around inside of you for hours after drinking it. The last thing it needs is a roast beef sandwich joining it.
34. Burger King’s Veggie Burger
One has to question how serious a vegetarian is if he/she is eating at Burger King. We suppose if you want to eat no meat and manage to save a lot of money, you can ditch buying a few veggies and just start piling up on these Burger King veggie burgers. If they taste anything like the Whopper, it might not be all bad.
Sadly, this burger tastes nothing like any of their conventional burgers and it doesn’t even taste like a proper veggie burger. One can’t help but feel that something is a bit off about the burger once they take that first bite. The soy is said to taste rubbery and microwaved.
35. Panda Express’ Cream Cheese Rangoon
Unless your small town lacks any kind of Chinese community with some legit Chinese, you should never find yourself in line at a Panda Express. However, if it’s your only option, the food isn’t the worst in the world of factory produced fast food.
That said, you should do anything in your power to stay away from the cream cheese rangoons. If you ever order some of these and feel like you’re eating a fresh product, you’re likely one in a million customers. One of the worst parts about these treats is that the frozen dough will almost always get lodged inside your teeth.
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