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Fast-Food Items You Should Never Order



It’s estimated the average American spends $1,200 each year on fast food and as a nation, we can’t seem to get enough of it. According to one study, 80 percent of Americans visit a fast-food outlet once a month and 34 percent of children aged 2 to 19 eat fast food daily. But what’s really in our favorite fast food? And are there items we should just outright refuse to devour?
The fast-food industry used to be full of closely guarded secrets. Did we ever stop to wonder how that food got made and delivered to our car in minutes flat? Now, thanks to one Reddit thread, fast food employees are spilling the beans about what really goes on inside the kitchens of our favorite fast-food restaurants. Their insider intel spans everything from restaurant cleanliness to festering food items left to hang around for days – and of course the menu items you definitely want to avoid because they’re chock full of calories and fat. From artery-clogging burgers and putrid chili to mold-infested ice-cream machines, these are the fast-food items you probably want to scratch off your edible list.

Panera – Soup

Planning on pairing your favorite Panera sandwich with a cup of soup? You may want to think again! According to some Panera employees, the soups arrive frozen in plastic bags, which are defrosted in sinks that may – or may not – have been disinfected. The plastic bags are then cut open with whatever pair of scissors employees can get their hands on and poured into pitchers that were most likely just rinsed out and not cleaned properly.

Little Caesars – Breadsticks

While Little Caesar’s breadsticks look like they have just come straight out of the oven, the truth may be hard to stomach. Apparently, the breadsticks get their luscious look from days-old butter slathered on top. One employee even revealed seeing breadsticks dropped on the floor, picked up, and placed back in the bag.

Panda Express – Orange Chicken

It may be a super popular menu item, but sometimes Panda Express’s Orange Chicken has sat around for a long time and gets dried out. Instead of whipping up a new batch, Panda Express employees reveal that instead they just add uncooked sauce on top to make it moist and juicy!

Burger King – Fish Sandwich

There seems to be one uniform consensus among fast-food employees – if you’re eating at a burger place DON’T order the fish. One Burger King employee revealed the fast-food chain normally keeps a surplus around so they don’t have to make it fresh, which means you could be eating a sandwich that’s at least a day old.

Dairy Queen – Salads

If you’re heading into Dairy Queen for anything other than a Blizzard or a burger you may want to head elsewhere, especially if a healthy salad is on your mind. Not only is the salad pretty pricey, but there’s also no guarantee you’ll be chowing down on fresh lettuce and veggies.

Starbucks – Secret Menu

So you ordered off of the much-rumored ‘secret’ menu at one Starbucks location and found taste-bud heaven? Alas, if you’re trying to recreate that gastronomic utopia at a different Starbucks location – or even with a different barista – you may be left feeling disappointed. According to Starbucks employees, it’s up to each barista to create the ‘secret’ drinks using whatever ingredients they want since there are no set recipes.

Jimmy Johns – Veggie Club

One may think that ordering the Veggie Club at Jimmy Johns would be a health-conscious choice – and yet the reality is something completely mind-boggling. Each Veggie Club delivers a whopping 2,000 calories and comes loaded with sodium. You are actually better off ordering a meat-filled concoction.

Arby’s – Fried Chicken Sandwich

The fast-food drive-through is such a miraculous thing – you order from the comfort of your own car and within minutes you’re chowing down on food – unless that is you decide to order the Fried Chicken Sandwich from Arby’s. Arby’s is known for their roast beef, so if you order the Fried Chicken Sandwich, chances are you will be directed to the parking lot where you’ll wait for a good eight minutes or more.

Pizza Hut – Specialty Crust

According to Pizza Hut employees, most of them love to order anything on the menu, but when it comes to the specialty crust pizzas the chain often rolls out as limited-edition items, many employees steer clear. Why? The added toppings take the already high calorie, fat, and sodium count of regular pizza and push it way over the edge.

Five Guys – Burgers

While each individual location varies when it comes to hygiene, Five Guys employees have noted the sad lack of restaurant cleanliness with one disgruntled employee calling her Five Guys location “the dirtiest place I’ve worked.” According to Delish, another employee spoke of patties sitting out for three hours after being prepped.

Steak n Shake – B.L.T

If value for money is something you’re looking for when ordering a B.L.T you may want to avoid Steak n Shake’s offering. Apparently, the fast-food chain is all about increasing its bottom line when it comes to building their Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich and often scrimp on the star of the show – the rashers of bacon. Instead of the required 4 rashers of porky bliss, many frugal Steak n Shake managers insert a paltry 2 strips and bulk out the sandwich with lettuce.

Wendy’s – Chili

Not only is your order of Wendy’s Chili probably not fresh – it may have been sitting in the fridge for a week before it makes its way into your order especially if Chili sales have been slow – but the Chili meat may actually be overcooked burgers leftover from a few days prior – yuck!

Sonic – Ice Cream

Although employees suggest this may not be true at all the Sonic locations, many shared that at their Sonic’s the ice-cream machine is rarely taken apart and sanitized. The same goes for the bucket the ice cream sits in at the bottom of the machine, which has been known to sometimes contain mold – delightful!

Subway – Tuna Sandwich

Subway’s tuna has been at the forefront of much speculation recently, with a lawsuit alleging the tuna is “made from anything but tuna.” Subway disputes the claims and in a brand-new promotion has told customers they are standing by their tuna and not changing a thing. All ingredient rumors aside, there’s a good chance – depending on tuna sandwich sales for that week – the mayo-heavy tuna you’re chowing down on could have been hanging around for days.

Taco Bell – Quesadilla

Taco Bell is known for getting you that South of the Border taste in just a few minutes, but if you’re ordering their Quesadilla you may have a longer wait. Employees reveal the Quesadilla is just one of two items that have to be steamed and grilled – so if you’re looking to get in and out at rapid speed, avoid both the Quesadilla and the AM Crunchwrap.

Chipotle – Tacos

Chipotle employees are spilling the beans about the company’s tacos when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck. Turns out Chipotle tacos are filled with fewer ingredients than regular portions. A better deal is to order a bowl of whatever you want in it and ask for hard, or soft taco shells on the side.

Chick-Fil-A – Chicken Minis

Continually ranking at the top of the fast-food chains, people can’t get enough of Chick-Fil-A, however, if you are hoping to grab the ever-popular chicken minis for breakfast, you’re definitely paying a serious upcharge. According to employees, the chain uses the same pricing for the 4-count breakfast as it does for its 8-count nugget meal. The only difference is the bread.

Dunkin’ Donuts – Hot Coffee/Chocolate

Employees know which items provide the best deal and for Dunkin’ customers, on a budget, it’s best to pick a cold drink instead of hot coffee. The cold drinks are actually larger and contain more liquid as opposed to the hot drinks. If you must indulge in something warm and comforting you may want to steer clear of the hot chocolate. That creamy consistency Dunkin’s Hot Chocolate is known for is due to the added thickening agents, including Xanthan Gum and Cellulose Gum.

KFC – Gravy

According to the Daily Mail, one employee revealed how KFC’s gravy is made – and it’s not going to give you the warm, comforting feeling of Grandma’s homemade gravy. The chain’s much-loved signature gravy is actually concocted from chicken bits that have fallen to the bottom of the fryer. The ‘brown gunge’ which is extracted from the bottom of the fryer is then mixed with water and a sachet of gravy spices to create the popular menu item!

Hardee’s – Fried Chicken Sandwich

According to Delish, customers may want to skip noshing on a Hardee’s Fried Chicken Sandwich, unless you want to risk eating chicken that’s well past its usage date. One Hardee’s employee had to take matters into their own hands and discard some putrid chicken the manager was ready to toss in the fryer.

Jack-In-The-Box – Tacos

The meat inside the Jack-In-The-Box Taco you’re about to scarf down wasn’t actually placed fresh inside the taco shell when you ordered the item. Instead, the tacos arrive at the store as meat in a corn tortilla – all ready to be placed into the deep fryer.

Tim Horton’s – Soups

Just like Panera’s soups, Tim Horton’s offerings also come frozen in bags, except employees reveal they might not be stored properly and are of poor quality. Even worse, according to AllDelish, one employee even found maggots in the soup – gross!

Jersey Mike’s Chicken Parm or Meatball Subs

As a whole people love Jersey Mike’s subs, but there are two sandwiches most employees won’t recommend or purchase themselves – the Chicken Parm and the Meatball Subs. Both items come frozen, with the Chicken Parm arriving as a frozen, pre-breaded chicken patty that is just microwaved for a few minutes. The same goes for the meatballs, which employees reveal are nothing more than frozen Tyson beef meatballs that are boiled and tossed with sauce.

Checkers – Chili

That steaming pile of Chili topping your Checkers Chili Dog is yet another fast-food chili horror story that makes us never want to order chili from a fast-food restaurant again. Just like Wendy’s chili, Checkers’ offering also comprises leftover hamburger meat that’s chopped up and added to some beans and spices. Worst of all, that chili could have been hanging around for days – even weeks! According to Delish, one Checkers employee told a stomach-churning tale of the chili never being thrown out. Instead, it was just topped off with new chili sauce and meat.

Domino’s – Philly Steak Pizza

Looking for fresh ingredients to top your Domino’s pizza? Steer clear of the Philly Steak Pizza. Since it’s a specialty pizza, the toppings are only used for that pizza and sandwiches, so the ingredients can be less than fresh.

A&W – Breakfast

It’s not that A&W’s breakfasts aren’t great, in fact, we love them – but if ordering them at any time other than breakfast means you will be in for quite a wait. Nothing is prepared ahead of time once the traditional hours of breakfast are over, which can be stressful for those working in the kitchen if you decide you want to indulge in eggs and bacon at three o’clock in the afternoon.

7-Eleven – Taquitos or Hot Dogs

Gas station food often gets a bad rap – and when it comes to 7-Eleven’s Taquitos and Hot Dogs the rap might be justified, especially if you’re looking to indulge late at night. The Taquitos and Hot Dogs have been hanging out all day long (since 5 a.m.), just waiting to be sold – and, as a consequence, are less than fresh.

Del Taco – Value Menu

Although Del Taco’s Value Menu seems like an incredible wallet-friendly choice, employees recommend skipping the value deals and ordering something from the regular menu if it’s quality and taste you’re after.

White Castle – Hash Round Nibblers

That humble little bag of White Castle’s Hash Round Nibblers could be doing some serious damage to your diet with a ‘sharing’ bag containing a whopping 1440 calories and 110 grams of fat. And let’s face it, chances are you’re not ‘sharing’ the bag and the Hash Round Nibblers are accompanying a sandwich of some sort.

Auntie Anne’s – Jalapeño Cheese Pretzel

Auntie Anne’s Jalapeño Cheese Pretzel may sound delicious, but your arteries are likely to disagree due to the high fat and sodium content. If you do have a hankering for a spicy pretzel, dieticians recommend omitting the cheese, butter, and salt.

Moe’s – Homewrecker Burrito

It may be called the Homewrecker Burrito, but Moe’s popular menu item should be called the diet-wrecker burrito since it’s laden with calories and sodium. Coming in at 945 calories, the Homewrecker Burrito contains an astonishing 1,859 mg of sodium – and that’s before you’ve added your side of chips and salsa!

Church’s – Cob Sandwich

Church’s Cob Sandwich is yet another belly-buster whose main goal is to sabotage any diet. This fried chicken sandwich contains 810 calories and a whopping 1,460 mg of sodium. 63 percent of the Cob Sandwich’s calories come from fat. And, as we all know, any visit to Church’s isn’t complete without adding a side of their famous mac and cheese or fried okra, so your calorie intake is likely to be a whole lot more.

Popeye’s – Shrimp Po’Boy

Yet another fast-food menu item you probably should avoid – unless you’re looking to gain a prescription for cholesterol and blood pressure meds – is Popeye’s Shrimp Po’Boy. Yes, it looks appetizing and probably tastes great, but with 660 calories, 41 grams of fat and just under 2,000 mg of sodium, you should probably opt for something a little more heart-healthy.

Culver’s – Veggie Burger

Vegetarian options are popping up on fast-food menus across the country, but if you’re ordering Culver’s Veggie Burger be prepared for some meat cross-contamination. According to Culver’s employees, the veggie burger patty arrives frozen, is heated up in the microwave and then placed on the same grill the restaurant uses for its meat burgers.

Movie Theaters – Popcorn

What trip to the movies is complete without a big bucket of buttery movie theater popcorn – and, if you go see a late-night movie there’s nothing wrong with indulging a little. However, matinee moviegoers will want to skip the popcorn, since it may be leftover from the night before. If hygiene is big on your list of requirements before purchasing food, you may also want to skip the popcorn altogether. Apparently, not every popcorn machine is given a good cleaning, with one movie theater employee revealing they even found mold lining the corners.

BoJangles – Chicken Rice Bowl

Chicken and rice may seem like a healthy option, but BoJangles Chicken Rice Bowl delivers a healthy-diet blowing 4,370 mg of sodium per serving – that’s 2,000 mg over the recommended daily sodium intake for adults! It also contains a whopping 1,130 calories and an ab-busting 126 g of carbs.

Shake Shack – Double SmokesShack Burger

According to CalorieKing, you would have to walk for 242 minutes to burn off the 870 calories inside Shake Shack’s Double SmokeShack Burger – and that’s before you add the fries and soft drink! This meat-lovers delight also comes complete with 56 g of fat and 1,895 mg of sodium. A better Shake Shack choice would be a single hamburger, without bacon and cheese, for 370 calories.

Einstein Bagels – Anything With Egg

Looking for a fresh egg to top that delicious Einstein Bros. bagel? Unless you’re ordering super early in the morning, you may want to avoid adding eggs to your bagel sandwich. According to Einstein employees, the restaurant microwaves the eggs first thing in the morning and then places them in a warming bin for the rest of the day.

In-N-Out – 4×4 Burger

The 4×4 Burger on In-N-Out’s “Secret” menu, should – for health reasons – remain a secret. Made up of four beef patties and three slices of American cheese, this secret menu offering is a meat-lovers dream. But with well over 1,000 calories it’s not for the faint of heart – or health-conscious customer.