Before the internet, it was hard to tell what was safe and not safe for consumption at your favorite fast food establishment. For years, millions of us stumbled through an uncertain world, ordering items that were not fit to eat or violating our own ethical standards (fun fact: literally nothing at Panda Express is vegetarian, something they will actually admit if you really press the issue). But now we have Reddit, a place that will answer any question — big or small, whether you wanted it answered or not — to make food ordering easier.
Two years ago, employees of fast food restaurants took to the site to warn others of what offerings should be avoided at all costs and now, with the world of fast and easy dining changing so quickly, Reddit’s fast food experts (the people who work behind the counter) are back to offer new and important tips you should follow when dining at the mall this holiday season.
How about we start with food poisoning and go directly from there? Here’s some advice from someone who’s seen it all:
Taco Bell: Anything with steak. Least popular meat option, also the most expensive one. We’re supposed to ditch it after a while, but it is very expensive to throw out
McDonalds: Fish patties. They sit out for a while too, unless it is Lent. If you ever want fresh fries, hamburger patties, or fish patties, order them all without salt.
Dairy Queen: Anything with chili. There’s going to be a thick layer of skin on it, because it doesn’t sell fast. Also stay away from any fruit topping that isn’t banana, pineapple, or strawberry (unless you want to run the risk of fermented blueberries on your sundae).
BK: Chicken burgers, because they sell slowly and sit a while.
Sbarros: Fried chicken patties. Over priced, and you can buy fried chicken patties at McDonald’s for like $1.50.
Subway/Blimpies: The tuna or chicken salad. Mayo-based – so food poisoning is a concern as it hardly sells – and typically sits the whole week.
That salt tip is incredibly controversial, by the way. You may want to try and do it yourself (who knows, you may be a professional with those little white packets), but here’s a breakdown of why it may be inadvisable to roll through McDonald’s asking for all fresh everything.
Worked at McDonald’s as a teenager..
Here are the items that I would avoid at all costs:
-Breakfast steak sandwich.. (They sit forever & always get tons of seasoning dumped on them)
-Scrambled Eggs.. (they sit forever)
-Pies.. (they sit forever)
Here are the items that I would be extremely skeptical of:
-McMuffins.. (the only sandwich with a REAL egg.. Depending on whoever is cooking the eggs, you have a pretty good chance of getting a nice piece of shell in your egg)
-Grilled Chicken.. (it is so easy to forget about this item because of the way it is covered, 1/2 of the time, it sits on the grill WAY too long)
Items I will ALWAYS recommend:
-Chicken Nuggets.. (they go sooo fast)
-French Fries Without salt.. (Super fresh)
This one’s short and, well, sweet isn’t the word. Maybe short and desperate? Short and beseeching?
I worked at Subway, and I strongly implore everyone to refrain from eating the seafood.
Sometimes it’s not even the food that’s the problem:
I’ve worked at KFC and Fazolis (10-15 years ago), neither were really bad with anything that sticks out. However, be very careful when getting a soda from fast food. The nozzles are likely not cleaned as often as they should be.
And sometimes it’s that your favorite fast food place is just a mess when it comes to doing more than one thing:
I would not eat the wings from Domino’s Pizza. The are run through the same ovens as the pizza and are always chewy and gross.
But at least Domino’s may have a secret menu item? Order at your own risk:
Ask for the “Leprechauns Balls.” They are a secret menu item at my dominos. They are basically parm bites but instead of parm and garlic they cover the bites in icing and cinnamon. They are really good.
Wanna know where all the excess toppings go at Round Table?
Round Table Pizza, worked there as a teenager. First owner ran the place like Chef Ramsey. Super clean and fresh food. He later sold the place to a foreign investor. We are now instructed to scrape all the excess toppings from the pizza stations into a bowl for use on the combination pizzas. Chicken left out so long in the walk-in that it smells like feces. Being told to pick up cheese from the ground after a rush and use it on pizzas…. so many people ate that food. Fuck you Mash, you killed my home town Pizza place.
Do these hash browns sound great or what?
I did a few month stint at Waffle House (I know, not traditional fast food, but it was fast-ish food). Hashbrowns, hands-down. Everything else we cooked was fresh-ish, like all the meat and toppings were real, but the hashbrowns…they came dehydrated in a carton. During prep we’d have to fill it to a specific line with water and let them soak for a few hours.
And never buy the baked good at Starbucks. They’re overpriced, and, well:
The thing I’d recommend against, though, are the baked goods. They are frozen and thawed later.
This was after I stopped working there, but Starbucks instituted a rule that baked goods should be heated before being served to customers. They heat those bagels, danishes, etc. to mask how stale and flavorless they are. Most food should be tossed or donated at the end of the day, but some stores are better at this than others. To save money, some stores try keeping bagels and danishes for a second day and only throw them out if someone complains about how stale it is.
Of course, many of these abominations could be down to the person owning the restaurant (they’re often independent franchises), so your local McDonald’s may have much higher hygiene standards and your Domino’s may not make “Leprechaun’s Balls” and the employees will just stare at you blankly. Just be careful out there. And remember that at least one franchise makes chicken nuggets from cubes:
I operated a chicken nugget machine for about a month. I used a loader to load semi-frozen cubes (about 50-200kg each iirc, I don’t remember the exact weight) of chicken parts in a machine that mashed them into a paste and then stamped them into shapes according to a mold that could be changed. Then they were breaded, cooked, and frozen, and loaded into boxes of many different brands. Yum!