Image by Marcel Gnauk from Pixabay

The rule of thumb when eating fast food is very simple: put on the blinders, enjoy the meal, and try not to do it too often.

But what if you work in the kitchen?

In that case, there's simply no escaping a complete understanding of the several horrors that each assembled burger or french fry encounters on its way to that front counter.

For some Redditors who've worked in a fast-food kitchen, they had no choice but to swear off the stuff for good.

-Skippy_ asked, "Poeple who work at fast food chains but don't eat the food, what was the 'never gonna eat here again' moment?"

Plenty of comments centered around the grossest of the gross.

These Redditors worked enough shifts to see witness proof that Murphy's law applies to fast food joints: if a horrifying, unsafe food preparation issue can occur, it will occur.


"I've been a chef for an embarrassingly long amount of time and have worn many different hats within that realm. At one point I'd go to to other restaurants owned by the same owners and help them get ready for inspections."

"I've seen some scary sh**, but the most common and the one you get pegged for by the inspectors is mold in the ice machine. One was really bad and glad nobody got sick."

"Another place had two UFOs in the walk in. Unidentifiable Food Objects. You know how long something has to be in the fridge for nobody to be able to recognize what it was?"

-- Aragorn_71

Microbes on the Move 

"I'm the only one who washes my hands after handling raw hamburgers" -- piku-piku

"I think the most disturbing thing about this is the amount of dudes that don't wash their hands after pi**ing."

Still Fingers 

"I eat there still, but only if I make my own food, or I know who made it and it's a good coworker."

"These kids think that wearing gloves means they magically can't get stuff dirty anymore. Son, if your gloves touch nasty, your gloves are nasty now."

-- Isabel79540

Out of Sight, Out of Mind 

"I worked at a local sub shop in high school. They had this mushroom/steak sub that was really popular. At the end of the shift they would cover and refrigerate the mushroom sauce."

"I never once seen the pan washed."

"They just added sauce to it when it was low, heated it and served it, then refrigerate at the end of the shift again. I would think between the never-ending heating/refrigerating and nasty pan they were breaking some codes."

-- 1980pzx

Good As Any Other 

"I worked at a dishdog at a local small chain restaurant. One day the chef needed a ladle STAT but we just couldn't find any."

"Chef looks under his workbench and sees a ladle lying in the grease covered nasty floor. He announces '5 month rule!' and just chucks it in the soup."

"I laughed for a goddamn week"

-- MutantTailThing

Other people chose to discuss the questionable ethical motivations behind some common fast food practices. It's a business after all, and that can lead to some cut corners or scheming ploys.

The Bacon Exception

"Subway used to have a double meat option a couple years ago (it's 50% more meat now) that was $2 extra. Adding bacon to your order was $1."

"Well, a lot of subways were scamming customers out of that extra dollar If they ever got bacon added to their order."

"Instead of charging you for your sub + bacon, they would charge you as a BLT + your meat so that they could charge you that extra dollar."

"So if you ordered a tuna sub with bacon, instead of being Tuna Sub($5) + Bacon($1) it would be a BLT($5) + Tuna($2)."

"My manager would do this every. Single. Time. Someone ordered bacon. He threw a huge fit when subway altered their prices because of this scam."

-- EpicBlueDrop

Structurally Unsound  

"I managed a sandwich shop in college."

"If you think you can pay teenagers minimum wage and expect them to accurately keep the dates of things that expire, wash everything properly, and generally give a fu** about anything related to food safety you are sorely mistaken."

-- datacollect_ct

A Daily "Everything Must Go" Sale

"Don't eat movie theater popcorn before 5pm..."


"If you do, you are most likely to be eating popcorn popped yesterday, collected into containers (my theater used plastic garbage bags), and thrown back into the popper under the heat lamps the next morning. And no new popcorn gets 'popped' until the old stuff is gone..."

"Thus, if you buy popcorn after 5pm you are more likely to be eating fresh stuff instead of the old stuff."

"On an unrelated note, popcorn butter is not butter; nobody knows what it is. All I do know is when we paid a guy $20 bucks to drink a glass of it he went into renal failure and almost lost a kidney."


And a few took the opportunity to name drop.

But of course, this was no boastful or celebratory mentioning. This was outing a well-known corporation for its glaring lack of food safety.


"I worked at Arby's."

"The mold covering the back wall of the fridge, the flash cooked roast beef that was still raw and instructed to be microwaved to finish cooking, and the putrid black fryer oil."


-- weedynaddys98

One To Rule Them All 

"My brother-in-law has worked at a lot of restaurants as a cook. Basically all the chain restaurants, IHOP, chilis, etc."

"He said the nastiest one by far in terms of a disgusting kitchen was Olive Garden."

-- jonahvsthewhale

A Laundry List of Horrors

"Sonic. We were told to keep breakfast stuff (eggs, potatoes, etc.) in the hot drawers in case someone wanted breakfast at night. So they'd get like 10+ hour old soggy stuff."

"5 for $5 Tuesdays (no idea if that's a thing still), we'd literally just have like 40 patties sitting on the back of the grill at all times. Sometimes they'd be going out every 2 minutes..slow days they'd just sit for half an hour."

"If folks complained that their fries weren't "fresh" enough, they'd just get refried, resalted, and sent right back out."

"No one else adhered to the 30-second handwashing rules that were posted everywhere. We'd just "flash fry" the hot dog links for conies to warm them back up. Same with the nasty popcorn chicken that sat under heat lamps for hours during the day."

"Most fast food is garbage, but Sonic is its own brand of American fast food."

-- cavscout43

The Full Survey 

"I never worked in a reatraunt but worked for sysco and got to see the inner workings of SUPER high-end restraunts to the low end fast food and everything in-between."

"As far as DQ's went, it was always hot or miss on how clean they were just depended on who the franchise owner was, every Red Robin I went to was utterly disgusting, the only consistently clean fast food joint I went to was Jimmy John's."

"I've never been in one where I thought it wasn't clean, I mean it'd get messy during rushes but as soon as a rush was over they'd clean, and everything was consistently rotated."

-- 1MillionMileOTR

So Many Particles

"I'll still maow down on some McDonald's. Just don't get ice in your drink. Might want to avoid the drinks all together. The machine is rarely cleaned, where I worked"

"Extra bubbly sprite, anyone?"

-- LughCoeus1

Safety First!

"Didn't work here but I wanted to share because it was gross. One evening after a long day everyone was starving and dominos pizza was ordered."

"Under the cheese a used bandaid was found"

-- Starshooter49

The Blob of Blobs 

"Ok so I used to work at dominoes years ago like one of my first jobs , (this is uk so might be different elsewhere) the dough all gets delivered in one big blob in a blue bag inside a box you scoop out a certain amount until it fits in a clear tray / container once it thing is full you put it on a conveyor belt and that makes your base"

"that box only came 2/3 a year"

-- Villianous_cosplay

Frightening Hues 

"Saw the color of the meat coming out of the fridge at a Wendy's."

"Didn't go back until I was hungry and desperate enough about 20 years later."

-- ectrosis

So yes, probably every fast food place out there has its own version of these stories. Tread lighthly, friends.

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