Reddit user PuzzleheadedFix8972 asked: 'What restaurants do you refuse to go to and why?'
Diners have their favorite restaurants to go to when they don't feel like preparing dinner at home after a long day at work.
There's something comforting about hitting your go-to dining establishment and greeting familiar faces and favorite entrees.
And while customers are quick to rave about and recommend the restaurants to friends and family, they can be just as passionate about the places they avoid like the plague for various reasons.
Curious to hear about these nightmare establishments, Redditor PuzzleheadedFix8972 asked:
"What restaurants do you refuse to go to and why?"
For most Redditors, buffets are a no-go.
A Customer's Touch
"Golden Corral. Walked into one once in Florida. A small kid walking past the food bar was putting his hand in every tray he passed. Out we go."
"I am mildly surprised Golden Corral wasn't a victim of the pandemic. Like who on earth would eat there from March 2020 on?"
The Buffet Worker
"I knew a girl who worked at a buffet. On busy days they would have an employee hover looking for gross people. People using the serving spoon to take a little taste to see if they like it, grab food try it and don't like it and put it back, fingers in pudding all kinds of nasty sh*t. I don't eat at them anymore."
"Go right when they first open. Actually, show up before they open and be the first one in, that’s about as close to safe as you can be."
Chain restaurants are not any better according to these folks.
Boo To Applebee's
"Applebee’s - was a fry cook there."
"Was a server there. What a temple to mediocrity."
"Applebee's - when I'm too lazy to use my own microwave."
"Panera Bread, extremely overpriced, bland food."
"Thing is it used to be really good. Then they got bought by a VC and did a speed run into serving the cheapest, food-like meals ever to squeeze as much margin as possible out of the place."
"It’s like that scene in The Founder when his future wife convinced Ray Kroc to sell powdered milkshakes instead of the real deal. The VC that bought Panera did that with the entire menu."
People Don't Go For The Food
"Hooters. Waiting 45 minutes for a hamburger and baked beans and then immediately having diarrhea doesn't do anything for me."
"It's because they put all of their effort into the gimmick of "HoT wOmAn!!!" instead of serving actually good food."
"They know why."
"My friend’s mom is a little old lady from Sicily and her favorite restaurant is Olive Garden."
"Totally not joking."
"Because it's a loud place were everytime you clean your plate someone comes out and puts more on it just like any Italian dinner."
"They All Suck"
"Noodle & Company and Chili’s I honestly don’t know what I am supposed to order in either of these restaurants. They got so many things and they all suck."
"Oh and Pizza Hut because their pizza sucks."
It can't get any worse than some fast food joints.
Do They Do Chicken Right?
"KFC. I dont know why but I get sick an hour later every time."
"Churches doesn't do this."
"Popeyes doesn't do this."
"I went to KFC once and i took ONE bite of the chicken and literal blood was coming out. Ordered another one. SAME THING. Ordered another one! Guess what.. SAME THING. Never going to KFC ever again."
"Subway - because of food poisoning & there are better sub places in our town."
"Golden Corral - food has always been subpar & I always felt sick after leaving…and not due to overeating."
"This is also my two for the same reasons. I got food poisoned by subway twice in a row 20 years ago. Never been back, never will be back."
"Golden corral is so bad. I won't go for any reason. Not even because old great uncle whoever wants to see all the relatives and I'll make him sad if I don't come and get free food. If I wanted to serve people food of that low quality, I could just go to Sam's club and hit the freezer isle. Most of their items are the same processed heat and serve junk."
Have It Your Way
"Will pass on BK. It's always been the participation trophy of fast food."
"Wendy's has gone downhill severely, especially the wait times (I might be overly critical because I worked there one summer)."
Panda Express used to be my favorite default mall food court choice.
Until I got sick from their beef broccoli once and felt bloated for hours. I realized that with age, my body wasn't able to break down everything I was consuming there.
As a teenage patron everything there used to be so flavorful.
But then my tastes changed after I found out why eating there is the worst thing for your body.
Their highly-caloric dishes are also known to be extremely high in sodium, which if eaten frequently can lead to all sorts of health issues–including obesity and heart disease.
Reddit user ienjoysuffering asked: 'What discontinued menu item from a restaurant do you miss the most?'
Restaurants, whether they are part of a major chain or a beloved local establishment, offer dishes that have become favorites by repeat customers.
But in order for some of them to thrive in a competitive dining industry, owners of your favorite places for dinner are constantly updating their menus to attract newer customers and to stay relevant in the culinary scene.
Unfortunately, the changes come at the cost of banishing your favorite entrees to the past.
Curious to hear from dispirited diners online, Redditor enjoysuffering asked:
"What discontinued menu item from a restaurant do you miss the most?"
Fast food joints are constantly updating their menus–sometimes to much success, and others, much to the chagrin of fans.
"Wendy's used to have a mandarin orange chicken salad that was amazing and the potato wedges from Jack in the box!!"
"I remember that salad! As a kid I thought it was strange to put fruit in there until my mom let me try some."
Bye To The Snack Wrap
"Every fast food placed used to have a chicken wrap, and I don't get why they're gone. I mean they were never that great, but they were the best food to eat while driving."
The Colonel Has Spoken
"popcorn chicken from KFC. They were genius, why would they remove them?!?"
"KFC is dead to me. Why get rid of potato wedges? It's criminal."
Back To The Beginning
"The entire Subway menu needs to be switched back to it's original form."
"When you walk into a Quiznos and ask for a sub that has its ingredients pre-selected the workers actually knew what to put on it without looking at the menu.When you walk into subway and they have all these new fancy pre-made subs they have no f'kin idea what goes on it and just ask you what you want anyways."
Nothing sweet about these goodbyes.
The Bell Said 'Adios'
"Caramel apple empanadas from Taco Bell."
"There were nights where I'd go to Taco bell for a caramel apple empanada...and that was it. Not sure what the staff thought of me when that happened, but I don't care. Those things were fcking delicious."
A Scalding Hot Favorite
"The fried cherry pies from McDonald's."
"Some places still have fried apple pies (popeyes, Taco Bell used to have a fried caramel apple empanada), but nobody has cherry."
"Oh man...! I remember those as a kid! You had to wait a several minutes before you bit into it, otherwise the Liquid Hot Mmmag-ma that is the cherry or apple filling would lay waste to the roof of your mouth."
"Fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonald’s. Don’t understand why they got rid of it."
"Can almost guarantee they became 'too expensive' when produce started going up like crazy. Hell, everything went up, I believe it was around early pandemic when there were supply-chain issues galore. But they got rid of salads right around the same time, I guess you can hold frozen stuff damn-near indefinitely, but not so yogurt or lettuce."
It's not always about fast food.
Mad At The Factory
"Cheesecake Factory f'ked me thrice."
"First, got rid of their chicken Caesar sandwich. Second, got ride of their shrimp po-boy sandwich (remoulade was awesome). Third, got rid of the chocolate peanut-butter cookie dough cheesecake."
Another One Bites The Dust
"They got rid of their Oreo cheesecake years ago and I’m still not over it. Now it’s a half chocolate cake, half Oreo cheesecake fudge thing and it’s just too much."
"Chocolate lasagna at Olive Garden early 2000s, not the fake thing they have now. The old one had like a whipped cream cheese icing between layers of fluffy chocolate cake. There were white chocolate shavings on top. I was broke but would buy slices of it to take home and slowly devour. It was chocolate perfection."
It's the bargain prices these customers miss most.
Beloved Dollar Menu
"It's more a general thing, but back when there were actual dollar menus at fast food places."
"Like you could get 2 tacos, a Jr Bacon Cheeseburger, and fries for $3. The broke adult's feast."
"Now the 'value menu' is like $2-3 an item."
Meal For A Steal
"I'll take even late 00's pricing."
I still lament the loss of the garden poutine that used to be offered at my favorite mediterranean restaurant in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan called Kashkaval Garden.
They seriously perfected the ratio between gravy and potato pork belly.
The other items on the menu are definitely delicious, but when they unceremoniously did away with my and my husband's favorite dish, it was enough for us not to go back.
Sad but true.
Hungry customers could think of plenty of reasons to try out a new restaurant.
It could be good word of mouth found on Yelp reviews, a personal recommendation, or just plain curiosity in the spirit of adventure.
And while diners can be influenced and easily persuaded to walk into an eatery they haven't tried before, customers are not without the certain criteria they're entitled to.
Curious to hear from strangers who may have reservations about making a reservation, Redditor TREE__FR0G asked:
"What’s an immediate ‘no’ that makes you not want to eat at a restaurant?"
The smell from inside a restaurant should draw potential customers in, not repulse them.
"The smell. General cleanliness but most importantly, is the bathroom clean?"
"Years ago I walked into a local restaurant and the smell killed my appetite. It reeked of cigarette smoke and mold. The restaurant was sold and the new owner abolished smoking and throughly cleaned the place. He said the hood in the kitchen had so much grease and crud it that it looked it had never been cleaned. Now, the place is spotless and is a great place to eat at."
An Establishment's Short Lifespan
"Yeah there was a new restaurant that opened about 10 years ago, the smell the moment you walked into the door was raw sewage, they said it’s a plumbing issue, we lost our appetite and left. That place closed in a month."
Exterminators Have Good Scents
"Exterminators know a certain smell that’s an immediate no-go. Roaches in abundance give off a sweet type of smell and I will literally turn right around and leave."
Dirty tables are an instant customer-deterrent.
"Ugh, yeah and when they wipe down your table (with some dirty old snot rag that's probably never been cleaned, it even rinsed out) and the smell fills your nose after the murky brown drops pool on the table where you are now expected to eat."
"That's after the waiter smears around the jelly from the previous customer and pushes all the table crumbs onto your lap."
"Pro tip: you are supposed to cup your hand as you wipe so the crumbs accumulate in the palm of your hand. You start on one straight edge and wipe from one corner along the edge to the other. Then you turn your cupped hand, ready to begin the next pass and so you kind of catch the crumbs."
"No one likes someone else's crumbs brushed onto their lap!!"
Unsanitary Cleaning Supplies
"Sticky tables. Tells me they reuse their dirty wash rags and don’t change out the sanitizer water they use in the buckets and nothing is clean or sanitized in there. Oh and spots on cups and utensils."
For some, ambiance is everything.
"Loud sh**ty music."
"A small band or single person on a keyboard crammed onto a makeshift 'stage area' with a poorly balanced slightly sh**ty sound system so that you can neither hear nor enjoy hanging out with the person you’re a foot and a half away from."
No Audio Control
"You ever been in a car where the musics too loud and you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying? Imagine that but you can’t turn it down."
"We went to a family style seafood restaurant about a month ago on vacation. It had been a large fish-camp style eatery for years, at least since the 80s, with lots of tables with holes in them for the oyster and clam shells from roasts. Big with retirees and young families."
"The restaurant is shaped like a large rectangle. They had taken the middle of the back wall and turned it into a stage- where, that night, a man was playing a guitar and singing, 4 octaves off and the speakers cranked to 11. It was 6 pm. We asked how much longer he would be playing. 2 hours."
"Old on top, new on bottom. https://ibb.co/LnXXd3r"
These observations are very telling.
Desperate Cry For Help
"A sign complaining about how short-staffed they are because 'no one wants to work.'"
"I stopped patronizing a small local tavern for this reason. I liked going for a few cold ones and lunch on the weekends. Owner was a royal douche. Food quality went downhill. And then he'd complain online about no help. I'm like dude, I wouldn't work for you either."
"If most or all of the employees are visibly unhappy. I don't want to do business with a place that doesn't respect their employees or our community."
"Prices not on menu... and refusing to answer when asked what they are."
"This happened to me a couple of months ago."
“'Market price' equals 'you pay what we tell you to pay. Cause I don’t see anyone else selling fish at this restaurant.'”
I have a sensitive sense of smell, so all it takes for me to nope my way out of patronizing an establishment is a foul odor.
The source could come from mold or reused mop water or who knows what.
I don't care how good the food is. If businesses can't keep a properly clean restaurant, who's to say they don't have a sanitized kitchen as well.
When a restaurant gets popular, the obvious choice is to franchise. The owners pick new locations to open a second or third restaurant, and if those do well, they can open up even more locations.
When I moved from India to America, it was easy to see places like Burger King and Dairy Queen were popular simply because of how many Burger Kings and Dairy Queens existed in just one town.
However, popularity can be subjective. Other times, popularity can be overestimated. Sometimes, opening up more locations isn't what's best for the business. Whatever the case, some chain restaurants are simply just... the worst.
Redditors know this all to well and are eager to share their opinions.
It all started when Redditor Eris3344 asked:
"What is the worst chain restaurant?"
"I'm convinced Applebee's isn't a real restaurant. Just a front for repurposed takeout from neighboring restaurants."
"I'm convinced their kitchen is comprised entirely of microwaves"
"Years ago, I ordered a burrito that was so bad I sent it back, and the manager said “I don’t blame you one bit.""
"I haven’t been back to Applebees."
Better Sandwiches Everywhere Else
"Subway. Still lost about how they stay in business. The quality keeps dropping, the prices keep rising, the deals are shrinking, and their market share is being cannibalized over the last decade or so by places that offer a superior offering at less or just slightly more. I can walk in and get a Jersey Mikes sub for 10 bucks and it's miles better than anything subway can spit out."
"The toasted chicken carbonara sandwich from Quiznos handily beat anything Subway could offer at that time."
"Believe it or not, Subway was really crappy back in the early 1990s, and then had a makeover and became good food for awhile. Now they have reverted back to the crap they used to be."
"KFC. How can a chicken place be out of chicken so often? And bring back the corn on the cob as well as the tater wedges you fools."
"Bring back the buffet!"
Such A Rip-Off
"My wife and kids LOVE this place, but I'm just gonna say it: Fazoli's."
"It's literally just microwaved Italian Lean Cuisines (and if it's not I will be VERY surprised). It's not that it's gross, but I don't see the need to go out and pay a premium for it when I can hit up my local grocery store and nuke it at home."
"Being from the northeast with plenty of Italian and decent fast casual Italian-American food, trying Fazoli's in the mid south destroyed a little bit of my soul."
It Used To Be Awesome
"Burger King - awesome when I was a teenager, sucks now. I dunno, the food quality has gone too downhill for me."
"In my city, all of the BKs were owned by one franchisee. He sold out a few years back."
"The franchise owner ate several meals per week at his restaurants. You didn't know when he was showing up. The restaurants were tight ships. We were spoiled with inexpensive BK that was perfect every time. We had no idea how bad it was outside of town."
"If you wanted good fast food in Lincoln, Nebraska in the 90s, you went to Runza or BK. Everything else was a distant third."
"A few years back, that franchisee sold out to a multi-state conglomerate that owns hundreds of BKs. That conglomerate ran the restaurants into the ground. They've declared bankruptcy."
"I've noticed a wide range of quality for BK depending on location. They just can't enforce consistency like McD's does."
The Days Of Perfect Pizza Are Gone
"They all suck, but Pizza Hut has to be the one that fell the farthest."
"80s Pizza Hut was the best."
"I've always believed there is money to be made on nostalgia. Pizza Hut executives are letting this demographic slip away. You think they'd offer a once-a-year special to satisfy us old-timers."
"Of course, in addition to my 80's pizza, I'd want a few games sitting down at a cocktail arcade machine..."
Lacks In All Aspects
"Hate me if you want, but I can't stand Olive Garden. Their menu is just too limited and their food has no inspiration."
"As soon as I read the question I audibly and reflexively said Olive Garden. Their food is f**king awful and they treat their employees like actual prisoners. F**k Darden."
"Why would anyone hate you for stating straight-up facts? Olive Garden can't even cook pasta correctly."
"They can't even drain pasta right. It's all watery slop"
Cost Doesn't Match Quality
"Panera is on the list too."
"Panera costs more than a regular sit down. Totally ridiculous"
"I'll never understand why a small cup of their mac and cheese is like 7 bucks at the store... and my sister still buys that s**t all the time."
From The Top Of The World
"Papa John's went from the top to the absolute bottom in a very short time. We refuse to order it anymore. It was never great but it has become inedible in the last 5 years or so. We actually threw it out last time we ordered it and made something else."
To The Bottom Of The Heap
"Chili’s has gone so far downhill that it’s sad. 15-20 years ago it was the top family restaurant in my eyes. Food was excellent, service was good and the atmosphere was fun. Now, the food is bland, it seems every chili’s is woefully understaffed and every time I go, it feels miserable there. It was one of my favorite places to catch a bite to eat and now I don’t even bother anymore."
"I hate their phony, mass-produced nationalist pandering. Especially from a foreign-owned company that does everything in its power to avoid employing Canadians. No one outside Ontario gave a sh*t about TH until they started spamming TV with ads depicting themselves as a cherished Canadian institution. Where did they get the money to do that? By selling themselves to Wendy's."
The Days Of Yore
"Sonic. Which sucks because I remember when the food there used to be good."
"What year? I’m genuinely curious since I grew up in a place far from sonic but they advertised frequently in my area (Canadian border tv). I tried it in 2010 finally and it was so mediocre I was in disbelief."
"McDonald's, they treat their workers like sh*t, they get paid to be abused by coworkers, customers, owners, and truck drivers. Get injured? too bad! That's a you problem! Get back to work!! You can't even make enough to SURVIVE food is sh*t, overpriced, and I'd rather eat my own sh*t over mcshit. You have a family member dying? Oh well we need you to come in cus our best Boi Mc. Never does anything wrong needs a month off cus he "earned it" aka siting on his @ss doing nothing while you cook, clean, fry, assemble, and so on!"
"Tldr: McDonald's is a hellhole and far worse than any fast food joint."
"I’m definitely going to get hate for this but Panda Express."
"The food is mediocre at best but I will give them the benefit that you can’t find a larger portion of food for ~$10 anywhere else. However the real reason I say it is the worst is because due to how popular and widespread they are, it’s given a lot of people in less culturally diverse sectors the idea that all Chinese food is a cheap and greasy struggle meal. I am of East Asian descent and I’ve learned to stop suggesting Chinese food as a first date when meeting a non-Asian girl because I usually get hit with something like “What like Panda Express? Can we go somewhere better?”"
I fully conquer.
Do you have any fast food joint you avoid completely?
Let us know in the comments below. Save us from going there.
Eating at restaurants is usually great: you get awesome tasty food that you didn't have to cook for yourself.
Not every restaurant is created equal, though, and everybody has those one or two things that are just total dealbreakers when it comes to dining out.
Redditor jobokar asked:
"What’s a dealbreaker for you at restaurants?"
Nobody Likes A Sticky Table
"If the table is sticky and it gets stickier after they wipe it."
"Was so frustrating at one place I worked at. When the varnish starts to wear off, it gets sticky especially when humid. Losing tabels to it and them not fixing it really sucked."
"if you go to a mexican/tex-mex spot and the chips and salsa are terrible just pack it up and leave, nothing will get better."
"I just don't know how you mess up salsa. Like if you can't combine tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice with some peppers you should be out of business.."
"It’s a good metric for restaurants taking shortcuts and not putting a simple from-scratch component together."
"There are plenty of good enough premade salsas you can buy. If they don't even do that, it means they don't care."
I Can't Even Hear Myself Think
"Loud music. I've been in restaurants before where I can't hear myself think, let alone hear people opposite me talk."
"On top of this, an over abundance of televisions."
"Sports bars are fine, but there should be some separation between them and restaurants.
Don't Invade My Personal Space
"Tables packed closely together to the point where you might as well just be sitting with the strangers next to you."
"I ate at a restaurant where it was like school cafeteria seating. Multiple parties sat at the same table. Haven’t been back."
"I got bad news for you. You're going to HATE eating out in Europe and Asia"
"I got sat across from a stranger at a 2 seat table once at a busy restaurant in Japan. Definitely one of the more uncomfortable dining experiences I've had."
Pizza In Venice
"I sat at a table with a Japanese woman and her daughter in a pizza restaurant once during Carnevale in Venice. She spoke no English and I only spoke a few words of Japanese. It was one of the most delightfully memorable meals I have ever had and the pizza was to die for! Would I have wanted to share a table with strangers in a U.S. restaurant? Probably not. But it’s different in Italy. That wasn’t the only restaurant on that trip where I sat very close to and conversed with strangers, and it was a great experience."
Odor Is Key
"The smell when you walk in. If you can smell sewage, mold or excessive bleach or ammonia when you walk in over the food, turn around."
"Holy sh*t, there are places like this where you live?"
"I've been to places like that in every US state I've eaten in except Utah (but only because I've only been to a single McDonald's there). The excessive bleach smell is especially telling because the only way that happens is if they dump the stuff by the bottle everywhere. The GM at my last job was like that. She believed the smell of bleach meant clean and used a lot on everything."
"If a fish restaurant smells like fish, don’t eat there."
But How Much Does It Cost?!
"No prices on the menu. If I’m going to spend money, I want to know how much I’m going to spend. Just tell me the steak is $40 for f*ck sake."
"Yeah what’s up with that? I’m trying to find a nice (er) restaurant for me and my wife’s anniversary. Everything in the 'nice' category doesn’t include prices. I feel like if I call the restaurant to ask, they’ll say something like 'if you have to ask, don’t eat here.'"
"Even if I had a million in the bank, I’m not going to eat somewhere that’s a total wild card."
You Staff Are People Too
"Owners being rude to staff in front of guests"
"Though, you’re in for a treat if owners being rude to guests in front of staff"
"Only if the guests deserve it."
"Managers being rude to entitled a**holes to protect their staff makes me fall in love just a little. Owners being a-holes to guests who have reasonable questions or complaints, less so."
Am I Invisible?
"If they just ignore you for 10 minutes. Even if you are (too) busy at least acknowledge you've seen me and will get to me."
"Or when they take your drink order and then disappear for 35min."
"I once stood at the cash register of a Dennys in Redding for 20+ minutes. We were the only ones standing there. After trying to flag down a staff member I left 30 bucks and took off."
Can They Really Make All Of Those Things Well?
"I’m from UK so maybe not relevant but HUGE menu with loads of variety. If they can just master 5 or 6 dishes they will taste far better that the 50 different options that the kitchen has to offer."
"Yep, Gordon Ramsay calls this out on his restaurant makeover shows. Except for Chinese, they prepare a few ingredients in a million ways."
"I’m with you on this. There’s a little place near me who has at least 50 different things on the menu, maybe more. The food is always overpriced sh*t, most of it tastes like it came from the freezer section of the grocery store because a lot of it probably does at that point."
"I'm a chef and I can tell you, it definitely is mostly frozen. Depending on how many staff there are, usually Any menu over 20 or so items is a red flag. Ain't nobody got time for all that prep. 15 or less is a good sign."
Maybe Don't Lie To Your Customers
"We had a chucks roadhouse open up and they sent out “too good to be true” coupons in the mail (4 surf and turf meals for $25). It was just to get people to their tables and ordering, then they say “those aren’t valid, we sent out a retraction” (they didn’t). On top of all that they have an “honest to goodness fee” of 4% on every bill lmao"
"That sounds like a great way for people to never go back there again. After getting swindled like that I would never go back, tell all my friends to never go there and leave a terrible review on google."
While tasty food you don't have to cook is definitely awesome, maybe be careful where you're getting it from.