25 Fast-Food Horror Stories From Ex-Employees About Things Not To Order

We assume restaurants do their best in balancing between budget and keeping their food fresh. Well, when it comes to fast-food joints, budget food means budget maintenance. This also means these places might cut corners to fulfill the quota within the most minimum operating cost. Cutting corners is still acceptable if the food is still perceived edible and safe.

But these horror stories… don’t even cut it. These are food that the workers take a look at and gag hard because they will have to serve them. Shared on Reddit, definitely read at your own discretion as these are claims made from mostly ex-employees.


Julia Rubinic

“Did a month at Golden Corral during my senior year of high school.
Roaches. In. The. Meat. Freezer.

Roaches. In. The. M e a t. F r e e z e r.” – TheLikeGuys3


“I worked at BK for a year. Once I accidentally dropped a whole open box of frozen original chicken patties on the floor and told my manager to write down the waste. He said, “Just put them back in the box. The fryer oil will get rid of any germs or whatever.” Unfortunately if food waste exceeded $100 a month they would make the managers pay out of pocket for any additional expense; I think by cutting a portion of their paychecks. Seeing as everyone is underpaid, including the managers, you can probably guess the corners that would be cut to keep food cost as low as possible.”scoutydouty


“Ham on pizza. Worked at Pizza Hut some time ago and the ham would turn this disgusting gray color within a day of opening the package. You just couldn’t tell if it had been opened 24 his ago or 2 weeks ago. But, during cooking, it returned to pink which always weirded me out.”Fusorfodder


“Had a job with AMC theaters. I wouldn’t recommend buying anything other than popcorn/drink. The fried food is really something else – one it comes shipped from a 3rd party, so it’s not even kind of fresh.

The oil is so gross. You’re basically ordering something that went through a machine built in the 70s that has accumulated layers and layers of oil residue. You can clean it a little bit, but you’re never going back to how it first looked. Every day there’s like a new layer of “oil icing” and the corners of the steel plates are where they really get stuck. (I’ve worked other jobs as a fry cook before too, making fresh chicken tenders and such every day at a deli. AT the deli we cleaned the fryers every night, with huge hoses.)

AMC we cleaned the fryer once a week – by a person making minimum wage and doesn’t exactly have any motivation to do a pristine job.” – commenter37892


“I work at a chain coffee shop where we make our own in-house chocolate sauce. Sounds nice but it starts to mold within a few days. That shouldn’t be a problem since we go through chocolate and make more daily, however the chocolate sauce container only gets cleaned out properly if we run out during slow times. Otherwise we just dump fresh chocolate sauce on top and get right back to dealing with the rush. The white mocha and caramel sauces are manufactured and therefore have a long shelf life. I stick with those.”Fantastic_Relief

Mike Mozart

“Applebee’s; not a damn thing. It’s the only restaurant I’ve worked for I would never eat at.”Captive_Starlight


“I quit working at a restaurant because I discovered maggots crawling all over a box of moldy potatoes so I threw the box out and I was cussed out and they fished them out and cut the maggots parts out of the potato’s and used them anyway. I quit that day.”Not_a_hick-


“I worked at a pizza place that was infested with roaches, especially in the back room where we would leave the pizza dough out to sit. We would also find roaches in the ice maker, in the mechanical parts as well as the ice itself.”CirceAlleghri

Amy Stephenson

“There’s a reason that the ice cream machine is down a lot. Sometimes it’s for legit maintenance, other times tho, it’s to clean out the mold that likes to grow in the liquid mix. I only found out after a year, was filling it one day, and looked down. The stuff I saw was nightmare fuel and ruined me on their soft serve for awhile. I had said something about it. ‘First shift will get it tomorrow.’”razzi123

Bradley Gordon

“Commercial Food Equipment Maintenance man here. I will never drink a fountain beverage with ice at a sub sandwich chain restaurant or anywhere else that bakes bread and has an ice maker. The yeast in the air makes things grow like crazy on the grid the ice is formed on. Even if the ice maker is cleaned regularly, it’s not enough. It’s why they don’t use clear cups. If you got clear soda or water with ice in a clear cup, it would look like pepper was floating inside (at the very least).”Jedimasteryony


“I worked at Wendy’s in high school. For me, that item is the chili.

Whenever a burger is cooked, it is only considered “good” for a certain amount of time. So many minutes after cooking and the burger didn’t get used, it would be thrown in a bucket next to the grill. At the end of each shift, the person dumps all the old burgers into a larger bucket of old burgers, which may or may not be covered. They also may be from days prior. Overnight they chill, the grease congeals, and the meat turns pretty grey and weird. This meat may not be frozen, but it is still pretty hard to break up. So the person making chili dumps it in a big colander, runs hot water over it, and mashes it into tiny pieces again.

Now the soggy, greyish, lukewarm day old burger meat is ready to be used in the chili.” – MichelHollaback

Ewan Munro

“My college buddy worked at McDonald’s for a while and told me he would never order the McRib. I don’t remember the specific details, but he mentioned in general that if you didn’t order during the lunch/dinner rush, your food had probably been sitting under a heat lamp for hours. I think his issue with the McRib was, in addition to heat lamp issues, the BBQ sauce covered up any problems with it so you couldn’t even see if anything was wrong.”SilentMunch


“I worked at Orange Julius for my first job. We would cook hot dogs on the rotating grill for all to see. At the end of the day, if they weren’t bought, we were supposed to toss them. I mean, they were almost burnt and wrinkly. The manager was there one day when we had three hotdogs left over. I went to Ross then, and he flipped his shit. He put them in the fridge and told me to use them the next day in a chili or cheese dog where the customer couldn’t see the hotdog. To this day, I still feel bad for the customer who received the chili dog the next morning since he was there. Thankfully he has rarely there, and I would toss out those wrinkly fuckers at the end of the day.”ExWiFi69

Fuzzy Gerdes

“I worked at KFC when I was in high school & to this day I remind people to never get the chicken pot pie.

The chicken used for this is old chicken that hasn’t been bought throughout the day. For example, a cook will make the chicken at opening & once time passes no one buys it, they dump it in a container, freeze it then shred it up for pot pies months later. No one would know since it’s sauced up in a pie.” – cjsbbyprincess

Timothy Vollmer

“Former BK employee of 6 years here. The food was actually good if it was fresh. The issue is the staff/management. Sauce bottles would never get completely emptied and cleaned. People wouldn’t change their gloves between doing different tasks or would be texting with those gloves then make your food. Also, all the items that go into making your food (lettuce, cheese, etc.) were all tracked via time stickers (think a little clock). So if you brought out new cheese, the rules were it could only be left at room temp for 4 hours. If you brought it out at 12, you’d mark the sticker for 4 PM; at that point, you should have thrown it away. Well, that never happened. Everything got stickers replaced to make sure they were always good in case of surprise inspection. Whenever I’d train people, I gave a few rules to live by:

1. If it’s dirty, clean it
2. If it’s out of place, organize it
3. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it

From a customer perspective, always order your food with a slight modification (light Mayo). This will ensure your food is made fresh instead of you getting one that has been made previously to speed things up; however, can’t guarantee the food it’s being made with is fresh.” – enthusiastic4few


“Over a decade ago, I worked at Little Caesar’s. The thing I refuse to eat (I eat there super rarely anyway) is the crazy bread. At our store and the other I worked at temporarily, we used a paintbrush to spread the garlic butter. The thing was that the paintbrush was never fully clean, so garlic butter from the previous days would still be on the brush. I’d never seen the brush replaced in my nearly two years working there. It’s hardly surprising, considering after we were robbed, they still hadn’t put up security cameras in the three months following. At that point I decided to quit.”thedenimlord


“I was doing my thing one night, and the restaurant owner is on the phone, trying to get his fryer filter repaired. He told me he’d been trying for weeks but the co was booked solid. I’ve got a degree in engineering, so I said I’d check it out. I managed to get it apart, and get a look inside. Inside were two large dead rats, or what was left of them, bones and fluff mostly. They had got in the machine via the purge pipe, and got stuck inside. So for probably a month or two, all the fried food from this establishment had been cooked in oil that had been filtered through two rotting rats…”more_beans_mrtaggart

David Berkowitz

“I worked at Wendy’s. Nobody ever friggin’ orders the homestyle chicken so if you do it’s probably been sitting in a warmer tray for an hour or two since we just can’t afford to throw out the old ones all the time but have to keep some on hand. It will probably be hard and dry and we probably won’t give you a refund.”Vanilla_Neko

Joshua Morley

“McDonald’s in Colorado, worked one shift, cut the hell out of my hand, and bled into a tea urn. The shift manager told me to use it anyways and didn’t even let me wash my hands. I dumped all the tea out and reported to the GM and made up a lie about having a blood borne illness so they’d take things a little more seriously.”Gavin1772

Lon Koenig

“Used to work at McDonald’s. Nobody ever ordered the crispy chicken. I’ve had it sit in the warmer from opening to changeover. Then from changeover when I ended my shift. Maybe it depends on the location, but the odds of getting one that’s been sitting there for an hour or two outweigh the odds that the table and grill people remembered it existed and changed it out when it started looking bad.”shadeplant

Southern Foodways

“I have watched the hairiest men make coleslaw with no gloves and for perspective, we make a giant tub at a time. Your literally armpit deep sometimes in this bin to mix it correctly.”buddyturner2014

Jason Lam

“Used to work at a small fast food place and during training, my manager got mad at me for throwing out slimy corn. She showed me how she would just rinse the slime off in the sink and put it back. I find corn suspicious now.”Successful-Cat8572


“I was a shift supervisor at a fast food place and years later, I still refuse to eat anything with ice cream in it. The machine we had was always covered in mold and spoiled cream while the owner’s “fix” was to scrape off a layer of mold and spray some Clorox on it.”Prannke

Toshiyuki IMAI

“If people saw (and felt) the popcorn “butter” at AMC when I worked there, you wouldn’t touch that whole stand, much less put that stuff in your body. To replace the butter, we get this bag of yellow liquid that glows pink in the light to screw into the nozzle at the bottom. And somehow, which I never understand, is that touching the outside of the plastic bag makes my hands super greasy. And when I say greasy, I have to SCRUB with a sponge for minutes to get most of it off, and there is always some residue that remains. Can only imagine what that is doing to the arteries of the people pumping that sh** all over their food.”runnerd81


“Dairy Queen strawberry cheesecake blizzard.

When the cheesecake gets low you’re supposed to fill it up a certain way where the new cheesecake goes on bottom and what’s left of the old stuff is put on top to ensure it’s used first and it all stays fresh. Well, let me tell you that sh** is like a brick after it’s been in the container long enough, you constantly take it out and put it back so it’s always thawing and refreezing and essentially freezing together. This is why absolutely NO ONE rotates the cheesecake. I once dropped the cheesecake container onto the tile and the chunk in bottom cracked in half and came out… it had become almost like 98% mold. We’d been using it without rotating it for months.” – Crazybunnyb***h


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