24 Chain Restaurant Secrets That Will Gross You Out Forever

24 Chain Restaurant Secrets That Will Gross You Out Forever

Anyone that’s worked for a restaurant chain has horror stories about the food service industry. Whether it’s bugs where there really shouldn’t be bugs, food falling on the floor, unsanitary practices, or a lack of overall cleanliness, there’s always something hiding in the kitchen of your favorite chain restaurant, something gross that might keep you from ever dining there again. We’ve compiled a list of gross things that routinely happen to food in restaurant chains.

We know that all franchise restaurants are not created equal. Some places are staffed by an awesome crew that does everything in their power to give you the best food they can while maintaining a clean work environment. A lot of other restaurants are staffed by a health inspector’s nightmare, however. The dirty little chain restaurant secrets on this list cover everything from pizza kitchens to food trucks. These gross food stories take the cake. Seriously, there’s a story on here that’s about gross cake.

Most of the anecdotes on this list aren’t for the faint of heart, so don’t read it before you go to your favorite burger place. And if you do, don’t look in the kitchen – at best, you’ll get a free coupon. At worst, you’ll get your hungry heart broken by the gross things they do to your food.


 Everyone Working There Is Sickeveryone-working-there-is-sick-photo-u1

A 2015 study from the Center for Research and Public Policy for Alchemy Systems found that over half of restaurant workers (51%) “frequently” or “always” work when they are sick. Which means they are infecting everything you eat with their gross germs. Why? For one, most restaurant workers don’t get paid sick days. If they don’t show up, they lose out on wages. Beyond that, the study found that many said they come in while sick because they don’t want to let their team down. You, on the other hand, they’re less concerned about.


It’s Not Called the OLD Spaghetti Factory for Nothing

Reddit user koma0029 filled us in on Old Spaghetti Factory’s secret recipe for Vesuvius, the chain’s signature spicy pasta dish. If you want to make it at home, all you have to do is mash together unused portions of chicken, pork, and beef from the previous 6-7 days. Don’t forget to cover it with week-old hot sauce. Bon appetite! 



Perkins, Where the Eggs Don’t Smell

Thanks to a spy at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, we know that the scrambled eggs come from a five-gallon bucket of mixed eggs that sits in the kitchen. You’d think the egg bucket would be tossed at the end of the day, but no, morescrambled eggs are added, filling it back up for the next day. The only time a bucket is disposed of? When the kitchen manager thinks the eggs are beginning to smell. 



Is Eating at Papa John’s Considered Eating Local?

It would never cross our minds to eat off the “local menu” at Papa John’s, but if you like meat that’s been swimming in it’s own juices for weeks, Reddit user mathee-us thinks you should try it out.


Frozen Meat Logs Anyone?

Even though the Subway spy has deleted their Reddit profile, the fact still remains that Subway ships their steak as a “slimy” frozen meat log. Eat fresh!



Reuse, Recycle, Rebarf

Everyone likes going to the movies and everyone wants to recycle, but the moment you combine those two things everyone freaks out. According to joeythehamster, Cinemark Theaters has a habit of washing hot dogs and then soaking them overnight to rehydrate (do hotdogs need to be hydrated?), as well as cleaning and reusing collectible cups that were abandoned in the theater. 



Stadium Nachos: Ruined Forever

While it’s not a restaurant per se, a sports stadium might as well be considered a fast food chain. One user who worked at an unnamed stadium clued us in that one of their first tasks for the day was to “open up all the containers of nacho cheese and scoop out any mold. Some of the containers are weeks old, and have been heated, cooled, and reheated so many times. Even after a container is expired you just scoop out the mold, and heat it back up.” 



Get an Extra Dosage of Iron at Every Cheesecake Factory

If you ever feel like you need a low grade blood transfer, a Reddit user in Texas says all you need to do is order some bread at the Cheesecake Factory. Apparently it’s often cut while the prep cooks hold it with their bare hands. According to this Texan, “many fingers were lacerated.”



Who Cares If It’s Fresh as Long as It’s Labeled?

According to Dm_Black, at his local Chili’s it’s totally normal to relabel items in the walk-in freezer just in case a food inspector shows up. In theory, then, almost any item could be ancient and petrified despite a fresh label.



Who Knew Salad Dressing Was a Solid?

At the Washington chain Burgermaster, it would seem that it’s mandatory for employees to mix new salad dressing with old dressing to create an all new medium-aged dressing that’s hypothetically appropriate for consumption. Or so says a mole on the inside.



Wait, You Have to WASH Tomatoes?!

It seems that at Marco’s Pizza, the management training course doesn’t include a section on washing produce. A cook on the inside claims that they had to teach the owner that washing tomatoes and green peppers is not optional, and that they’d just cut and serve them, dirt and all, claiming that the pizzas and sandwiches are cooked at 500 degrees. But what about the salads?


Bring Your Own Ketchup to McDonald’s

Reddit user STENYXX claims that at the McDonald’s where they were employed, the ketchup pumps had to be cleaned in the back because large swarms of tiny flies would fly out of them when they opened the top. Maybe the flies give it a little extra kick?


The Secret to Great Tea? Cockroaches, Obviously

This trusty insider gave us some insight into Western Steer Steakhouse’s iced tea spigot cleaning practices. Apparently, after noticing that the tea had been running slowly, they unscrewed the filter and found the remains of a rather large cockroach stuffed in the spigot. 


We Can’t Help but Love the Phrase “Drawer Toast”

Much to the chagrin of night owls and truck drivers everywhere, Denny’s is on the list. According to stealthmasetro1, the pancakes, toast, and bacon at Denny’s are all cooked first thing in the morning then placed in a drawer until they’re ordered. We like to think they’re living an Indian In The Cupboard-style second life in there.


Floor Chicken Has the Best Flavor

The next time you head over to Buffalo Wild Wings to catch the game, specify that you don’t want anyone dropping your chicken (although this will probably get your chicken dropped. According to vroomery, the cooks would just pick it up and carry on like nothing happened.


Coldstone: Home of the Time Traveling Pizza

Holly117 has the lowdown on going back to the future at Coldstone Creamery. “If our cakes expire, my manager makes us change the dates so we don’t have to throw them out,” she explains. Wait, cakes don’t actually expire, do they?



Reddit user, Calethal worked at McDonald’s for two years. The biggest takeaway: there were centipedes everywhere in the kitchen. Oh, and everything you’re afraid could be happening at a McDonald’s was happening, from unwashed hands to food served way, way past their hold times.


Never Look in the Lettuce

According to a former Jimmy John’s employee who had to ruin lettuce for us, “I cut the head [of lettuce] in half, and to my horror, see a swarming mass of hundreds of tiny black bugs eating/living on the inside of the lettuce head. Turns out the entire shipment of lettuce is like this. We had been serving it to people for days.”


“Famous” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

An old employee of Famous Broasted Chicken clued us in to the frightening amount of mucous that can end up in a batch of slaw. “A veteran employee was showing me how to mix up the batch of coleslaw that gets plopped onto every plate of famous chicken,” the ex chicken-seller explained. “Using her bare hands, she mushed and squished away, then suddenly had to sneeze. She turned her head away from the bowl, blew saliva blobs all over the walk-in cooler door, wiped her nose and mouth with the back of her hand, then plunged those babies back into the coleslaw.”


Reddit Comment, Or The Plot Of Our New Favorite Movie?

Storebrand seems like a pretty cool guy, but we don’t want him making our food. He admits that while working at Taco Bell, he got liquored up on the job. That’s not all, though. Apparently there was a broken drain on their steam table, so when the closing crew drained the water at night, it would flow into the floor and drip through the ceiling, leaving a constant puddle of putrid water on the lower level.


If You Weren’t Already Avoiding Sbarro…

A former employee of Sbarro in Sheboygan, WI, oblivious_fanboi, was kind enough to let everyone know about the time their ice machine stopped making ice. Their technician discovered that the the water lines feeding the ice maker were clogged. With what? With cockroaches, that’s what.


Uno’s Knows Where to Put the Rat Traps

Octo, a former employee of Uno’s Bar and Grill wanted everyone to know that the Chicago style pizza restaurant keeps its rat traps under the seats in the dining room. You scoff, but a rat probably makes a fine side dish if you prepare it correctly.


Who Doesn’t Need a Little Culture in Their Life?

We don’t visit Canada too often, but the next time we do, we’re definitely not eating at any Pizzaiolo locations. OlgaT has a whole slew of complaints about her employer, but the grossest thing is that slices are left at room temperature for up to 12 hours, which is more than enough time for bacteria to form. How dare they sully the name of one of the most delicious foods known to man!


For The Next Time You Need To Clean Your Change

According to one Arby’s cook, employees aren’t allowed to add Arby’s sauce to orders because it’s too acidic, and if something happens to a customer, they’d be liable. The employee goes on to say that the sauce is so serious, it can be used to clean pennies.
I Am Bored

2 replies on “24 Chain Restaurant Secrets That Will Gross You Out Forever”

it starts sounding false when the majority of the “facts” start with “a friend of a friend worked at”

This is why I stopped eating fast food/ chain restaurant food years ago.

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