Fast-food workers are sick of eating their own restaurants’ fast food. Between dealing with insane customers and being inundated with brainwash-y “feel-good” music, employees gotta eat to have the energy to deal with whatever crisis comes their way. But think about it — In-N-Out’s menu has approximately two items, and those employees have no choice but to eat them day In and day Out. It’s no wonder that some of them get creative and use the ingredients that are already lying around to make new and interesting dishes.

We tracked down employees who transform and remix their restaurants’ food to make brand-new, usually off-the-menu meals. (But you can absolutely order some of them!) Here are all the secret food items fast-food and chain restaurant employees are making for themselves when you’re not looking.


Migas de Applebee’s
The casual restaurant that sells neither apples nor bees (what a jip!) employs staff that’s cooking breakfast before any guest arrives. “Before the lunch service starts in the morning, we like to make our version of migas,” says Thomas, an Applebee’s cook in Los Angeles. “We scramble together a few eggs with corn tortilla chips, our house-made chipotle lime salsa, and smoked bacon. It’s really good with some pico de gallo on top.” But our boy Thomas is not done spilling the (Apple)beans on what the employees eat. Family meal is what the chefs make for the staff before they work a long shift, and you certainly won’t find those dishes anywhere on the menu. “Our family meal is usually some combination of grilled protein and fresh veggies (like zucchini, grape tomatoes, yellow squash, red bell peppers, red onions) — it’s whatever we’re in the mood for,” he says. “There’s no real name for the dish, as everyone customizes it with different sauces or toppings, like pico de gallo or black bean corn relish.”


Sonic Sunrise
If you don’t get a crazy soft drink when you go to Sonic, it’s like going to Walt Disney World and not getting Belle from Beauty and the Beast to sing a Céline and Peabo Bryson-style duet with you. There are 1.3 million different drink combos at Sonic, and Mackenzie in Oklahoma City has a good one. “My favorite is Sprite, Orange Juice, real cherries, and fresh lime,” she says. “We drink it in the morning for a carbonated and citrusy morning boost.” She has plenty of other sippable concoctions in her arsenal, too. “I also like to combine Sprite, vanilla syrup, sweet cream, and then add different flavored syrups,” she says. “I’ll add blue coconut to make it a ‘Blue Gentleman,’ or cherry for a ‘Pink Lady.’ Both are sweet, creamy, and addictive.” You could also bring your own maple syrup and turn it into a ‘Canadian Lumberjack.’

Please wait...

And Now... A Few Links From Our Sponsors