Woman eating a hamburger

6 sneaky ways that fast food restaurants are scamming you

Over the years, the fast food industry has built up a deserved reputation for underhand tactics. When it comes to selling you stuff that is objectively terrible for you, no one does it better. While everyone is ultimately allowed to indulge whenever they feel like it, you should know that even today there are a few tricks used to help make big business an extra few cents at your expense. The truth might be difficult to swallow, but it’s a pill we all have to take sometime. Here are just a few of the ways that your local franchise might be scamming you.

Stealing money from a back pocket Credit: Vital Smarts

1. The Fry Carton Trick

One of the most satisfying parts of ordering in a fast food joint is the sight of a cardboard carton overflowing with golden French fries. However, it turns out that there’s more to this than meets the eye. According to several ex-fast food employees, many restaurants instruct their workforce on how to pinch the packet to give the illusion that it is more full than it is, before fries are served to customers. This means that you end up with far fewer fries then you may think.

French fries in a carton Credit: Fruit-Powered

2. The Fake Order Tracker

If you can’t make it out to your nearest restaurant, hungry fast food fans can have their favourite snacks delivered straight to the door. After tapping a few buttons, starving diners can stare excitedly at ticking clocks and whirring dials as the order gets ever nearer. Except, they can’t. It turns out that the vast majority of food trackers are more like screen savers than an accurate representation of how far away your order may be - it’s just a way to reassure you that food will be there at some point.

Food order tracking on a phone Credit: Android

3. The Meaningless Grill Marks

Everyone knows that the best burgers are made fresh before being slapped on a flaming grill. It’s this technique that delivers a burger’s signature blackened lines and smoky flavour. Fast food restaurants know this. Therefore, in order to give the illusion of proper cooking, some restaurants will use a brand to con the audience into believing they're eating a premium sandwich.

Grill lines on a burger Credit: Readers Digest

4. The Triggering Colour Scheme

Ever wondered why almost every fast food joint is splashed in varying shades of reds and yellows? It’s not coincidence. Science has shown that red and yellow are the colours most likely to trigger feelings of hunger - which explains why they’re such a popular choice for almost every fast food giant.

fast food restaurant colour scheme Credit: Pinterest

5. The World’s Least Healthy Salads

As the world got wise to the unhealthy options presented to them by fast food franchises, most brands realised that they needed to clean up their act. The result was the inclusion of a number of different “healthy” options, such as salads and low fat alternatives. Unfortunately, it turns out that thanks to the addition of salt and fat laden sauces and dressings, many of these options are in fact less healthy than the burgers they were designed to replace.

fast food salad Credit: Comeback Momma

6. The Completely Inaccurate Pictures

Anyone who’s ordered anything from a fast food restaurant knows that it never looks anything like the shiny pristine portion presented in the photo above the counter. This is because it isn’t even close to the same product. All fast food photos include a wealth of inedible supplements, including glue and WD40, in order to make them appear more palatable than they really are. The result is a final product that inevitably fails to meet expectations. 

Burger with an American flag Credit: prepareforchange.net

Given the millions that fast food franchises are prepared to spend on flogging us their salty wares every year, it should come as little surprise to learn that they are often less than honest. So, next time you take a trip to your local restaurant, take careful note of everything around you, and point out if you think a mistake has been made. Remember, the customer is always right.

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