Most of us would rather not think about what goes on behind the scenes at our favourite restaurant chain. Who cares if that burger or those nuggets arrived almost impossibly quickly, or if your salad is a suspicious colour. There surely can’t be anything that bad going on behind the scenes?
Sometimes it takes some truly explosive intel to finally convince the rest of us that something is wrong. This is why we have gathered together a few accounts from industry insiders into a handy, horrible document for you to digest at your own discretion. You might not like it, but it’s for your own good. Here are a few horror stories fresh from some of your favourite restaurant chains.
1. Never get Nachos
Whilst they might not technically be a formal restaurant, sports stadia definitely have their own distinct foodie subculture. This makes them a prime location for all sorts of foodie mischief. According to a Reddit user, nacho cheese is a regular target. Apparently, a primary duty for employees was, “open up all the containers of nacho cheese and scoop out any mold”, adding that, “Some of the containers are weeks old, and have been heated, cooled, and reheated so many times.” Happy snacking.
2. Up your iron
Anyone who feels as though they might be a tad anaemic can feel safe in the knowledge that their local fast food joint probably has them covered. According to an ex-employee of the Cheesecake Factory in Texas, kitchen staff would cut sandwich rolls with their bare hands, leading to “many fingers [being] lacerated” and blood seeping into the bread.
3. Bring your own condiments
For anyone with a masochistic interest in the behind the scenes activity of the fast food industry, Reddit is a real gold mine. Not that it will improve your appetite. According to user STENNYX, even McDonald’s is a candidate for foodie misdeeds. At the restaurant where they were employed, staff would have to clean the condiment pumps outside, because as soon as they were opened, thousands of tiny flies would zoom out. What effect this had on overall flavour remains a mystery.
4. An Inspector Calls
Food inspectors must have one of the hardest jobs in the industry. Not only do you have to peel back the horrible restaurant curtain, but you often have to deal with restaurateurs looking to fool you at every turn. This was apparently the case for Reddit user D_mBlack, who claims that his local Chilli’s used to relabel food that had been sitting in the walk-in fridge on the off chance an inspector showed up.
5. Waste not, want not
In an industry where margins can be tight, it’s in everyone’s interest to waste as little as possible. That being said, there are some businesses who apparently take recycling a little too far. Reddit user joeythehamster, for instance, revealed that the Cinemark Theatre where he worked had a policy of rewashing old hot dogs that had gone unsold, as well as cleaning and reselling any plastic cups that could be rescued from the screens.
6. Insect invaders
Bugs are a bane in any kitchen, let alone one that might not have the resources or inclination to try and get rid of them. Employees from a wealth of different chains have their own tales of arthropod attack, ranging from the discovery of a cockroach in an ice tea maker, to the realisation that a batch of salad at Jimmy John’s had been overrun with black beetles, yet still served to customers.
7. Everyone’s sick
Many misdeeds are specific to individual badly run restaurants. However, some poor practices are prevalent right across the industry. According to a study from Center for Research and Public Policy for Alchemy Systems, over half of restaurant workers “frequently” or “always” work when they are sick, meaning that they can potentially be spreading germs to everyone in a restaurant.
They say you’re better of not knowing how the sausage gets made. In the case of fast food, the sausage in question might end up being delicious, but it is almost always incredibly dubious too. Obviously, not every restaurant is guilty of cutting unhygienic corners. But in an industry where speed is more important than anything else, the chance of exposure to unspeakable foodie horrors becomes greater with every service. You have been warned.