Fast Food Industry Secrets You Should Know Before Your Next Trip To The Drive Thru

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By: Yael Levenchuk | Last updated: Dec 21, 2022

At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all had fast food. Were you a cheeseburger-loving kid or were you all about having an old-fashioned burger? Did you get regular or animal-style fries from In-N-Out?

We hope you’re sitting down because these secrets in the fast food industry may surprise you…and might put some insight into what is behind some of your favorite fast foods.

Sugar Is Not Your Friend…Neither Is Subway

Eating healthier is hard, especially when that juicy burger is calling your name. In fact, sugar isn’t in just desserts, sodas, and shakes, it’s also primarily in bread. For instance, Subway is considered a “healthy” version of fast food, but its bread contains a lot of sugar. Like, it’s literally a slice of cake.

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Source: u/Hummus12345/ Reddit

Subway’s bread is essentially fake and contains so much sugar (actually, 10% of the recipe’s total weight). So much, so that Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled that Subway’s sandwich bread is too sugary to even be considered bread. Wow, if only America could take a hint!

We’ll Take Dehydration Instead

Sanitation is one of the most important elements of keeping a clean environment and preventing customers and employees from getting sick. Even if you’re not a chemist, these basic cleaning procedures should be easy to figure out, specifically the core difference between cleaning products and beverages. 

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Word to all fast food managers: please ensure the nozzles are cleaned properly! At least soak them in bleach overnight. I mean, it seems quite obvious, but Sprite isn’t a cure for everything, sadly.

Avoid The Lemon In Your Glass

Most of the time, when at a restaurant, your water comes with a slice of lemon on the edge of the glass. You might be tempted to squeeze some lemon into your water to add a little something extra to it, but you might want to think again before doing that.

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Speaking of sanitary procedures, you will be grossed out to find that the sliced lemons are not fresh. They have just been sitting around – god knows for how long – and the person who sliced them does not wear gloves. You also don’t know if they’ve washed their hands before touching the lemons or if the ice machine has even been cleaned! Maybe, just in case, ask for a straw and no ice, or lemon, next time. Better safe than sorry!

Be Careful Of Slipping Into A Sugar Coma

It’s warm outside and you want something cold and sweet. Ah, an iced caramel frappuccino sounds perfect. Well…keep in mind just how much sugar you are sipping through your straw. Perhaps 1 pump of a sugary flavored add-on instead of 6 or 7 next time? Again, moderation, people! These sugary drinks can contain more sugar than most sodas.

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Kids aren’t the only ones who need a special sugar kick from time to time. Adults need it especially if they are struggling to get through the afternoon workday. If you decide to go this route, just remember that a sugar coma and a major energy crash are waiting for you in your immediate future. That’s something you don’t need a psychic for…

A Deal’s A Deal

Deals, deals, deals. We love a good deal. We also love coupons. They’re pretty much the same thing. “Couponing” is so popular that there’s even a show called Extreme Couponing where passionate people obsessively dedicate their lives to coupon-saving and money-saving. Often, it’s easy to forget that most places do offer both, so it doesn’t hurt to simply ask the business about them. 

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In this unstable economy where things can change on a dime, trying to get the best deal that you can is worth it in the end. Hey, you may even get a guest role on Extreme Couponing!

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So, Decaf Is Basically Watered-Down Coffee?

Caffeine is a highly addictive drug, and a lot of people, just can’t handle it. That’s where decaf comes in. Decaffeinated “decaf” coffee beans have at least 97% caffeine extracted from them, and, for people who are highly caffeine sensitive, decaf is a fairly good option. But, in certain fast food restaurants, decaf isn’t really what it should be.

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If you go to Burger King, do not order a decaf coffee because it’s just regular coffee with water added to it. Yuck…luckily, we warned you now.

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Breakfast Should Be All Day

It should be considered a crime against humanity that some fast food chains stop serving breakfast after the morning. Breakfast is good at any time of the day and should be available and fresh for consumption even late at night. 

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Unfortunately, life isn’t like that, and not everybody prefers breakfast when it’s not bright and early in the morning.

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Keep Calm And Eat French Fries

A dilemma for most customers is whether to buy a small fry, regular fry, or large fry. A large french fry is way better, but it’s also a little bit more expensive. In reality, a burger is always better with a side of french fries. That’s just a fact. We have a special tip that will give you extra bang for your buck, and a way to eat more yummy fries without the financial worry. 

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At most chains, the difference between a regular and large fry isn’t too drastic, although we usually always crave the bigger size. This little-known secret will make your wallet and stomach happier.   

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Don’t Always Believe What You See On Instagram

These days, most drinks can be customizable and you can get that delicious beverage you’ve always dreamed about. Most of us get jealous when seeing our favorite influencer drinking something that looks like something straight out of the children’s board game, Candyland.

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This whole secret menu trend is not entirely accurate, either. Influencers want to seem they’re in the know about a delectable and “secret” beverage that will make you stare at your phone screen, desperately craving it. The disappointing reality is that these drinks are not on some secret menu, but they’re most likely just custom orders. Bummer!

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Employees Must Wash Hands…Obviously!

Fast food restaurants are required to put up a sign that says “employees must wash their hands.” Although we hope that employees would be doing that anyway, it’s not a direct order and can’t technically be enforced…even if it should be. Considering the timely nature of the fast food industry, sometimes washing hands can be neglected, especially if it’s at night and the employees are exhausted.

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Note to self – always bring hand sanitizer with you! You never know what someone’s done before they touch your food.

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Winner, Winner Chicken…Not For Dinner

We apologize in advance for what you’re about to read. But, don’t blame us… It’s always a gamble at fast food chains since you never know what kind of situation you’ll encounter with your food. Convincing yourself that something is still good despite some odd crunches or chewing sensations, may not be the greatest idea. Here’s why.

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This famous fast food chain serves BBQ chicken sandwiches that are not fresh, and they can’t even be given to the homeless in shelters because the chicken is so old. Don’t be afraid to ask when the chicken was last cooked, since if it’s not fresh then what’s the point? And maybe try something else on their menu next time.

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Her Name’s Rita

It’s the weekend – time to unwind from all the stress of the past few days. You are ready for some R&R and margaritas. A margarita is a drink that only requires five simple ingredients and it’s a definite crowd-pleaser, even when having too many can drain your bank account.

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Hallelujah! It’s a miracle that when you want a marg and don’t want to pay a lot for one, there are some places that use real ingredients to make it. There’s a chance they also might be a bit stronger, too! Look no further.

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Small Serving Size Express

At any restaurant you are eating – specifically, Asian-themed fast food joints  –  you want to make sure you’re getting the right sized portions based on what you are paying. If you find that you are being overcharged, then something most likely isn’t adding up. If you walk in and are craving shrimp, well…you’ll need to order more than you normally would.

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Because the serving size for shrimp dishes at this particular business is small, consider ordering double of it. Just to be on the safe side and to ensure that you are getting what your money’s worth!

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Wait…That Cost How Much?

It’s a well known fact that restaurants buy items and ingredients for cheap, and put them on their menus for way more. That’s called a mark-up, which businesses have to use in order to produce profit. Just how the cookie crumbles.

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Any fast food chains could make millions of dollars with just thisone dish because of how much customers are being charging for it. This method of pricing is insane considering how much one single onion actually costs! That’s kind of a rip-off, right? Dang, they sure are good, though – you see our dilemma.

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An Ex-Employee’s Experience

Health inspectors are crucial components of keeping a fast food restaurant in check, while making sure everything is clean and up to safety and health standards. However, what a health inspector doesn’t know about is what happens after they leave.

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This person shared their unpleasant experience working at Taco Bell. The story goes that he was caught serving beef that was 2 degrees above the temperature requirement. So, his manager forced him to throw it in the trash, but, after the inspection was over, they were forced to dig the undesirable meat out of the garbage and serve it. Disgusting and unsanitary!

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High Times

It’s not uncommon for teenagers to work at fast food restaurants to make some extra money over the summer. Sometimes their youthful, free-spirited attitudes can cause questionable decisions in the workplace. We have one word for that: YOLO…although we are not condoning that behavior whatsoever, of course.

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Even though marijuana is legal in many states, it’s not far from the truth that some teens sneak it into their cigarettes. If this person’s claims are accurate, then we wonder if Papa John’s is a less than desirable place to spend your days, but at least you are getting a paycheck.

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Non-Meat Eaters Be Warned

Going vegetarian or vegan has become very popular these days, whether it’s for health reasons, ethical reasons, religious, or all of the above. People are wanting to become healthier, fitter, and feel more confident about themselves, while also saving the planet in the process. That being said, those looking for veggie options at fast food restaurants, it’s best to stray away from them depending on how strict your beliefs are.

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Cross-contamination can be a concern for some non-meat eaters who care deeply about this issue. If you are one that absolutely detests your food touching meat or even being handled by utensils that have come in contact with it, this is a warning to probably just get a veggie burger from a strictly plant-based only restaurant, or buy them from the store and cook at home.

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Microwaved Pastries Are Just Too Expensive

C’est la vie! Having a fresh croissant with your coffee in the morning is the definition of true happiness. No matter how much of an important daily ritual this is for you, it does come at a cost. While businesses such as Starbucks are the most convenient for your croissant fix, you’re probably better off just getting a box of croissants or another sweet breakfast pastry from a bakery or grocery store.

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Although the cravings for a $5 pastry are hard to combat, you could be saving a few bucks by just going somewhere else. After all, Starbucks can afford to lose a couple dollars!

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This Fast Food Hack Isn’t Actually A “Hack”

Fast food workers work hard enough that they don’t need any extra nonsense in their day. Customers aren’t always easy to deal with, and most of the time they just make the workers’ job more complicated. This “hack” is pointless and we don’t understand why anybody would do this.

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Fries already come salted, so why go through the trouble of asking for fries without salt, only to ask for a salt packet? That is illogical and unnecessary. Most of all, it’s just rude to make a fast food worker do an extra thing when all you need to do is ask for fresh fries. Problem solved! Actually, there was no problem to even begin with…

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Butter Beware

Fast food tastes so yummy because it’s most likely fried, buttered, and oiled up immensely. From saturated fats to just plain unhealthy, unnatural ingredients, we urge you to never go to this particular fast food restaurant.

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No matter how much you love butter, too much of it is really gross and not good for you. Butter does add flavor to food that is bland, but use it with caution.

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Not As Advertised

You’re really hungry and don’t want to indulge in your average fast food fare. Why not try Outback Steakhouse to spice things up? Well, that’s nice and all, but we advise you to try and avoid their meat if you want a very well-done steak or something of that variety. Listen up – we’re about to share a secret with you.

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Even though it depends on what Outback location you are eating at, just be forewarned that the fresh, juicy steak you drove miles and miles to enjoy, may just be the tragic result of being a frozen item put into a microwave and slapped onto your plate. That doesn’t sound appetizing. Not one bit.

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Follow Your Gut…Literally

When you’re at a restaurant and the cashier recommends something to you, you may want to think twice before you end up shelling out for that item. The reason they will suggest a certain menu item is because it’s about to expire or has just expired. If you’re unsure about going with their suggestion, maybe just trust your gut and buy something else.

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You may be feeling cheated right now, but it’s the truth. Managers tell cashiers to upsell and promote items that are about to go bad, and they may also want to promote a more expensive meal. Talk about ulterior motives!

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The Roast Beef Isn’t Really Roasted (Or Beef)

Advertising companies make food look mouthwateringly appealing on television, but that’s rarely, if ever, what you get in real life. Being tempted by the fresh roast beef sandwich you just saw advertised means you’re seriously getting your hopes up.

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In fact, using the term “roast beef” to advertise a roast beef sandwich is pretty much false. What you end up getting is a microwaved, not roasted, and not fresh lump of a sandwich.Iif you’re hungry then it doesn’t really matter, we’re just presenting you with some food for thought. See what we did there?!

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Authentic Is A Scam

It’s likely that most fast food that is advertised as authentic is really not! Obviously, the menu won’t be full of classic recipes passed down from generation to generation, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.

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The term “fast food” means that the food is made fast and served fast. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to wait for long to eat it. Quantity and a lower price over quality and a higher price is the primary aim that fast food chains have, and to make as much money as possible. You’ll have better luck going to a traditional Chinese restaurant if you want a true and authentic meal, not Panda Express.

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Slimy Corn

Corn has remained a main source of sustenance for humans all the way back to the discovery of the New World. From popcorn to corn on the cob, corn is a versatile vegetable, but it isn’t always a pleasant thing to eat, especially if there’s something wrong about its appearance.

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Slime shouldn’t be the coating of corn at all, and if your manager tells you to wash the slime off and still serve it, we think you should reconsider your place of work. Furthermore, leftovers shouldn’t even be served in the first place.

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Meat That’s “Suitable For Human Consumption”

This particular descriptor for food would make us never want to eat at that particular establishment ever again. So, the fact that Taco Bell uses their plastic-bagged meat that’s labeled as “suitable for human consumption” makes us wonder why anybody would be okay with using it? Guess that’s just the good ol’ fast food industry for ya.

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Now that we’ve spilled the beans, maybe you will rethink the next time you go to Taco Bell and order anything with meat in it.

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An Ice Machine Horror Story

The ice machines at fast food chains can be a pain to maintain and clean. It’s understandable that their maintenance often slips through the cracks, but that doesn’t mean their sanitization isn’t as important as other machines.

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It’s safe to say that there shouldn’t be any kind of living creature anywhere near an ice machine, or anywhere in a fast food established for that matter! Even though it’s challenging and time consuming to get in all the nooks and crannies of an ice machine, nobody wants worm-infested ice in their drinks.

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Multi-Use Burgers

Recycling and reusing things is one essential way to protect our planet. Doing that with food may seem gross, but it is more cost-effective for the fast food restaurants and good for the environment.

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We’re not saying that we’d eat Wendy’s chili now that we know this secret, although this can almost be compared to taking leftovers from the previous evening and mixing it into your dinner for that night. Tomato, tomato, right?

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Artificial And Full Of Preservatives

Fast food additives are what make fast food so dang good. There’s also tons of science behind it, too. We recommend to bypass asking for an ingredient list though because you will regret it! If you’ve never heard of some of the ingredients in a meal, there’s probably a good reason…but probably not.

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Nobody wants any food that smells like feet. Although, you may feel differently if  it’s 1 am and you haven’t had anything to eat all day. That’s a sacrifice you may be willing to make. Plus, it’s convenient and that’s where they get you.

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For The Love Of Saving Bread (And Money)

Bread twists are out. Parmesan bread bites are in. Heck, both sound delicious, but one of these is not like the other. Yes, one is three dollars cheaper. While you wanted to eat out and not have to cook again for the fifth time in a row, here’s a special secret.

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When you’re at Domino’s, the bread twists are calling your name, but the parmesan bread bites are literally the same amount of dough for less, and are also probably as delicious. You make the call. 

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