9 Times Employees Exposed Restaurants’ Dirty Secrets

These stories may make you rethink dining out at many of your favourite fast-food restaurants.

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Concept of mock up burger and french fries on white background. Copy space for text and logo. Clipping Path included on white background.
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Food for thought

Each day we put our trust in dining establishments, regardless of whether they’re serving up fast food or finer fare, with the belief that the items we’re being served are handled safely, and are what they say they are. These restaurant employees blew the lid off of some of the habits and quirks of where they work—and the news went viral.

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panera bread
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Panera Bread

When a Panera Bread employee posted a video to social media app TikTok showing frozen packets of macaroni and cheese being heated at the location in which worked, the Internet exploded in anger. Some comments even called the restaurant’s version of the comforting dish “hospital food” because of the way it was prepared. The employee was fired (though reportedly for her long nails, which are considered a food safety hazard and not the video) and Panera released this statement to ABC4 News: “Mac and cheese is made off-site with our proprietary recipe…it is shipped frozen to our bakery-cafes. This allows us to avoid using certain preservatives that do not meet our clean standards.”

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People clamoring for one of Popeyes‘ coveted chicken sandwiches may change their minds after seeing a video of the unsanitary conditions of a Detroit location filmed by an employee. In 2018, former Popeyes employee Shakita Shemere shared a video that showed poor food storage (like raw chicken thrown in a freezer), filthy containers piled high with the intention of reuse, and garbage strewn across the floor. Shemere was fired after the video went viral.

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Here’s the thing about McDonald’s soft-serve and McFlurries—they’re delicious. Unfortunately, even the most die-hard ice cream fans might find their stomachs turning after seeing some gross-out photos posted by an employee on Twitter. The images showed the sludge that allegedly accumulates in the chain’s ice cream machines, and it’s pretty unappetizing. Although many were understandably disgusted, others came to McDonald’s defense saying this likely isn’t the case for every location.

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When you want to get more bang for your buck at Chipotle, the chain’s employees seem to agree that you should ditch that taco order from the restaurant. In a Reddit thread that was picked up by a number of media outlets like Mic, workers say you get far less food than you would if you ordered a Chipotle burrito. “I used to work at Chipotle, and never ever, ever order the tacos,” said one former employee. “You get less than half the regular portions.”

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We’re all for maintaining cleanliness at work, but one employee took things too far when a video went viral of him bathing in a Wendy’s kitchen sink. The 90-second clip shows other employees championing a young man to get in the sink for a quick dip. According to Newsweek, Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors paid a visit to this particular Wendy’s after the video made the news. Aside from the prank, the location passed its inspection.

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If you can handle the truth about your favourite eateries, there are tons of Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) threads on Reddit on which people question employees about what happens behind the scenes on the job. The U.K.’s Mirror reported on one such AMA where a Subway employee admitted their chicken teriyaki option is typically far from fresh. “Our CT had a five-day shelf and we were told that once it reaches the fifth day to just change the date,” said the Subway Sandwich Artist. “With all of the shift changes and varying factors, we never knew how long this chicken was out (between five to nine days). I quit after I got reprimanded for throwing out CT on the fifth day.”

Discover the polite habits fast-food employees hate.

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papa john's pizza
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Papa John’s

In another Reddit AMA, a Papa John’s employee called out the truth about one of the chain’s “specialty” pizzas—Spinach Alfredo Pizza. “Papa John’s has a spinach alfredo sauce that’s delicious, but only gets ordered maybe once a week, and it hits its sell-by date three days after you open the bag,” writes the employee. “But no one actually throws it out until it’s either gone or nasty looking.”

Dive into these hilarious examples of irony in real life.

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Taco Bell
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Taco Bell

Again, only approach a Reddit AMA if you’re willing to hear stories from the fast-food frontlines. According to HuffPost, a Taco Bell employee put the chain’s beans on blast for looking really unappealing out of the gate, not to mention the instructions on how to cook them. “The beans start out looking like cat food, and the directions are, ‘Add water and stir until you can’t see white anymore,'” writes the disgusted worker. Not exactly our idea of the company’s tagline “Live mas.”

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burger king
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Burger King

Listen up, breakfast lovers! A Burger King insider called out the company’s eggs as being a little disturbing, mainly because of the liquid egg mixture and the speed at which said mixture cooks up. “They have a piece of equipment that you spray non-stick onto and lay down the metal grid then fill it up evenly with this liquid egg mix,” he writes in, you guessed it, an AMA about BK. “In about a minute you have six eggs.” Still, those breakfast sandwiches are delicious.

Read on to find out the most outrageous news stories from around the world.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest