When you merge overworking and understaffing, there is a high possibility for some kind of disgust. And this is common in the fast food industry.
In the nutritional sense, most fast food is disgusting anyway, but folks still line up at Wendy’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s to enjoy a deep-fried chicken snack or a giant burger. It is highly likely that you have a favorite fast food chain because they have a tasty option or because they used their savvy marketing and enslaved you with their delicacies.
But fast food chains have been facing continuous criticism from how they prepare their foods to how they treat their employees. Fast foods are also linked to various health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Sadly, these food chains continue to grow at an alarming rate because people love easy foods. In fact, by 2012, there were some 263,944 fast food joints in the U.S.A alone.
The problem is that most fast food consumers do not understand what happens behind the scenes. This prompted former fast food employees and food industry insiders to make shocking revelations about these food outlets. Unfortunately, people still walk into these eateries because fast food is irresistible.
Their products are not fresh as they claim; their employees do not wash their hands well; and, sometimes, they pick up food that has fallen on the floor. These unsavory confessions will make you think twice about your greasiest habits. These nasty secrets have been kept from you for a long time:
20. WHEN PROVOKED, EMPLOYEES MAY SPIT ON YOUR FOOD
Some customers never learn the importance of being kind to people, especially to those who serve you food. Such customers will get rowdy when their order is delayed and may cause havoc and bring business to a standstill.
But the cooks have a way of dealing with this kind of menace. They have a solution that makes them feel better when they have been provoked: that is spitting on the customer’s food.
Strangely, you will never miss that one crazy staff member who is always ready to spit on meals when irritated.
19. SOMETIMES, THE KITCHEN IS INFESTED WITH COCKROACHES AND RATS
It is not unusual to see cockroaches loitering in the kitchen trying to ‘sample’ different foods. These pests can sometimes become unmanageable and may occupy every corner in the kitchen, from the storage rooms to inside the espresso machines, in the pastry case, and around dry powders.
But cooking never stops because ‘aliens’ are in the kitchen; it goes on as usual. However, if any information leaks about such an infestation, the manager will gladly come out to defend the branch. This type of information can lead to loss of customers, and a visit by local health officials. It can also result in unpaid meals or even a lawsuit.
18. CASHIERS WILL SUBTLY “PROMOTE” CERTAIN FOODS BECAUSE THE INGREDIENTS JUST EXPIRED OR ARE ABOUT TO EXPIRE
Whenever fast food restaurants have ingredients that just expired or are about to expire, they will inform their cashiers to “promote” those foods to customers who are not sure about what they want to have. These are the clients who scratch their heads at the counter and ask the cashier to make suggestions for them.
It is wrong to sell food that has expired or is about to expire. The obvious guess is that these fast food chains put their own interests first at the expense of the customer’s health. They do it so cleverly that customers think they are caring, but in reality, they are just selfish organizations.
17. THEY WILL SELL FOOD THAT SHOULD GO INTO THE TRASH BECAUSE THE MANAGEMENT IS STINGY
These eateries have stingy managers who are always looking for ways to recycle. The employees will be instructed to keep leftover eggs so they can be used the next day.
The managers will add water to food that is starting to look dry to keep it ‘fresh’ for the clients. They will also take in all the veggies and tomatoes that have been squashed in the truck because they are stingy.
In other instances, staff members are made to rub off the expiry date of certain ingredients, like sauce, because management does not want to spend more money. So, instead of throwing away the box of peri peri sauce packets, employees will rub off the date so the customers will not notice.
16. DRUG DEALING
Most people may not be aware, but fast food restaurants are a hotbed for crime, especially drug dealing. This is largely because of the constant traffic and the fast paced environment that make it easier to conceal any illegal activities.
These activities are mostly carried out by staff or acquaintances who pose as clients. This is evidenced by the number of arrests that take place in these restaurants, especially in America.
You will find employees busy selling drugs in the parking lot, bathroom, or the back of the kitchen. And if they are not selling drugs, there will always be a transaction of some sort that is highly illegal. The parking lots are especially appealing to drug dealers. Sometimes, these operations go horribly wrong and people get hurt.
15. ICE MACHINES AND SODA FOUNTAINS ARE GROSS
These machines are difficult to clean. So, food particles, bugs, dirt, mold and many types of bacteria find them a convenient dwelling place.
At the end of the day, customers end up getting ‘contaminated’ ice because of all the dirt around the nozzle. The ice machine, for example, emits large chunks of mold since it is only cleaned once in a while.
If you want to confirm the cleanliness of an ice machine, take a napkin and wipe it on the nozzle. Enjoy the black gunk!
Same goes for soda fountains. They also undergo less cleaning and host a plethora of germs. In fact, in 2010, almost half of soda fountains around fast food chains were found to have bacteria that grows in feces.
14. OIL IS REUSED TO DANGEROUS LEVELS
While it is okay to reuse oil, fast food chains reuse oil to dangerous levels.
These establishments will use the grease in their fryers until it turns black as coffee. What they normally do is filter it once in a while then continue to use it until it is no longer reusable. These eateries will then cleverly claim that they change their fryer oil regularly. In reality, their penny-pinching managers will only allow the oil to be changed after a few weeks.
And you can easily tell that the oil is old from awful taste of their fries. The fries would be reeking of the old oil flavor.
13. OVERWORKING AND UNDERSTAFFING IS THE NORM, BUT WORKERS ARE REQUIRED TO PUT ON A SMILE
What most employers fail to realize is that when under pressure, an employee will cut corners and that could mean anything.
While most fast food workers appear to be happy, they are treated like crap and are mostly overworked. A good number of chains are known to have hipster “vibes” that deceive the public and make everyone think everything is rosy, but most fast food employers suffer in the hands of their employers.
Workers have to regularly put up with pushy managers who want them to work like robots. Sadly, these managers call the shots and are pros in making everyone feel miserable.
These food outlets are understaffed to the extent where it is impossible to ask for an off-day when one is feeling unwell. These are the reasons these workers are mostly alcoholics and crumble under pressure.
12. FRESH, HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS ARE MOSTLY FROZEN AND MICROWAVED
Customers are not aware, but most salads are made several days in advance and refrigerated until someone orders.
In fact, most of the foods that are advertised as fresh are actually frozen or microwaved. For example, a customer who orders steak or grilled bacon may think that the meat has been deep fried a short while ago. In reality, the food joint will simply microwave pre-cooked meat and serve it hot.
Most of the chicken is frozen but touted as being fresh. Sometimes, fast foods receive foodstuffs that have been frozen for months and need to be thawed in hot water.
11. FOOD DROPS ON THE FLOOR REGULARLY
Occasionally, buns will fall off the table and will be picked up like nothing happened.
Managers have a policy called the 5-second rule where employees are encouraged to pick up food within a span of five seconds. Apparently, the time is too short for any contamination or germs. Clearly, this rule ignores the fact that the floors of fast foods suffer accordingly from the rigors of heavy foot traffic and are known breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.
There have also been reports that sometimes workers drop pizza before putting it in the oven, but they are forced to pick it up to avoid waste.
10. THERE IS LIFE-THREATENING FILTH IN AND AROUND THE RESTAURANTS
First, the floors can get really messy from foot traffic, especially because there is always someone trying to sweep and mop. The same floors are filled with grease and occasionally rude employees spit on them when they are agitated. The mops that are used are always contaminated since most cleaners do not see the need to sanitize their hands.
When you visit the washrooms, it’s a whole different story as they are always in a mess. This is regardless of the fact that there is always a team taking shifts to ensure the rooms remain usable. Staff members visit these rooms on a regular basis during their shift. Sometimes, these workers fail to wash their hands and transfer germs to the food.
9. EMPLOYEES DO NOT WASH THEIR HANDS NEATLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE TIME OR THEY CANNOT PUT THE EFFORT
The public is made to believe that kitchen workers wear gloves when handling food. Unfortunately, things can get too chaotic to find time for gloves. You will mostly see kitchen workers handling food before washing their hands after smoking, visiting the bathroom, or handling raw meat. In fact, a past study claims that half of the workers in fast food industries do not wash their hands properly when working.
Even a small piece of fecal matter on a cook’s hands can transmit germs to uncooked food, ice, or in salads.
8. CRAZY THINGS HAPPEN BEHIND THE COUNTER
You can never really tell what is going on behind the counter, but there is sufficient evidence that crazy things go down.
It may be hard to believe, but sex has happened right where your food is prepared. There are always incidents of employees getting too intimate and making love on the kitchen counters or on the storage rooms.
Other employees use hard drugs like meth while making food. It is just horrifying to think that such people have been entrusted to prepare food that is served to hundreds. Cheeky employees throw odious things into the deep fryer because they are crazy. These are the same employees who will handle food even though they have a bleeding wound.
7. OLD FOOD CAN ALSO BE SOLD
These outlets sometimes sell food that should be tossed in the bin. For example, they will proceed and sell you chicken that was cooked more than six hours ago because they have used water to prevent it from drying out quickly.
They never throw out old food since they have improvised better ways of ‘disposing’ these foods without raising eyebrows. Drive throughs are notorious for resetting their timers just so they can sell food that has stayed for too long.
At McDonald’s, for example, Mc Nuggets will spend the entire day in a warming tray waiting for a customer’s order. They are supposed to be thrown after a given time, but usually, employees just reset the timer and sell them.
6. CHILI MEAT IS REPURPOSED BURGER
These fast foods know that it is a waste to throw away burgers that have spent a long time on the grill. Therefore, they place them inside the refrigerator before boiling them in a pan. They will then be cut the burgers into small pieces and put in the chili. Wendy’s is notorious for this habit.
It is disgusting to learn that the chili is actually made from burnt burgers that were not sold quickly enough. Wendy’s is commonly known for making burgers ahead of time. So, their burgers just sit there and wait for the customer. When they sit for long, they eventually become black and crusty and should not be sold anymore.
Once they discover the burgers cannot be sold, they will stuff the patties inside the heated metal drawers. That is why the drawers produce an incredibly awful smell. After sometime, maybe 24 hours, they are cut to make chili.
5. LEMONS AND LIMES ARE THE MOST UNSANITARY
Some of the most unsanitary food items in fast foods are the lemons and limes that customers use in their drinks.
First, they are never washed and are mostly handled by tons of people who rarely wash their hands. They also spend so much time sitting in the open and are vulnerable to germs and bacteria.
Think about rogue fecal bacteria coating your lemon wedge. It is disgusting and unhygienic. In fact, they are the main culprits for food poisoning.
While a slice of lemon can transform your plain water, you may be consuming more than you asked for. So, beware!
A past study, by Philip Tierno, a clinical professor, found out that half of lemon wedges collected from a number of restaurants tested positive for human fecal matter. This was greatly attributed to the fact that workers grabbed lemons with their bare hands.
4. GRAVY IS MADE FROM DEEP FRYER SCRAPPING
KFC drizzles gravy on its mashed potato and crowds love it, but most consumers are unaware of where the gravy comes from.
Former fast food workers have admitted that it is made from deep fryer scrapping.
It is made with the dregs found at the bottom of the fryer yet consumers are never told about this. To break it down, it is actually made of the filthy oil that usually accumulates at the bottom of the cookers after a long cooking period. The worst thing is that these cookers are hardly ever cleaned and the drippings can be as old as one month.
So, at the end, you will have pieces of chicken in an oily mixture. It is just gross.
3. SOMETIMES, EMPLOYEES STEAL YOUR FOOD
Some former employees have admitted that on very busy days, it would be impossible to go for lunch breaks because everyone was too busy. Imagine working for 8 hours without lunch. The best guess is that you are going to steal food from plates.
While it is not right to steal, it is rather difficult to uphold any morals when one is starving. A worker who is genuinely starving may resort to stealing as it is the only thing that makes sense at that time.
2. WHEN THE DISHWASHER MALFUNCTIONS IT IS REPLACED BY AN OVERUSED TOWEL
Former fast food employees have confessed that the dishwasher only works 1/3 of the time, meaning that the dishes are sometimes wiped using the same towel that is used to dry hands.
The towel is always damp with spilled milk, juice, water, and cleaning products. Worse, there isn’t much time to wash it and wait for it to dry. But it is usually the immediate solution after the dishwasher has malfunctioned since the kitchen is usually in a mess. This is a definite way to spread bacteria since most of the germs found in the kitchen is brought by hands.
In most cases, you will be surprised that the same towel is also used to clean the sink and to wipe other places around the kitchen. This creates a serious cross-contamination issue and exposes clients to various germs.
1. THE GRILL MARKS ON YOUR MEAT IS FAKE
Most people like those signature grill marks on grilled chicken and patties. Unfortunately, most fast foods do not have grills with open flames and are unable to meet this ‘demand.’
Therefore, they have resorted to using other methods to get those marks: they have opted for artificial coloring, which simply means the food comes with the markings. In other words, they use fake grill marks to impress customers. Most of these foods – with fake grill marks – are flavorless and the char flakes off.
In fact, foods that have these fake marks are mass-produced in factories that probably have no clue about grilling. Fast food restaurants receive these “grilled” foodstuffs pre-cooked with the dark stripes.
The procedures for preparing the meat is even more disgusting because it involves injecting it with chemicals and animal fat. The meat is prepared using hot air; not pans or grills. Disgusting!
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