How To Tell When You’re In A Bad Fast Food Joint

How To Tell When You’re In A Bad Fast Food Joint


To help you navigate that vague sense of dread
you may be feeling while you wait for your order number to be called, we’ve prepared
a list of ways to help you identify the terrible truth you are facing: You may just be sitting
in a bad fast food restaurant. Here’s how you can tell. To start with, look at the menu. Do all the pictures look like they were taken
with a phone? We’re talking grainy, blurry flip-phone photos
— those grainy, pixelated snaps that haven’t been updated since 2006. Even when the technical photo quality is okay,
there may be other issues, thanks to some owner or manager deciding they were going
to save a few bucks by shooting their food photos themselves. Harsh shadows. Weird yellow or blue light. Unappealing close-ups that magnify the least
appetizing quality of the dish, such as the way all the grease pools around the base of
a sloppy burger, or the uncooked jarred chopped garlic you’ve unceremoniously scooped onto
a dish of wet, pasty-looking fish. Or worse, photos with no proper lighting at
all, as though the meal was served to a small child trapped at the bottom of a well. At sunset. In December. Look, there are plenty of ways to cut corners
and save a few dollars when you’re figuring out how to market your business. But the first impression that customers have
of your food when they’re looking at your menu isn’t one of them. A fast food place that has such misplaced
priorities probably isn’t the place to trust with your dining dollars Sometimes, the trouble with the photos on
the menu isn’t that they’re bad… it’s that they’re good. As in, too good. White backgrounds, studio lighting, and artfully
arranged garnishes at the local hole-in-the-wall burger joint? Mysterious extra ingredients in that stir
fry photo that don’t seem to be listed on the menu’s description of the dish? Chances are, you’re looking at stock photography
that may have little or nothing to do with the food you’ll actually be served. “See what I mean? It’s plump, it’s juicy, it’s three inches
thick.” You’ll see this fairly often at mall food
courts, although that’s certainly not the only place it happens. The takeaway? If a fast food place isn’t showing you photos
of what you’re actually going to be served, turn and run the other way. Soda-spattered, crumb-covered tables are certainly
enough to give you the heebie-jeebies, and a messy or dirty bathroom is gross on a whole
lot of levels, but it’s not the practical parts of these symptoms of a bad fast food
restaurant that should bother you. As much as that layer of someone else’s toilet
paper lining the seat in the stall may be off-putting, it’s symptomatic of a much bigger
problem: An inattention to detail and a lack of basic upkeep, which could open the door
to anything from poor sanitation to full-blown pest infestations. “Was that a bat?” See, a sticky table may be icky, but it’s
also super obvious. And if the staff at the restaurant isn’t paying
attention to those obvious issues and taking time to address them, think about how many
other, more subtle parts of commercial restaurant work they are probably missing. If they can’t be bothered to peel the gum
off the sink in the bathroom, do you really think someone is on top of changing the fryer
oil regularly? Sanitizing work surfaces properly? Clearing all those moldy and mislabeled sauce
remains out of the walk-in? These are the tasks that the general public
doesn’t see, and if the staff isn’t taking care of the public-facing issues, you can
bet they’re not paying much attention to the hundreds of small tasks that take place behind
the scenes to ensure your food is safe and hygienic. Ever notice how some fast food or quick-service
restaurants have those plastic laminated placemats, sometimes decorated with an array of local
business advertisements offering everything from car detailing to discounted Zumba classes? They’re there to convince you that your eating
surface is more hygienic and safer, since the placemats are presumably replaced after
each table turns. But look a little more closely and peel up
the corner of one of those placemats, if you dare. You may find a forest of black mildew. It’s easy to understand why this happens. If you’re a freshly-paroled busboy earning
minimum wage in a restaurant with limited or no waitstaff, and your only job is to clear
and wipe down tables, are you really going to clear the placemats each time? Likelier, you’ll get a little lazy once in
a while, hit the whole table with a few spritzes of diluted cleaning solution, and wipe the
whole thing down in one go. Over time, trace amounts of moisture will
seep under the mat and allow mold and mildew to flourish. “See, this is the kind of stuff I need to
learn. Plastic menus seem like a great idea to me. When you spill something on them and then
your mom says ‘Hey, Troy, you’re ruining Fuddruckers for everyone.” It’s an unappealing visual, though it’s probably
not going to hurt you, unless you flip the placemat over and eat directly off of it. But it speaks to the same overall lack of
attention to detail that may be an indicator of larger problems lurking elsewhere. Nobody likes frozen hamburger patties, and
cheap fast food places use these mass-produced beef pellets for several reasons: They’re
cheap, and they’re easy to work with. Not only does substandard beef cost a few
dollars less per pound than the good stuff, but frozen burgers arrive ready for service,
pre-shaped and with a slip of waxed paper separating each one so they can be pried apart
and slapped on the grill with no extra effort required from the cook. “So there’s your burgers … Frozen … Thank
you.” The problem here is one of attitude and approach. If you’re running a fast food place, you need
your star player to be made with the best possible ingredients. One of the things that can make crummy fast
food places feel a little off is when they start using generic condiment brands. Even when it’s applied in a tiny little squirt
to a cheeseburger or a hot dog, we’re so accustomed to the way things like ketchup and mustard
taste, that when there’s a tiny change, our brains register the difference. For a fast food restaurant that’s down on
its luck and trying to pinch pennies anywhere they can, it must be tempting to switch to
no-name brand condiments, but the difference in overall food quality can be so drastic,
that it’s a sure sign a company is circling the drain financially. While paying half as much money for ketchup
might seem to make sense, it has the side effect of making food taste weird. An owner or chef who takes his/her food seriously
would be reluctant to cut corners in this area. One of the reasons we eat fast food at all
is that we sometimes don’t have time to wait around in a long line of impatient customers. Say what you will about fast food, but one
of the biggest things it has going for it is that it’s basically ready at practically
the same time it’s occurred to you to eat in the first place. Sometimes, however, food that’s ready instantly
may be an indicator of problems. If the guy behind the counter is plunking
your burger order onto a plastic tray before you even finish ordering, it’s a good sign
that food is being prepared well in advance. If a fast food place is busy, that’s not too
big a deal; after all, the difference between a McDouble made 30 seconds ago versus one
made 90 seconds ago is minimal. As the lines thin, though, it’s likely those
burgers and fries have sat around for more than a few minutes, drastically reducing their
deliciousness. Y’know how there’s that one fast food place
in town where it’s consistently impossible to get a milkshake, because no matter what
time of day or week you go, the machine is “broken?” “Oh boy…” According to Business Insider, this could
be because the shake machine isn’t broken, but is instead going through its nightly four-hour
“cleaning” cycle, which is supposed to take place after-hours. Get a closing crew on duty that’s anxious
to get the doors closed and the blinds drawn, however, and they may start cleaning the machine
early, leaving you McFlurryless for the foreseeable future. Worse? Sometimes, the machine is being “cleaned”
midday because some lazy soul didn’t bother to do it the night before, and the gummed-up
remains of thawed cellulose gum and carrageenan have ruined it for everybody. Whether it’s because the machine is being
cleaned either too early or too late, both indicate a staff that’s trying to cut corners,
and who probably aren’t too preoccupied with delivering you a satisfying fast food experience. You’ve probably heard the disclaimer at the
end of some fast food commercials: “Price and participation may vary.” Or maybe you’ve seen the text at the bottom
of the screen saying “Only at participating restaurants.” But have you ever wondered what that was all
about? Franchise agreements can vary from brand to
brand, but many franchisees operate not as employees of the parent company, but as a
sort of affiliate or partner. This means that while Burger King may strongly
suggest that franchisees start stacking BBQ sauce and onion rings onto their Whoppers,
the franchise owner doesn’t necessarily have to. Here’s the problem: The whole reason people
buy into established franchises in the first place is to align their skills with a well-known
national brand. Instead of creating and marketing a burger
for themselves, franchisees are choosing to instead make someone else’s, saving them a
fortune in promotional expenses, training, and time in the test kitchen. So what if a business owner has bought into
a franchise, and then stops doing the bidding of the franchise owner? There’s probably a reason, and none of the
possibilities are encouraging. “Your tone is quasi-facetious, but you do
not realize that Taco Bell is the only restaurant to survive the franchise wars.” Sometimes, a line of traffic that wraps from
the drive-thru speaker all the way around the block is a sign that a place is doing
something right; peak ordering hours and a popular fast food place can be a recipe for
an extended wait. But if it’s, say, 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, and
there’s a line wrapped around the same decrepit KFC that’s been there for 20 years, there’s
probably something else going on. Fast food restaurants are notorious for their
rapid turnover in staff; employing an army of disposable teenagers is part of what some
fast food places build their entire business plans around. In fast food, mistakes tend to snowball, and
with no experienced, well-trained staff on hand to help course correct, a mistake on
the grill line cascades to the front-of-house cashiers, and eventually to the drive-thru,
grinding service to a near standstill. You’re all pumped up to get your kids the
new Batman/Lego/Hello Kitty promotional tie-in that’s been splashed all over Happy Meal marketing
for a week, but what’s this? My Little Pony? AGAIN? Usually, fast food places will lob any old
leftover toy they have left laying around into your kid’s meal, regardless of what the
current promotional posters may say, because giving away a few extra Pinky Pies is easier
than sending them back to corporate. This can sometimes be an indicator of lower-than-expected
product turnover, which may in turn point to less-than-fresh ingredients elsewhere in
the restaurant. Most chefs have a trick that they don’t talk
about very often: When they can’t get something to taste better, either due to budget limitations
or lack of ingredients, they know they can turn it into a winning dish by packing as
much fat, salt, sugar, and calories into it as humanly possible. “Yeah, can I get the love handles, the double
chin, and some blubber.” We all know that fast food isn’t the healthiest
option, but some chains are punishing us with more fat, salt, and sugar than others. When comparing fast food nutritional panels,
if one chain seems to have artificially high numbers, when compared to a similar item elsewhere,
it may be because they’re trying to disguise cheap ingredients or lower-quality items with
an assault of fat and calories. “Skip past the less invasive procedures
and move right to a quadruple bypass burger.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
food are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

100 thoughts on “How To Tell When You’re In A Bad Fast Food Joint

  1. Why the busboy gotta be freshly off parole? Makes it seem like service jobs are a last resort for legal employment.

  2. I have a better idea, do as I do, don't ever eat fast food,,, I really enjoy this informative channel, …. pointing out the obvious though is a reminder why I never roll the dice and eat the shit!😃

  3. Is this for real?!?

    Somebody gonna do a full on inspection before taking a chance at some food joint. 11:02 of my life I’ll nerver get back.

    Number one indicator of joints to avoid. The initial smell when you walk in. Reaching for content I C.

  4. 0:18 Bad photos? Really? That's not an indicator on quality. All that proves is that whoever took those photos is either can't afford a modern camera or behind the times. Don't judge a book by it's cover.
    5:09 Off brand condiments? What about homemade ketchup? Isn't that technically an off-brand condiment? Besides, I actually prefer the taste of Hous Recipe ketchup over Hienz any day.

  5. Mashed – "How To Tell When You're In A Bad Fast Food Joint"
    Pictures
    Bathrooms
    Blah Blah

    Me – "The food is bad."

  6. You ever been to a Spanish spot in the Bronx? They got graining pics and signs and there food is banging AF

  7. What? The first thing you mention is bad photos and then professional photos. I guess I’ve been judging restaurants all wrong. How foolish of me to judge by Food & Service Quality 🙄

  8. #9 The moment I see a bathroom/toilet in that filty condition, then I know it's time to go; and no food will be ordered there ‼️

  9. I work in fast food and if we closed the ice cream machine at close we would been there for at least 2 hours more. Ice cream in fast food is just labor intensive.

  10. EEEEEWWWW @6:54. People actually pour the ice cream mix into the bucket? No, leave that shit in the bag. Way easier, way cleaner than letting it sit in a bucket with no lid (sure, it's inside the cooler, but who knows what else is), and those plastic bins have plenty of little bubbles and pits in them that trap funk, they aren't just smooth.

  11. Fast food is so bad that McDonalds is changing their signs to say, "Billions and Billions of Bacteria".

  12. Why do you keep showing Freddy's? Freddy's is fucking awesome and makes everything fresh and I haven't had a bad meal there ever and I live in the city where Freddy's was founded.

  13. 30% of what this video says is BS. Just don't take this video as some type of Bible of the subject matter because there are legitimate exceptions to many of the things claimed here and thus the BS warning. Most of the information offered is based upon conjecture and common knowledge.

  14. People, don't forget your local independent burger joint, they are still "fast food". My local I walked in to about 9 years ago. The place had one of those signs with a heap of bulbs around the edge, of which about 6 worked. But I walked in and it was scrupulously clean, eat off the floor type clean. They're still open and I'm still going. For $1 less than a Quarter Pounder I get a burger with "the lot". In Australia this means: Beef patty, bacon, egg, lettuce, onion, cheese, tomato, beetroot and a pineapple slice. All cooked fresh while I wait.

    Support the local shops, you may not get a drive through, but you will often get better and cheaper food than you'd get at a chain store.

  15. I miss heat lamps. Nobody is expecting hand made gourmet artisan gluten free anti fascist food from a McDonald's on the highway. Back in the day they would have a few things ready in the heat lamp slider. Now, to try and seem healthy and fresh, it takes 20 mins to get burrito from Taco Bell. If I wanted to wait 20 mins, I would have sat down at e-xyz-o restaurant. I went to fast food and got cancer because I want it fast.

  16. – The cleaning cycle takes 4 hours…But the closing staff is only scheduled to be there 10 minutes after closing. When are you supposed to clean the machine? It's not bad staff, but bad management and the need to boost profits to satisfy share holders.

    – You might blame teenagers for mess ups and inexperience, but you make no mention of the grown adults who should no better, and who have the experience but still make huge mistakes but feel that since they're an adult or have been there for 5 plus years that they shouldn't have the change the way they do things.

    – Nice way to stereo type that bus persons are newly paroled criminals who don't care. I suppose it is more politically correct than saying illegal immigrants from Mexico who don't care though…So that makes it right?

    – Some items are regional or test items. It might have nothing to do with the Franchisee…Depending on the contract even they have to follow certain corporate rules such as new corporate rules or items. (think about the way Subway cuts their bread now vs how they did in the 90s)

  17. So basically Taco Bell, McDonald’s, jack in the box, Burger King, Wendy’s, and chick fil a are bad… I think not

  18. Who the hell has blurry food pics on a menu? That's literally never been an issue and seems made up to me.

  19. Ok why do you have to go to a fast food restaurant in the first place ?!
    I have been like 3 times at McDonald's and all i can say that everything is disgusting . I don't know how millions of people eat that shit every day .

  20. This is the most ill-advised video ever. It's like it was written by someone who has never worked in an actual fast food restaurant.
    Real fast food places don't have pictures, sometimes handwritten, doesn't mean they have crap food ie. Five guys.
    Ironically, if you're noticing these mistakes, you may be watching a YouTube channel willing to cut corners.

  21. Chick fil a I go to has some of the food ready as you order. Though when this happens it's because they have a line out the door lol.

  22. I think videos that make the comment about high school and turn over at fast food restaurant should actually get a job at a fast food restaurant.

  23. I always scope out the place before I place my order for food… I go into the bathroom and see how clean it is. I also observe the food prep area, and how clean the Cup / Napkin/Drink area is.. If it don't look right, I leave ……………..

  24. terrible video filled with ignorance. probably the product of a diversity hire with no work or education experiences outside of their "studies" major at a state school

  25. Seriously? There are people who need these idiots from "Mashed" to tell them they're in a bad restaurant? Maybe they need a video to tell them when they're watching an idiotic video.

  26. Isn't all fast food places are bad? They just advertise the food to look good but in reality they look like ass

  27. First the picture: it will be like this to show what is on it.

    Second: toilet could be clean, if people go to it like thei go at home. Only when the not have to clean it, costumers become animals

  28. This idiotic twat has absolutely NOTHING to prove her assertions. NO names equals NO PROOF. The fking cunt wouldn't have a fking thing to babble on about, IF she wasn't using stolen movie clips.

  29. ive had major food chain food and bar food and family owned hole in the wall joints no poisoning issues rule 1 allways dissenfect youre kitchen 2 allways use diferent woods for cutting meat fish chicken etc then wash right away 3 if you use the rest room wash youre hands i use germ killing soap if youre employes dont fire them 4 the product you sell to others has to be fresh allways 5 get a thermometer to cook youre food properly i hope this helps

  30. Really? Offbrand condiments? Every knows that those off brand things are made in the exact same factory as the name brand objects, suck it up and be happy you’re getting cheaper shit

  31. I WILL CALL THIS BULLSHIT! This is nothing more than an attempt to push you to buy from the oversized corporate CRAP food chains. Thanks but I will stick to the mom and pop stores!

  32. How do you know when you're at a bad fast food restaurant…when you walk into a fast food restaurant DUH!!!

  33. I worked at McDonald's for 10 years if I told you the real truth you would VOMIT just driving past that place AMEN

  34. In most cases you can challenge the food you received with the photo on the marquis and they will strive to make it for you to look like the photo. But for that you also might get added ingredients in your food that doesn't belong in food.

  35. I've been in restaurant where owner made food and then he took photos of ACTUAL FOOD he made. Others chains make those perfect looking pictures but in reality it looks so bad.

  36. While not a fast food restaurant, there’s this quaint little restaurant I’ve been wanting to try. The problem is, they never seem to have many customers ever. I suspect the food doesn’t turn over very fast, leading me to think it isn’t going to be fresh, or very good.

  37. This channel just straight-up sucks. Go check out Munchies instead. Unless of course, nonsense and fiction are your "bag", just stay here for more trash.

  38. II DDO NO NOT. GO TO FAST FOOD PLACES LIKE 40 YEARS BUT CHIC FI LAY , CAME ON THE scene but then maybe 2x/ year, cheers in NJ

  39. "Participating locations" also means airport franchises, amusement park outlets etc where they have such a captive audicence they don't see any need to accommodate fussy people or coupons or special pricing because you ain't going anywhere else if you have a flight to catch or you paid $27.50 to get into the park.

  40. i've been to countless chinese, thai, vietnamese, mexican, and bbq restaurants with bad pictures. and the food was delicious, dude. elitists.

  41. bathroom and lobby dirty? so is that kitchen. the staff uses THAT bathroom too. even IF they washed their hands..ew

  42. You perfectly told us why not to eat at McDonalds…
    frozen beef? Check
    Dirty tables? Check
    Broken mcflurry machine? Check

  43. i went to a quesadilla place in mexico, they had almost no signs indicating the food and you had to sit on a leather seats that had the stuffing showing, best quesadillas i've ever had.

  44. I'm not saying the name of the restaurant but I kept telling my manager friend that the ice machine needs cleaning and he finally gave in and let me clean it for cash under the table but I did a damn good job that Manitowoc ice making was so nasty but it's much better now and always help clean the soda fountain too I see how the customer wants things to be clean so I do it

  45. Lol. Sometimes, that ain't true. I've been to several and they have good tasting food. Compared to those with good looking photos.

  46. Every restaurant and their tv commercials show burgers about six inches high that would never fit in someone’s mouth. Then you get it and all you see is a grease soaked bun with little inside, about an inch thick.

  47. Don't forget about when the drive thru ask you to pull forward. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlqJVprHaBs&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1R7OkANK8YltkOXvlTyMRZ9brS-5VTVoLHtrWfuJRD7BztY4iGNAS7s2Y

  48. I am lazy to do most of the things but that doesn't mean the same goes with my food hygiene. Really bad comparison

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