Employees reveal the 12 foods you should never order at your favorite restaurant chains

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  • A recent Reddit thread from current and former employees lists the worst foods to order at your favorite restaurant chains. 
  • One Reddit user says never to order anything vegetarian from TGI Fridays because it's probably not actually meatless.
  • Another user says Panera's famous green tea is just sink water and syrup.


From Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion to Olive Garden's Fettuccine Alfredo, we all have our chain restaurant guilty pleasures.

But next time you're eating at your favorite spot, you might want to keep this unsettling Reddit thread in mind, in which someone asked "Restaurant chain workers, what dish should we not order and why?"

We curated the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) answers from alleged current and former chain restaurant employees, which detail kitchen horror stories ranging from moldy fruit at fro-yo chains to vegetarian dishes that aren't actually vegetarian. Where applicable, we contacted the restaurant chain to get a response to these accusations.

As always with internet discussions, take these answers with a grain of salt, as the identities of the accusers have not been verified. 

SEE ALSO: The least healthy menu items from 5 of your favorite chain restaurants

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Bourbon Street steak, Applebee's

"It's been a while since I worked there, but don't get a bourbon steak from Applebee's," one Reddit user said. "It's like a black licorice-tasting steak... I remember one time we accidentally cooked an extra one, and we offered it to a waitress to eat. She took one bite and immediately spit it out. She kept asking us all night, 'what did you guys put on it?!' She was convinced that we had put something nasty on it to mess with her."

Iced green tea, Panera Bread

"The green tea that everyone loves so much is sink water and a bottle of syrup," Reddit user UnimpressionableBot said. They also stated that none of the soups are made fresh, and that they all come in giant, frozen blocks.

We contacted Panera Bread for more information and this was their response:

"The green tea is naturally caffeine free green tea with flavors of passionfruit and papaya. It is made with green tea, sugar, and natural flavor (passionfruit and papaya extract). For consistency across our 2,100+ cafes, we do use a concentrate. Our cafes do mix fresh green tea throughout the day."

Ice from any restaurant

"[Avoid] ice almost everywhere," one Reddit user said. "Unless you've seen people take apart the ice machine and scrub the whole thing out, there is definitely mold in those."

Another user added:

"I used to work at Starbucks, and at my store we emptied and bleached the ice tubs every day and the ice machine once a week. I once picked up a shift at a store in the next town, and when I went to empty the ice tub, there was a long-dead gecko at the bottom."

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