The new AskReddit thread is deeply unsettling.
The thread asks the question, "Restaurant chain workers, what dish should we not order and why," and current and former servers, cooks and hostesses shared the menu items they would strongly advise you to avoid. While most of the responses are anonymous so we cannot verify veracity, we are deeply unsettled, nonetheless.
1. "Seafood specials or buck-a-shuck oysters. It means, 'My seafood delivery is tomorrow, and I'm trying to get rid of my old stock.'"
2. "Check the menu, and if there is an item used only in one dish, chances are it’s not as fresh as the rest of the menu."
3. "If you order something that's not popular (grilled chicken sandwich, salad, etc) it's going to be old as shit. I've seen grilled chicken sit in a warming pan for 8+ hours before being handed out. Salads are usually pre-made once a week, and all we did was add some chicken strips on top before serving."
4. "Ice, almost everywhere. Unless you've seen people take apart the ice machine and scrub the whole thing out, there is definitely mold in those."
5. "Order what a place is known for. I used to work at an Italian beef place, and the beef sandwiches we served contained Italian beef cooked at another location and dropped off daily, giardiniera and peppers we prepped and cooked ourselves, bread delivered daily ... quality food. Fresh. Then, we had a BBQ rib sandwich. A box of them came frozen, we warmed 'em up and sent 'em out. Same thing with a fried steak sandwich we had. It was a beef place; just order the beef!"
6. "As a prep and grill person for a burrito chain that advertises its lack of GMOs, I would say chicken. A lot of cooks tend to under cook it, so you get some raw pieces. I also suspect it's where a lot of the outbreaks from years past originated."
7. "Don't order chili at a certain '50s diner-style fast-casual restaurant. Just please don't. I'm begging you."
8. "NEVER order a steak well-done. I guarantee you that the chef will pick the oldest, shittiest meat from the back of the shelf. You'd be better off ordering a burger."
9. "We sold an Antipasto salad that was just made up of the ends of all the lunchmeats and cheeses we didn't sell. They were usually expired, but we cut them up in cubes and covered them in Italian dressing. I never tried it, but it sounds disgusting. People loved it, though."
10. "Any restaurant with an 8-page menu is serving you frozen food that gets microwaved or boiled in the bag."
11. "Don't order the fish on a monday, as chefs get their last fish order of the week on Friday, and they don't get a new one 'til Tuesday."
12. "The 'famous' tea is just regular-ass tea bags from a national retailer mixed with 4 pounds (literally) of sugar in a giant vat."
13. "I don't know what it is about raspberries, but out of all the fruit we received, they regularly had dead bees in the box and would get moldy. I didn't have that problem with blueberries or blackberries, though."
14. "Most special dishes are either 'trying a new dish to see if it should go on the menu or not' or 'trying to get you to buy this product before I have to throw it out.'"
15. "Salads. Easily the most marked-up item."
16. "Those freestyle soda machines almost always have mold up in the ice chute unless the chute is fully taken out and the inner bit actively scrubbed every night, which I would not trust is actually done regularly anywhere."
17. "Lemons. They do not get washed."
18. "Pork chops, for my restaurant. They’re frozen, don’t thaw well and none of us cook them properly. They’re ALWAYS sent back, so we don’t quite understand why we still have them."
19. "Never get 'the special' if it's chicken, fish or beef because that means the meat is expiring the next day, and they are trying to sell it before they have no choice but to pitch it."
20. "We kept the spinach alfredo in a giant open tub underneath the sink."
21. "Anything with bacon bits or shredded cheese (like a loaded potato); they just sit in the open, and people snack from them."
Posts have been edited for length and clarity.
This article originally appeared on Food&Wine.com.