We all know that fast-food restaurants aren’t typically healthy. However, many fast-food and casual dining establishments have stepped up their games in recent years, offering higher quality and more nutritious meals with more affordable menu options.
Unfortunately, a few places haven’t changed at all and some have actively gotten worse. Fast-food restaurants that you should avoid tend to share similar characteristics, like dangerously unhealthy menu items, flavorless ingredients, and outright lies about nutritional content.
Though it was once the gold standard of fast-food chicken, KFC has dramatically worsened in recent years — at least in the United States. According to Consumer Reports, KFC scores below chains like Raising Cane’s and Church’s Chicken in food quality and customer satisfaction.
Some of this stems from the absurd amount of sodium in the food, but it is also due to the chain’s high costs and misleading advertisements. Many of the menu items show buckets overflowing with food with prices that align with such a massive meal. Unfortunately, you’re paying more for less than implied, in most cases.
With their range of sausages, sandwiches, and other unique options, Wienerschnitzel fills a niche in the fast-food world. Unfortunately, its food is often well over an acceptable price, especially since reports say it's also lacking flavor-wise. Consumers frequently complain about the taste and texture of the ingredients, as well as the disappointing meat-to-bun ratio.
Whereas competitors like Taco Bell have overcome the public’s formerly negative opinions with menu upgrades and healthier options, Del Taco never truly stepped into the modern era. Not only is the quality of its food lower than other restaurants, but even its “healthy” menu items pale in comparison.
For example, sodium counts across the menu are extremely high, with some even exceeding the recommended daily intake.
What was once a sandwich chain capable of competing with the best in the industry is now a shadow of its former self. Quiznos had over 5,000 restaurants across the United States, but due to high prices and poor quality, there are now fewer than 300.
Plus, Quiznos is no stranger to controversies, largely due to its infamous mistreatment of franchisees. If you’re looking for a sandwich, there are plenty of better options with lower costs and fewer moral issues.
Despite its slogan, Subway often offers anything but fresh food. For example, the packaging and shipping process for lettuce takes 10 to 15 days, resulting in lettuce that tastes and feels terrible. Subway has also found itself in the middle of some legal issues surrounding the addition of various chemicals and preservatives into its ingredients.
In recent years, Subway has had to close over 1,000 restaurants as customers seek out healthier and fresher options.
Whether it's due to the low quality and poor nutritional content of its food, a laundry list of controversies, or permanently broken ice cream machines, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they are better off avoiding McDonald’s.
Perhaps the most egregious options appear on its breakfast menu. A single McGriddle can easily count for a fourth of your daily calories and some choices, like the Big Breakfast, boast calorie counts over 1300.
Few restaurants have a gimmick as interesting as Sonic’s retro carhop delivery system. However, that gimmick and its crushed ice are basically all that Sonic has to offer.
Customers often complain that the food is stale or flavorless. Some franchises try to cover the lack of flavor with an excess of condiments, which only serves to make their offerings even more unappetizing.
For some people, Arby’s slogan alone is reason enough to avoid the restaurant. This sandwich joint’s main selling point is its selection of meats, though it has also extended its menu to include some healthier options.
However, this has not improved the nutritional content of its main menu items, which are swimming in sodium and trans fats. For example, the Signature Reuben is only 680 calories but contains 2410 mg of sodium — over 100 mg beyond the recommended daily intake.
If the name seems a bit strange, it’s because this restaurant ditched its former name in 2015. CiCi’s Pizza became Cicis as part of a new marketing campaign, stating that they have more to offer than just pizza.
Needless to say, changing the name did nothing to improve the low quality of its food and the general lack of cleanliness of many of its franchises. However, Consumer Reports did list Cicis as having some of the politest employees of any restaurant.
In most regions of the United States, Italian cuisine doesn’t really exist in fast-food form. Restaurants that do offer Italian food in this style often can’t meet the expectations we hold for the culture’s incredible cuisine.
Customers frequently complain about the freshness of Sbarro’s menu items. According to the New York Times, few customers go to Sbarro specifically for its food. Instead, they visit because they’re hungry and it’s widely available.