How often do you think about your fast food eating experience? You love to visit your favorite burger place, but how informed are you about it? We all love eating fast food, but we don’t know many secrets about our favorite fast food joints.
1. The growth of fast food has been exponential, to say the least. It’s unusual to see mom-and-pop shops, and burgers are usually purchased at a fast food restaurant as opposed to a family diner. Instead of waiting to be seated and then processing your order, a quick run to the drive-through will result in a slightly different — albeit still delicious — burger. Whether it’s a burger, a large serving of fries, or just some donuts, fast-food restaurants have become a staple in many people’s lifestyles and diets.
The first fast food secret on this list has to do with the colorfast food restaurants use in their food and advertisements. You might not know it, but colors play a big part in the decision-making process when it comes to food. The color scheme that is chosen is used in order to influence your decision-making. The colors red and yellow are meant to entice you to buy food.
2. Yellow and red complement each other perfectly. At a subconscious level, they make you want to stop for a bite to eat. This is sometimes called the ketchup and mustard theory. Red is known to trigger appetite and hunger while drawing attention at the same time. Yellow triggers feelings of cheerfulness and friendliness. The two combined make a perfect match.
3. You might be surprised to find out that there is no such thing as grilled meat at fast food joints. Most burger patties are actually frozen and processed at a factory nearby. They are then shipped to different locations. If this doesn’t turn you off from fast food restaurants, I’m not sure what will.
4. Fast food chains tend to add an artificial smoke smell to their meat in order to make it seem more like real beef patties. And yes, those grill marks are either added on or are just there when the meat is reheated. This seems deceitful, but it’s totally common for fast food joints to do this.
5. The goal is always to sell you more. That’s why the staff is always taught to ask if you would like to ‘upsize’ a drink or get some sort of dessert. Psychology has shown that it is much more difficult to say no to something that is offered; that’s why it is harder to say no when they propose additional food.
6. Lots of fast food places sell breakfast with eggs that look like they came pre-packaged (gross). Are they real eggs? It is actually a combination of real eggs and something called a ‘premium egg mixture.’ It consists of glycerin and the food additive E552. Remember this the next time you order a breakfast sandwich!
7. The yummy, greasy, and delicious food at fast food joints is made to be consumed quickly. This is because studies have shown that more chewing and slower eating leads to less total food intake. So the faster someone eats, the more they will eat…which means more money for the restaurant.
8. Studies have shown that when we eat at fast food restaurants, we actually chew our food about 12 times. When we eat outside of restaurants (in our homes, at work, etc.), we chew roughly 15 times. Who knew that there are studies out there based solely on counting how many times we chew our food?!
9. A medium-sized drink is not actually medium. Since most people get the ‘standard size’ drinks, the standard is no longer medium; it is actually large. Studies show that people are more likely to drink more when the drink is labeled as medium as opposed to large, which means they are more likely to buy a medium drink.
10. Burgers are cooked almost immediately in most fast-food restaurants. As you have probably already noticed in your lifetime, burgers are created in about 30 seconds when you order your food at a fast food joint, hence the name fast food. There’s a reason the quality of burgers at fast food joints is so much different than they are at regular restaurants.
11. The reason burgers are made within such a short period of time at fast food restaurants is because the meat is already frozen, and all they have to do is heat it up. But most times, standard burgers are already pre-made, and the chain’s goal is to serve as many burgers as possible.
12. Some people insist that soft drinks at fast-food restaurants just taste different and are better. Although it is the exact same recipe, most chains tend to mix soda with water. Fast food chains also store their soda in metal containers that maintain freshness. Some fast-food restaurant sodas also taste different due to their filtration systems.
13. Mixing the soda concentrate with water at the restaurant also makes the drink taste ‘fresher.’ It may be the reason why people insist on sodas at fast food restaurants tasting better. Fast food restaurants are also known to have a different water/syrup ratio, which makes the soda taste better.
14. Did you know that Styrofoam cups that store hot drinks can have some negative health effects? It’s true that hot drinks that are served in Styrofoam cups can actually have a negative effect on the nervous system, and some studies have even shown that it could cause signs of depression.
15. This is because Styrofoam is not supposed to be heated, and when it gets hot (or stores hot liquid), a chemical is released, which can create adverse effects. Styrofoam cups contain styrene, which is classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Carcinogens are substances that are capable of causing cancer.
16. Neurologically speaking, everything tastes the same. Fast food chains know what tastes good and what doesn’t. They understand which foods react to which reward centers of the brain. This makes it easier for fast food chains to create foods that are more likely to be consumed by people because of the way their brains react to the food they are eating.
17. If you eat fast food often, you have probably noticed that most fast food restaurants have the same underlying taste or feel to them — whether it’s a burger, fries, ice cream, or even a drink. This is because all of these foods actually hit the same type of ‘pleasure’ receptors in the brain.
18. Salads are not always the best option. Most people who are on a diet will resort to a salad at a fast food chain, but some salads can be calorically dense than the biggest burgers. This is because salads are usually loaded up with excess amounts of dressing and hidden ingredients the consumer may not be aware of.
19. Another reason that salads from fast food chains are not the best option is that the meat that is offered is generally deep-fried or drenched in some sort of dressing that is calorically dense. Furthermore, the croutons and salad dressing only make it more unhealthy. Cut out the dressing and the deep-fried meats, and you’ll have a healthier option.
20. Most fast food is meant to be eaten almost right away. Most french fries are meant to be eaten within 5 minutes. This is because, after that time span, it will lose its taste. And if you’ve ever eaten a fast food burger or french fries over an hour after you’ve purchased it, you probably already know that they usually taste stale and wind up in the garbage.
21. Most fast food advertisements are deceiving. The burgers you see in ads aren’t necessarily what you are going to get. Often food stylists have to use certain tricks to make food look more appealing, including using cocktail sticks in the backs of burgers to hold it up, gluing on sesame seeds, and even using mashed potatoes for vanilla ice cream.
22. Drive-thrus account for almost 70% of sales at a majority of fast-food chains, which means that staff are required to turn orders around within a two or three-minute period. So, if you’re in a rush and want to get your food as fast as possible, studies suggest going through the drive-thru.
23. Chili from fast food joints may not be made of what you thought it was made of. Most fast food joints that sell chili actually use unused hamburger meat in their chili. Instead of throwing out unused burgers, they refrigerate them and then later chop them up, boil them, and put them into the chili.
24. Milkshakes of all kinds from fast food chains are generally very bad for you. Most of them contain upwards of 500+ calories (some even have over 1000 calories) and over 80 grams of sugar. You’re better off making yourself a milkshake at home with natural ingredients (pro tip: a great homemade strawberry milkshake with milk and strawberries contains less than 200 calories).
25. Soda fountains often contain a lot (and I mean a lot) of bacteria. They are not cleaned very often, and when they are cleaned, it can be very difficult to reach certain spots to clean them thoroughly. Studies show that most soda dispensers in America fall well below normal drinking water standards.
26. Fast food restaurants are a lot more dirty than you may think. A general rule of thumb is if the front end of the restaurant and the tables/dining area are not clean, the back is probably in the same state — if not worse. So, if you notice that the restaurant you’re in is pretty dirty, think twice about ordering your food.
27. In case you don’t already know this, most foods served at fast food chains are frozen and/or microwaved. Most fast food joints microwave pre-cooked meat and serve it to customers who are under the assumption that it has been deep-fried. Chicken is usually frozen but deemed fresh. Never go to a fast food restaurant under the assumption that you will get fresh food.
28. Food falls on the floor all the time in fast food restaurants…and is then served to customers. Buns, burgers, you name it. In fast-food restaurants, the five-second rule is generally extended to a 30-second rule, and management typically turns a blind eye. Employees are encouraged not to waste any food, so throwing out something that has fallen on the floor would be considered a waste.
29. Although this rule is heavily enforced in any type of restaurant environment, some employees at fast-food restaurants do not wash their hands nearly as often as they should. This is pretty frightening because they are handling our food. Some studies claim that nearly half of fast-food employees do not wash their hands properly.
30. Employees at fast food chains are sometimes encouraged not to throw out old food because it is considered a waste. Some fast food places will even sell you “fresh” chicken that was cooked six hours ago, while some places even reset timers on foods so the food can still be sold.