Ex-Workers Reveal The One Free Topping You Should Never Get At Five Guys

In the midst of the quick service surge, Five Guys was deemed one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains by Forbes, which is certainly a nod to the popularity of the restaurant. It was even named America's favorite burger chain in 2017 (via PopSugar). Fast food in the form of burgers, fries, and milkshakes is undoubtedly not the healthiest meal, but there are more reasons to avoid some Five Guys menu items than calories. Whether it's your first time to the chain or you are a steady regular, you might want to consider making a few changes to your order — if you don't lose your appetite altogether.

Fast food restaurants are known to have reputations for less-than-clean facilities or food dispensers and containers. Of course, mistakes and accidents happen to everyone, but sometimes employee secrets get out. Like many restaurants, Five Guys has been reported to be less than perfect by its employees.

According to one employee on Reddit, the grilled cheese is probably "the safest thing on the menu to eat." Another employee went on to admit that bad meat is sometimes served even if it is gray, slimy, or was dropped on the floor (via PopSugar).

The free topping to skip at Five Guys

If there's one free topping you should never get at Five Guys, it's the mushrooms. While the chain is known for using freshly cut meat and vegetables that are prepared the same day they're sold, not everything is fresh. Five Guys mushrooms are one of the very few items that are kept frozen in a bag (via Trend Chaser). According to Delish, the restaurant does not have any freezers at all in any of its locations, which means the mushrooms can sometimes get moldy.

When mushrooms are stored raw, they still retain a lot of their natural moisture (via Delishably). If the mushrooms begin to come to a temperature at which they can decompose and have air exposure, then bacteria and mold can begin to grow (via USDA). To avoid this, the mushrooms need to either be cooked and then frozen in an airtight container, or should be packed with something like paper towels that can wick moisture.

Mushrooms that have gone slimy, smell, or emit a bad odor have most definitely gone bad. Sometimes mushrooms with a small bit of slime can be cleaned and cooked well without causing harm, but it's safest to avoid bad mushrooms altogether. Mushrooms that have turned can cause food poisoning or nausea at the very least (via Leaf). So if you do order mushrooms at Five Guys and they just don't look or smell right, consider asking for a new order — presumably sans mushrooms.

Sauces to avoid at Five Guys

A few other free toppings to reconsider come down to the sauces. Five Guys includes six sauces on the menu: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, Bar-B-Que sauce, A.1. sauce, and hot sauce (via Five Guys). While some of these might sound pretty standard for hamburger and hot dog toppings, they are definitely not created equal at the burger joint.

If there are two sauces to definitely avoid, it is the ketchup and mustard. According to Trend Chaser, this is one of the grossest things in the restaurant. Apparently, the staff does not always clean the containers, so the bottom of the ketchup and mustard dispensers ends up filled with germs and grime. Mold collects, and since the containers are not cleaned each day, new ketchup and mustard are simply added to the top of the container causing the problem at the bottom to get worse.

Another sauce to rethink is the Bar-B-Que sauce. While there haven't been any reported problems of mold or containers going uncleaned, the Bar-B-Que sauce is far from healthy. Of the six sauces available, it only adds 48 calories per serving, but it does, however, tack on an extra 400 milligrams of sodium per serving which is the highest of any of the menu's condiments (via Five Guys).

What to order instead at Five Guys

If there is one topping the people at Five Guys are passionate about, it's the mayo. According to Taste of Home, the founding family tried 16 different kinds of mayonnaise before selecting the one they serve today. It's the only one allowed to be served at any of the Five Guys locations, so you know it is going to be good no matter where you order. Though the mayo is delicious, it is the highest in calories of the six sauces available, but the sodium level is on the low side.

There might be 250,000 options for customizing your burger at Five Guys, but the secret menu items you can order just make your decision that much harder. While most veggies are your best bet when it comes to free toppings, remember just to stay away from the mushrooms — or order them grilled well done. If the ketchup and mustard containers have you worried now too, consider mixing your own sauce by combining mayo and A.1. or cajun seasoning with mayo for something a little different.