Mistakes everyone makes when eating fast food

A fast food meal will always be there for you, even if your ex no longer is. These foods are a vital part of the classic road trip and a savior on those nights in which we are too lazy to cook. The restaurants that make such meals are so ubiquitous that they could literally appear in your 4 a.m. dreams. Yup, these corporate franchises have certainly integrated themselves into almost every aspect of our existence.

But just because our species is eating a lot of fast food, that doesn't mean we're all chowing it down in an optimal fashion. There are quite a few hacks, tips, and tricks that can improve these late-night orders. These pointers are important because if you're slamming down this cuisine, you may as well squeeze out every morsel of joy from it, right? If you're ready to up your munchies game, you'll want to keep reading. Just be aware that once you've acquired this A+ knowledge, you may not be able to go back to your old uninformed ways.

Going to a fast food restaurant at the wrong time

Receiving a box of soggy fries just sucks. On the other hand, eating a fistful of freshly deep-fried potatoes can make your week a million times better. And while it's completely inexcusable that some eateries can't consistently serve up quality dishes, the time a person orders their fast food could impact the meal's taste.

Luckily, First We Feast broke down the ideal times to go to a few of these joints. The publication started off by stating that you should head to Krispy Kreme at 6 a.m. "This is your best shot at finding the red light on at Krispy Kreme," the online magazine explained, "which means that fresh glazed doughnuts are rolling off the conveyor belt." The prime hour to eat Chipotle? Surprisingly, 3 p.m. "Chipotle has convinced a lot of people who normally scoff at fast food to believe that it's totally reasonable to eat a baby-size burrito for lunch," wrote the publication. "And you know what that means? Lines so long they essentially negate the fast in fast food."

It could also be a smart idea for every foodie to jot down the times that they have top-notch and terrible fast food meals. Who knows, maybe you'll find a pattern and can head to your favorite local fast food restaurant at the optimal moment.

Not planning your fast food meal ahead of time

Accidentally ordering too much chow isn't typically framed as a noble mistake. A person may feel guilty about throwing away the things they don't eat, or finish said meal and then feel overfull. 

It probably won't surprise you that many fast food chains prompt their patrons to buy more food than they planned. Business Insider revealed that these places can use their menu layouts to encourage their customers to get combo meals. "Even though fast food menus are big, their confusing layouts make it difficult to find exactly what you're looking for," the publication explained. "It's easiest to read the menu when you're close to the counter. But then, it's time to order. The pressure is mounting, and you just pick that big, bright, juicy Number Three."

If you end up ordering one of these combo meals as a snap decision, there's a chance that it'll contain more food than you intended on getting. It could therefore be worth your time to plan your order before you step into a fast food restaurant. It might just save you from feeling bummed out at the end of the meal.

Asking for fries without salt

Many a friend, forum, and publication may claim that if you desire f choicest fries, you should request them not to be salted. "If you want your fries freshly made to order, there is something you can do to guarantee that luxury — ask for them without salt," asserted Foodbeast. "When you ask for them without salt, McDonald's has to make a new batch of fries just for you." 

However, this method of acquiring fresh fries might not be the most effective. Lifehacker reported that one McDonald's fry cook believes it's better for a customer just to ask for a new batch. The employee said, "There's a 90% chance that you read some 'life hack' on Reddit that says to get fresh fries just ask for no salt. Do you realise you can just ASK us for 'fresh,' and we're more likely to give them to you, right?"

Another employee remarked that asking for no salt could result in your order receiving fewer fries. "The fry person will need to wipe down the station, the fry scoop, and clear the area to keep salt from contaminating the new batch," the worker continued. "The fry person might not even fill up your container as full due to this fuss. And if any fries fall out of the bag/container, they won't put more in because the rest of the fries may have already been salted."

Not combining fast food from different chains

In the iconic anime Dragon Ball Z, two characters can do a special dance that fuses their minds, bodies, and souls together. This new individual is more powerful than its separate entities. And while our fast food items can't perform a series of steps that amalgamate them into an all-powerful battler, they can be merged to make some mouthwatering dishes. 

In 2015, BuzzFeed took on the role of culinary explorer and combined a number of fast food meals from different establishments. The first fusion was a combination of Dunkin' Donuts' Munchkins and KFC's Popcorn Chicken. Dubbed "Munchick Popkins," it apparently had a great flavor. One taste tester, Vicki Chen, said, "It's good with the glazed. It tastes like chicken and waffles."

Spoon University also tried its hand at melding several fast food items. Apparently, a mashup of a McChicken, McDouble, and Taco Bell's Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes is something to try. The article declared, "The cheese on the potatoes keep the potatoes on top of the sandwich for the duration of the ride. The chicken between the two beef patties adds an amazing spice that you never thought you would want." If you want to be a fast food aficionado, then your mouth should definitely try the above-mentioned meals. Or, you could become a famous inventor and devise a fusion yourself.

Ordering the largest size instead of multiple smaller sizes

Fast food enables an easy and affordable meal, but we could be saving even more. TikTok user tha_broski broke down a cost-effective way to purchase Mcnuggets from McDonalds. "Instead of ordering the ten-piece, which is $5.79, get two six-pieces for $2 [each]. You do the math," the person explained.

However, it's worth noting that the price of a Mickey D's staple dish can drastically vary depending on your location. Kristin Salaky, a news editor at Delish, reported that this hack wouldn't have worked in her area. Instead, Salaky discovered an entirely different nugget deal. She wrote, "In more than half the McDonald's locations I checked, it was actually cheaper to get three four-piece McNuggets ($1.30 each at one location) than it was to get a ten-piece ($4.50 at that same location)."

Both tha_broski's TikTok video and Salaky's findings tell you the same thing, though. You should check to see if buying duplicates of a small serving is cheaper than getting a larger portion.

Ordering these fast food items

Back in 2014, a Reddit user posted a salient question on the Ask Reddit page. They wrote, "Fast food workers of Reddit, what should we NOT order at your restaurant?" A ton of different accounts had something to say about this subject. The thread even ended up getting around 3,000 responses. 

Multiple people claiming to have worked at Panera Bread stated that the restaurant's pasta is pre-made. One user wrote, "Mac & cheese is nasty. Everything else is decent."  Another Redditor asserted that they were a former Little Caesars manager and revealed that the chain's Crazy Bread, Jalapeno Bread, and Italian Bread aren't dressed with real butter. "It's some nasty imitation that comes in a huge bottle and does not need to be refrigerated," the user explained.

That being said, the quality of any franchise's item can change depending on which location you brought it from. It could be worth your time to ask the employees at your local joints which products they actively avoid or, at least, which ones they recommend.

Not taking your fast food home to add extra ingredients

Look, we all know that fast food is meant to be, well, fast. But if you have the time, a bit of patience, and several basic cooking skills, then you can elevate these meals to a whole other level. 

Chef Cassi Faust told Insider that she turns Krispy Kreme's glazed doughnuts into incredible sandwiches. "For the best grilled cheese sandwich of your life, slice a doughnut in half and fill it with deli ham or bacon and cheese with the sliced sides [of the doughnut halves] facing down. Butter a skillet, grill your sandwich on both sides, and enjoy!" Another chef, Lewis Donald, said that one of his favorite concoctions is Wendy's chili mixed with his homemade macaroni and cheese. He described this combo being a "yummy chili-mac dish."

Hopefully these examples will inspire you to make your own homemade meals with fast food ingredients. Just try not to be filled with self-doubt; you can do it!

Ordering a drink with ice

If your body is craving a sweet, cold drink on a scorching hot summer day, you may be thinking about adding a ton of ice . Be that as it may, you'd get a lot more liquid if you simply skipped the ice. 

Phillip Jang, a news editor at Times Colonist, outlined why we should order our drinks without ice. He explained, writing, "Ice dominates. The drink — orange juice, soft drink, mineral water — fades to the background, and your tongue is numbed by the cold." Jang also remarked that frozen water melts and makes your drink of choice weaker. This unfortunately means that you also "get less for your money."

If you're mildly concerned that ordering a beverage sans ice could irritate a fast food worker, Jang's article attempts to soothe such a worry. "When I ask for a drink with no ice, restaurants and bars have been happy to oblige." He added, "The request must be frequent, because there is never a quizzical look, or a sigh of annoyance."

Demanding items from a fast food restaurant's "secret menu"

"Secret Menus at restaurants are comprised of unofficial and unadvertised selections that fast food chains will make when ordered but that do not exist on their regular menus," stated #HackTheMenu. These underground items are exciting, of course, but ordering and eating these sort of meals may not actually live up to their hype.

"Something on the secret menu is pretty much never going to be as good as something on the normal menu," revealed Delish. "The lovely people making your food ... have been trained and prepped to make a certain number of items that are readily available for everyone to order. Think about how whacky it gets when you try to make one simple modification to your meal." True enough.

Delish additionally declared, "Working in the service industry is ridiculously tough. Often you'll have long lines and even longer hours along with unhappy customers, so the last thing a person working in fast food needs is some rando asking for something they've never even heard of and who will probably be annoyed when they get it 'wrong.'" Furthermore, Thrillist investigated this phenomenon and discovered that certain restaurants do indeed serve secret menu items, but these places are the exception. Ergo, if you're dead set on ordering an unlisted creation, you should ask your neighborhood eateries if they genuinely make them.

Ordering a burrito instead of a bowl at Chipotle

If you're a Chipotle fan that loves a good deal, you may want to follow Bustle's instructions may be right up your alley. "The ultimate way to work the system at Chipotle is to order a bowl instead of a burrito or tacos," the publication reported. "You may be grumbling about not having a tortilla, but here is where the genius comes in. When you order a bowl, you generally get more of everything." If you get this item, you're also allowed to request a tortilla or taco shell — which is free. And voilà, you can now make your very own super-packed meal.

This hack may work at other fast food franchises too. It could be worth your time to ask for a burrito bowl and a tortilla the next time you're at a non-Chipotle establishment, like Moe's Southwest Grill or Qdoba Mexican Eats.

Texting while eating fast food with your friends

A lot of folks eat while using their phones. As Orlando Sentinel stated, "In a study commissioned by Nutrisystem, it was discovered that nearly one in three Americans can't get through a meal without being on their phone. Out of 2,000 people surveyed, 29 percent of people said that they are on their phone during meals." But just because it can feel normal to be on your cell while you're chowing down some fast food — or having any meal for that matter — that doesn't mean that this behavior will make you happy. 

In 2018, Time interviewed Elizabeth Dunn and Ryan Dwyer about a study they helped author — and what was found was pretty shocking. Time explained, "Phone use during a meal led to a modest but noticeable decrease in diners' enjoyment, according to their research, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. ... Technology at the table caused people to feel more distracted and less socially engaged."

Look, if you're eating fast food with your buddies, then you may as well enjoy this escapade as much as humanly possible. That may mean putting Instagram away for 30 minutes, but it'll be worth it in the end.

You're not transforming your Happy Meal box into a plate

If you're a child, or an inebriated adult trying to relive their childhood, then there's no better order than a Happy Meal. You get a cup of candy juice, a couple of dopamine-inducing snacks, and a plastic toy to distract your soul for a couple of minutes.

Nevertheless, children and man-children can sometimes be messy creatures, and the Happy Meal is a box instead of a plate. This cumbersome container may confuse a patron that's attempting to get their fries out, play with their action figure, and put their burger back inside its packaging at the same time. A moment, such as this hypothetical, could possibly end with a potato slice toppling onto the table and its owner welling with tears.

Fortunately, Rebecca Maufe made a TikTok that reveals how you can transform a Happy Meal carton into a platter that's easier to eat from. Near the bottom of the box, there is a small tab that you can pull. If you tug on this tab, it turns into a long strip of cardboard that separates the top part of the container from the bottom. Maufe's video shows that if you follow these simple instructions, then you'll end up with the perfect plate.

You're ordering medium pizzas instead of large pies

Isn't mathematics incredible? Not only did it help get humankind safely onto the moon, but it can also be used to optimize your fast food pizza order. "Here's a useful counterintuitive fact," expressed Fermat's Library on Twitter. "One 18-inch pizza has more 'pizza' than two 12-inch pizzas." 

Mathematician Eddie Woo then responded to this fearless tweet and outlined why an 18-inch pizza is much more substantial than a 12-inch pizza. His explanation acknowledged that the 18-inch doesn't seem that much larger than the 12-inch — after all, it's only six inches bigger. However, this pie is six inches bigger in every direction. The 18-inch pizza is therefore 20 percent larger than the 12-inch pizza.

The king of pizza heresy, Pizza Hut, has large pizzas that are only 14 inches. In fact, this seems to be the standard size for a large. But even these large ones could be aa better value than a medium. In 2017, Big Think did the math to work out whether or not Pizza Hut's medium cheese was cheaper per square inch than its large cheese. The medium cheese cost $8.83 per square inch, and the large cheese cost $7.79 per square inch.

So, there you have it, ordering a large pizza is potentially better than defaulting to a medium. May your Friday nights be full of satisfying slices and joy.