Workers reveal what it's really like to work at Wendy's

Wendy's is one of the most popular fast food restaurants in America and one of the world's biggest burger chains. The company was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, with a mission to serve fast food burgers that were prepared with meat that hadn't been previously frozen. While serving "fresh" food has become commonplace now, back then it was a very novel offering that clearly had a demand. There are now over 6,000 Wendy's restaurants in operation. So not surprisingly, there are a lot of career opportunities within the company too.

Wendy's prides itself on a family-like work atmosphere and touts plenty of room for growth among its rankings. But what's it like to really work there? Sometimes the company website looks really shiny but the reality of the behind-the-scenes grind at a fast food restaurant proves to tell a different story. Here's what Wendy's employees — both current and former crew members — have to say about working for the brand that brought you the Frosty, the Baconator and, of course, the famous square-shaped hamburger patty.

There's not a lot of training before you work at Wendy's

How much on-site training does Wendy's require? The answer seems to be, not a whole lot. 

One Reddit user who copped to previously working at Wendy's wrote, "I was only given 1 training session and just thrown straight into it. The training didn't help much ... over time I just gradually learned all of the positions ... a lot of stores won't do too many training sessions ... roughly about 15 hours for a new employee ... I only had about 4 hours of training time before working." 

In the same Reddit thread, an alleged former employee for the company said they were making sandwiches almost immediately, writing, "They had me in the back watching training videos on my first day. I was literally watching the video for less than an hour when the manager says, 'You think you can do sandwiches?' ... I worked there for 7 years, and that 45 minutes of training was the only training I had ever received besides other employees showing me what to do." In another Reddit tell-all, a supposed former employee alleged very little involvement with the company's training videos writing, "I never saw a single training video," they claimed.

While it might depend on the particular location, the consensus seems to be that the training videos aren't always deemed a top priority for new Wendy's employees.

Wendy's is pretty flexible with employees on their hours

Hours and scheduling can be one of the major stresses of restaurant work, especially for employees possibly trying to juggle a job while also attending school. Wendy's workers report relative ease getting hours at the chain though. One Quora user who claims to be a current Wendy's crew member explained that the restaurant gives, "...good hours despite limitations since I'm 17 and in school. I still manage 20-30 per week." And in an Indeed.com thread regarding hours at Wendy's, an alleged former employee wrote, "Some days are busier than others ... I still managed to work 40 hours a week. If you have the whole day available like I did, it['s] easy to call in and ask in advance when you will be needed most."

While someone in another Indeed Q&A wrote, in regards to the flexibility of scheduling while employed at Wendy's, "They are super flexible, if there's a day I can't work then I just tell the manager and they find someone else to fill in the position" and another purported former worker said, "It's flexible giving me the opportunity to get things done outside the store." Of course, a lot of this feedback might vary depending on the specific restaurant but overall, a lot of Wendy's workers seem satisfied with their hours.

It's easier if Wendy's workers get along with their managers

As is the case with a lot of jobs, your relationship with your boss can make or break your experience, and it seems the same goes for Wendy's. Employees seem to universally agree that their relationship with their manager is/was a big factor in the quality of their life at work. One Quora user claiming to have worked for two years at Wendy's wrote, in response to a question about tips for working at the burger joint, "Just become friends with your managers..." and later reiterated, "...just make friends with the crew and especally [sic] the managers."

Another Quora participant, who alleged a few years of employment at Wendy's, suggested, "Always listen to your manager (unless you know they are wrong then go to the general manager)." A third Quora user who identified as a former manager at Wendy's suggested, "Go to a manager when you have an issue, whether it's personal, with a guest or another co worker. The manager will work with you to solve these and will respect you for coming to them first." 

So you get the gist — Wendy's workers really emphasize the importance of a solid manager-employee relationship.

Cleaning duties for Wendy's workers can be brutal

Cleaning is never the most riveting aspect of any job. So we aren't shocked to learn some of the cleaning details required for Wendy's crew members. In a Reddit thread about Wendy's employees, one user responded to another user's gripes about cleaning the fryer: "... the real s***** part is cleaning the filter boxes where all the nasty crumbs and junk that get taken from the oil go. Which ia a [sic] nightly job for both of our fryers." 

And cleaning the Frosty machine is apparently no picnic either. A Quora user who supposedly managed a Wendy's wrote that they're, "... supposed to empty it, break it down and clean it every night. In the morning, they put it together and run sanitizer through it (again) before they fill it back up. We have special buckets to keep the product in and refrigerate it over night ... if you don't follow the procedure, you're in for a world of pain. If you leave the product in the machine overnight and no one uses it, it will actually freeze up. If you turn it off, it will spoil. If you empty it and don't clean/sanitize it ... it'll just be a mess in the morning and they'll have to spend twice as much time cleaning it."

Is all that cleaning worth it? Well, a Frosty can be just 50 cents and millions are sold a year. We salute Wendy's employees for doing this grunt work!

Wendy's workers can sometimes score free food

You might assume that it's a free-for-all of free food when you work at a fast food restaurant, but that's not necessarily the case. It may or may not be the case depending on where you work, though. An individual named Robert Kirby who claimed to have worked at Wendy's for five years wrote about his experience with the company in a Quora thread. He actually listed several instances where free food was up for grabs. Specifically, he wrote, "Depending on how cool you and your boss are you may get free food ... when mistakes are made you can eat the mistake usually ... free soda" while also pointing out that, "You can take food home when you close ... managers get free food always."

So it sounds like if you play your cards right, you can save a LOT of money on shopping for groceries while working at Wendy's, (assuming you can stomach a diet of nothing but Wendy's while also slinging burgers all day at Wendy's).

Wendy's workers have to get creative when they prepare cheese

There are some things we probably don't want to know from the workers running our favorite fast food restaurants. Cheese prep might fall into this category. 

A Reddit user claiming to have worked at Wendy's dropped some hard truth bombs about the chain's cheese situation. In the thread, the person explained that the cheese you might get on an order of cheese fries starts in a frozen state: "They would take the frozen bag of cheese sauce and let it sit in the walk-in to unfreeze, or they would put it in a small warming oven and heat it for a couple of seconds." And if they were running low on cheese, this former Wendy's employee claims his coworkers would, "... would get hot water, that they use to make tea and coffee, and just pour it into the cheese sauce and stir it, just to make it look like they have enough. So you're basically eating melted cheese with hot water." Disturbing but also mildly fascinating?

Another Reddit member who cops to previous Wendy's employment observed another somewhat questionable cheese practice. "We leave our American cheese out for like an hour before use, and it sits out even longer if we're slow. It's called "tempered" cheese," the person wrote. So moral of the story: working at Wendy's might make you want to hold the cheese on ... well, anything you order.

Wendy's employees might get hit by flying food

If you fill out an application to work at Wendy's and get the job, just make sure to get behind that counter at your own risk. Customers are apparently not above hurling a sandwich or two for reasons that can't really be substantiated. 

A person claiming to have worked at Wendy's for four years told a Reddit AMA thread that a Wendy's patron threw food at both the worker and a manager because some chili and ketchup were missing from her order, and her chicken nuggets weren't hot. The Reddit account says she, "... threw her bags of food toward me. They hit the counter and slid into me," and later when the manager came out, "... the lady then picked up her food bags again and threw them back onto the counter towards him and began yelling again — the same as she did to me." Yikes. Don't mess with a Wendy's nugget temperature.

The same Reddit user told another story of a car full of men who ordered "38 jr bacon cheeseburgers and 10 small fries" from the drive-thru very close to the 1:00 AM closing time. The crew went to work making all that food, only to later have it thrown back into the drive-thru window by the men, long after official closing time. Clearly, if you work at Wendy's, be wary of a group that orders that many cheeseburgers after midnight.

Don't worry, Wendy's workers are never stuck squeezing lemons for the lemonade

"All natural" and "fresh" are buzzwords often used as marketing ploys to make consumers think they're eating healthier. Wendy's all-natural lemonade is not labeled "fresh" on the official menu but if the chain ever tried to claim that, the behind-the-scenes folks know the truth.

One former worker told Insider, "Yes, there are sliced lemons in that display pitcher, but where I worked, they were just for show. I hate to break it to you, but the lemonade we would make at my store was just about as "fresh" as the powder you mix with water at home." And a Reddit user and another purported Wendy's worker claimed in an AMA thread, "But the Lemonade is actually made out of Frozen Lemonade Base/Concentration. They usually put it in a bucket, pour the Concentration whenever it unfreezes (but at times when they were at a [sic] hurry, they would take it, frozen or not, and just squeeze out the frozen slush in it), and add purified water in it, and stir it. This is also the case with S. Lemonade, but they add in some Strawberry filler, and they stir it."

So if these Wendy's insider observations are any indication, if you want fresh-squeezed lemonade with your spicy chicken sandwich, you gotta make it yourself.

Wendy's workers are wowed by the Frosty protocol

Ah, the Wendy's Frosty — not quite a milkshake but so much more than a cup of ice cream. Every Wendy's fan has their thoughts about the frozen treat and how you should eat a Frosty. It turns out Wendy's workers have strong opinions too.

A Reddit user who claimed to have worked at Wendy's recommended not ordering a Frosty until the lunch crowd has thinned out because of how they store the, ahem, ingredients. The former Wendy's crew member wrote, "The Frosty's [sic] come in a plastic bag and look like chocolate milk. This was before any vanilla or whatever flavors. It was poured into a machine that froze it and pumped it out like ice cream. The machine itself was cleaned thoroughly every single night ... the leftover mix would get poured into a bucket and set on the floor of the fridge overnight, then reused in the morning. It wasn't a sealed container either." Another Reddit user and alleged Wendy's alum described the process of Frosty ingredients going into the machine liquid and coming out solid as pretty magical. "I'm not exactly sure but the dispenser works like magic. It goes in liquid, and if you open the lid to see inside it's still liquid, but it comea [sic] out frozen," the former employee wrote.

So avoid the leftovers from the night before by making sure it's a fresh-mix Frosty. And appreciate the magic too.

Wendy's workers might end up on TikTok

If you're going to do anything remotely shady on the clock at work these days, just know that if the company's installed cameras don't catch you, someone with a steady hand and a smartphone will. Maybe just don't put it on your social media if that happens?

A video of a Wendy's worker (and now a former Wendy's worker) in Michigan went viral in early 2020. The employee was taking a dip in one of the restaurant's sinks. The footage, which also involves coworkers teasingly throwing items into the sink and laughing alongside him, went up on the worker's TikTok account then quickly recirculated to other platforms, namely Facebook, where it was shared over 3,000 times.

Wendy's fired the worker and the crew members who egged him on, citing major health code no-no's as the reasons (obviously). Wendy's, we don't think anyone was going to try to argue with you on the merits of these terminations.