Restaurants People Hate To Work At

Even though I'm a so-called struggling artist, I have yet to work in a restaurant. However, I really applaud anyone who has or is currently working in one. It's not easy to keep a smiling face while multiple people complain that their Bloomin' Onion isn't "bloomin' enough," or serving a table having a family reunion for three hours only to be stiffed when it comes to getting a tip. But sometimes it's not the customers who make working for a restaurant difficult, it's the management. The smiling faces on your servers may be painted on, especially if you're in one of these chains that are notoriously hard to work for. The establishments on this list are chains you've probably dined at once, twice, or even several times before.


You might hit up Applebee's when you're desperate to pig out on half-priced, frozen appetizers and cheap domestic beers, but the chain restaurant who claims to be your friendly neighborhood bar and grill isn't so friendly when it comes to treating their employees. According to Glassdoor, Applebee's only has a 3.1 star rating from nearly 3,000 employee reviews and only 52 percent of employees would recommend working at the casual dining chain. The number one complaint about Applebee's is the management, as well as long hours, little chance for advancement, and low pay.

Applebee's is a franchise, so an employee's experience may vary depending on location. Despite recent attempts at trying to curb employee turnover, don't be surprised if you never have the same server twice when you want to "eat good in the neighborhood," especially since the chain was hit with a class action overtime and race discrimination lawsuit in 2016.

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's

Carl's Jr. and their sister restaurant, Hardee's, are trying to shed their sexist past when it comes to their advertising, but it's going to take more than a new brand image to take care of the appalling ways they treat their employees, especially women.

According to The Guardian, the advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United found that a staggering 66 percent of female workers at CKE Group, the parent company of restaurants like Hardee's and Carl's Jr, have suffered from workplace sexual harassment. One employee who was interviewed said customers ask her why she doesn't dress like the models in the restaurant's commercials, another said customers follow her to her car.

The ROC United survey also discovered that one-third of employees suffer from wage theft, and over 79 percent of those in the survey have worked while sick. CKE Group's CEO, Andrew Puzder not only defends the company's sexist image and is firmly against raising the minimum wage, but has also been classified as anti-worker, being one of the most outspoken CEOs in the food industry to go fully automated. He stated in an interview with Business Insider that robot workers are better because, "they're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case." Sounds like a great guy to work for, right?

Dunkin' Donuts

America might run on Dunkin', but if you're thinking about getting a job at the Massachusetts-based coffee chain, maybe you should run the other way. Dunkin' Donuts only has a 3 star rating on Glassdoor out of almost 2,500 reviews, and only 45 percent of employees recommend working there.

In 2015, Cosmopolitan interviewed an employee about what goes on behind the scenes at Dunkin' Donuts and while they said there are some employee perks, like free unlimited coffee and Munchkins throughout your shift, it's not all sugar and mocha-spice. Employees on Glassdoor said working there can be unbearable and frustrating during the morning rush because locations are frequently understaffed. Employees aren't too fond of the hours either. Many locations are open 24 hours, but the ones that aren't open up extremely early at 5 a.m. so those who are slated to open need to start prep work at least an hour before the store opens.

People get fussy about their coffee, too, which creates another pitfall for employees. No one wants to mess with an angry person before the sun rises — especially when they haven't had their coffee.

Buffalo Wild Wings

This sports bar who specializes in chicken wings and beer was not only considered the worst casual chain restaurant by the Fiscal Times in 2016, but a letter written by one of B-Dub's biggest investors went viral for calling out the chain on its poor management skills. It probably goes without saying that employees at Buffalo Wild Wings aren't that happy either. Out of nearly 3,000 reviews on Glassdoor, the chain only has a 3.3 star rating with 57 percent of employees recommending to work there. Most of the complaints from employees have to do with the management, with workers stating that managers either make them work long hours or are given very few hours with no schedule balance. However, even management at the store level have complaints about schedules. One assistant manager at B-Dubs in Arkansas said they frequently work 13-hour shifts with no breaks.

Buffalo Wild Wings is known for underpaying employees and lost a lawsuit because of it. The chain also has a history of lawsuits related to discrimination and sexual harassment.

Cooks at Buffalo Wild Wings also despise customers who try to customize their order way too much. In an AMA Reddit a Buffalo Wild Wings cooks said, "We HATE people who are incredibly picky with wings. If it's too wet, not enough sauce, especially when you want people who get crispy wings. They are the absolute worst, because if it's not crispy enough you have to remake the whole order and it just gets frustrating. Then they want wet and crispy which is literally impossible because the sauce makes them not crispy anymore."


Even though it's the home of the Grand Slam breakfast, Denny's isn't a team player when it comes to making their employees happy. The breakfast chain has a very long history that spans several decades regarding accusations of racial discrimination when it comes to customers, but employees of the South Carolina-based restaurant aren't treated well either.

According to Glassdoor, Denny's only has a 3.1 star rating with 51 percent of employees recommending to work there. Because it's a 24-hour restaurant, the major complaints from employees are long hours and little pay. Not only has Denny's suffered from high profile discrimination lawsuits brought on by customers, but they have been hit with employee class action lawsuits as well. In 2016 Denny's settled an overtime pay lawsuit for $950,000. That lawsuit alleged that the restaurant didn't give employees their allotted breaks or pay for those breaks that were missed, and that they failed to pay employees overtime rates for overtime hours worked each week. Doesn't exactly sound like a place you should hurry to apply to.


If you ask an employee at McDonald's if they're "lovin' it" when it comes to their job, you'll probably receive a snide remark. McDonald's is one of the largest employers in the world, yet the brand has a lot of work to do to shed its stigma around being a McJob. It's the first job for many young, inexperienced workers, but the fact is the majority of the labor force at McDonald's are not teenagers at all.

The fast food giant came under fire in 2013 for releasing a budget worksheet for their employees with unrealistic dollar figures like $0 for heat, $20 for health care, and no money set aside for clothing or even food. McDonald's also assumed their workers have other jobs — which you probably have to do to live on their wages. 

Despite the low pay, it's apparently not a great environment, either. A former employee and blogger at Unwritten said the hours given to her were unreasonable and that the smell, which she described as "a combination of spoiled milk, fried food, sweat, and maybe some tears," was unbearable.

Chuck E. Cheese's

If you've ever attended a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's, you can probably estimate the amount of Advil you'd need to get through a work day there. Out of over 1,000 reviews on Glassdoor, the place where "a kid can be a kid" only has a 3.2 star rating and 46 percent of employees would recommend working there.

According to an interview with a former employee published by Cracked, workers at Chuck E. Cheese's have to be vigilant at all times when it comes to child predators who frequently lurk outside of the restaurant and entertainment complex trying to lure kids.

It isn't just the pedophiles who make working at Chuck E. Cheese's difficult, it's the parents who get a little too rowdy. Chuck E. Cheese's does serve beer and sometimes parents have a little bit too much. In the interview the former employee described a scene right out of a reality show, "We were having a birthday party at the restaurant. Out of nowhere, the parents start yelling and throwing punches at each other and the entire family erupts in a fight. They knock over all the tables in the surrounding birthday rows with food and drinks flying everywhere. The cops were called, someone with a warrant was arrested, there was hair pulled out on the floor, it was a real mess. We were there until 1 a.m. scrubbing food out of the carpet."

If you're the lucky employee to wear the costume, you better stock up on Lysol, because it rarely gets washed — even when snot-nosed kids drool and spit up on it.

T.G.I. Friday's

Their tagline is, "In here it's always Friday," but employees at T.G.I. Friday's are always working for the weekend (unless of course they're scheduled to work then). If you've ever been there, you know they sing to customers on their birthdays — and there always seem to be a LOT of birthdays. From a customer's standpoint listening to, "I don't know, but I've been told! Someone here is getting old..." gets pretty old. It's hard to imagine singing it all day long. You know it's bad when the song was parodied in the 2005 comedy film, Waiting.

Not only does Friday's have a low 3.1 star rating on Glassdoor from over 1,000 employee reviews, but the chain was slapped with a lawsuit back in 2014 for violating labor laws. Friday's was accused of having tipped employees start their shifts before serving customers and staying after hours without receiving overtime pay. 

As an added blow, Friday's employees despised the chain's $10 endless appetizer promotion where customers would sit at a booth all day and stuff their face with mozzarella sticks — and then finally leave hours later leaving only a meager tip that aligns with their $10 check. Because it was such a hit with customers, Friday's decided to make it a permanent fixture on their menu.

Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse is a casual, budget-friendly, "down home" steakhouse chain known for giving out free peanuts in massive barrels. It's also louder than a Norwegian death metal concert inside. The CEO is proud that they're loud, but the atmosphere makes it difficult for servers to hear guests, runners, and cooks. Waitstaff are also required to drop everything and do a country line dance whenever a certain song comes on and wear shirts that say "I Love My Job" on the back of them.

The chain has a relatively high 3.8 rating on Glassdoor, but beware if you're a server of a certain age. Texas Roadhouse recently settled a massive $12 million lawsuit for discriminating against older employees.

Jack in the Box

This California-based chain has been slinging burgers since 1951, but after 66 years in the business you would think that the company who used to have awesome and cutting edge commercials in the '90s and '00s would learn a little something about treating employees well. Out of over 800 reviews on Glassdoor, Jack in the Box has a 3.2 star rating and only 48 percent of employees would recommend working there.

Employees hate Jack because of poor management, setting expectations too high, and dealing with drunk, dangerous, and unruly customers. Jack in the Box has been hit with multiple class action lawsuits including one in Oregon that they lost in 2016 regarding not compensating workers for overtime pay. Back in 2015, they were slammed with a class action lawsuit over the same reason, but in the state of California.