Mistakes Everyone Makes When Ordering Wendy's

Known for its freshly cooked burgers and creamy Frosty desserts, Wendy's is one of the most beloved fast food chains in the United States. Case in point: There are more than 5,800 locations in the country, and almost 400 locations in Canada. It's also the sixth most popular fast food chain in the United States, which is a pretty impressive feat considering how many fast food chains there are in the nation. Yet, despite the popularity of Wendy's, it's still common for people to make certain blunders when ordering at the restaurant.

Some of these mistakes affect the quality of your food. For example, did you know that certain times are best for ordering fresh food at Wendy's? What about the best techniques for getting the freshest fries or Frosty desserts? In other cases, the blunders can cost you actual money, which is always a bummer in our book. Fortunately, by avoiding these mistakes everyone makes when ordering Wendy's, you can improve your dining experience during your next fast food jaunt.

Not using the Wendy's app

There seems to be an app for everything these days, and Wendy's is no exception. That said, if you frequently dine at the fast food chain, sleeping on the Wendy's app could be costing you money and time. The app, which is available for both iPhone and Android, is packed with deals like $2 off any breakfast combo and $1 off fries of any size. Ordering via the app will score you some perks, too. For example, you can get deals like $4 off a mobile order. What's more, the Wendy's app periodically adds new offers, so you'll never run out of delicious deals.

Like other restaurant apps, the Wendy's app also has a rewards program. You earn 10 points for every $1 you spend, then redeem those points for free food. The app allows you to save customized orders as well, ensuring your go-to Wendy's meal is only a click and swipe away.

Ordering the chili

The chili might very well be one of the most popular menu items at Wendy's. However, if you're concerned about food safety, ordering the chili might not be in your best interest. As one former Wendy's grill cook on Reddit explains, the chili meat is actually made of unsold burgers from the previous day. "The beef was rinsed off, then put into a pot with water and boiled for like [two] hours," they say. Once soft, the beef was rinsed off yet again, then added to a pot with water, canned beans, vegetables, and spices.

Some people say that this is a smart way to reduce food waste and put leftover food to good use. Others also point out that the method doesn't ruin the final flavor, considering the chili is still delicious. However, if merely thinking about this cooking method makes you squeamish, you should never order the chili at Wendy's.

Ordering a Frosty before the lunch rush

Perfectly creamy and cold, the Frosty is one of the best fast food desserts. But if you're craving a cup before the lunch rush, you might want to hold that thought. According to a former Wendy's employee on Reddit, leftover Frosty mixture is poured into a bucket at the end of the night. The bucket is then stored in the refrigerator overnight, without a lid. And we can only imagine what is floating around in any refrigerator overnight.

By the next day, the leftover mixture is poured back into the Frosty machine to be served. This is all used up by the lunch rush, and a new mixture is placed into the machine. So, whether you're craving Frosty fries or eating the treat on its own, take a tip from the aforementioned Wendy's employee and order a Frosty after lunch. This way, you'll get the fresh stuff that hasn't been exposed to the insides of the refrigerator.

Not asking for fresh fries

The fries at Wendy's can sit for hours, making them limp and sad. But luckily, if you're forward (and polite), you can get freshly cooked fries by simply asking. A former Wendy's employee on Reddit shares that, if you specifically request fresh fries, the employees will make you a fresh batch. Another Wendy's employee and Reddit user notes that you can also get new fries if you ask for fries without salt. That's because the fries in the fryer are already salted, so unsalted fries would need to be made fresh.

But wait — what if you do want salt on your fries? Ask for fries without salt anyway, because you can always grab a few salt packets and add the salt to your liking. (Or, if you're eating the meal at home, add salt from your own shaker.) In either case, avoiding this mistake everyone makes at Wendy's can significantly improve the taste and quality of your meal.

Not asking for fresh patties if your meat is too dry

Wendy's is known for making their meat fresh, rather than frozen. Still, if that meat stays on the grill for too long, it will eventually dry out. And if one of those meat patties ends up in your sandwich? Don't let it ruin your meal — you're more than welcome to approach the employees, explain the situation, and ask for a fresh one. After all, as a Wendy's employee on Reddit shares, "If your meat [is] a little dry, we'll cook you fresh patties." Who knew?

Think of it this way: All too often, many of us deal with a subpar meal out of fear of being "that person." But when it comes to dried meat at Wendy's, there's no reason you should settle when it's possible to fix the issue. This applies to both chicken and beef patties, so don't hesitate to approach the employees if you experience this problem.

Not ordering fresh meat in general

If you want to avoid getting dried meat in the first place, you should (and can) ask for fresh meat when you order. There are just a few caveats, though. As one Wendy's employee and Reddit user states, "Our store didn't mind making fresh meat for customers as long as it wasn't lunch time." Otherwise, your meat "likely won't be made well," thanks to the influx of orders during this time.

You'll also have to wait a bit for the fresh meat to be cooked. According to the Wendy's employee, grilled chicken usually takes 12 minutes to make, while spicy and regular chicken takes about eight minutes. Wings take six minutes, nuggets take four and a half minutes, and fries take three minutes. As for beef? The junior size takes 45 seconds, while the quarter pounder takes a minute and 15 seconds. That said, if you don't mind waiting, you can use these waiting times as a guide for planning your next Wendy's trip.

Not ordering a side of melted cheese if you want a cheesy meal

Cheese lovers, this one's for you. If you haven't been ordering Wendy's cheddar sauce on the side, you're making a mistake everyone makes when ordering Wendy's. Yes, that's right — the creamy cheese sauce, which is served in dishes like Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries and Bacon Cheese Baked Potato, can be ordered separately and on its own. This is ideal if you prefer to dip your fries into melted cheese, rather than eating fries smothered in it. Likewise, you can dip other foods like chicken nuggets into the cheese, or pour it onto your favorite sandwich. Anything goes when it comes to cheese sauce.

As one Reddit user shares, "Not an employee, but I have never, ever come across a person outside of my family (who has been doing it for years) that knows you can order a cup of melted cheese at both Wendy's and Arby's and dip your fries, nuggets, whatever in it." It's a gamechanger, to say the least.

Not asking for a combo when adding value-sized items

If you're adding value-sized items to your meal, be sure to ask for a combo. Otherwise, you could be missing out some serious savings. "At Wendy's, we can turn any sandwich or nugget into a combo except the Jr. Hamburger or Cheeseburger," explains a Wendy's employee and Reddit user. (The exception is the Jr. Deluxe, which can be turned into a combo.) 

Basically, if you're ordering any random combination of a sandwich or nuggets, side item, and a Frosty or beverage — including parfaits and shakes — your meal can be made into a combo, even if one of those things is value sized. "You will save money, and if anything value-sized was included, it will be upsized to a small, pretty much free of charge," says the employee. This is definitely worth keeping in mind, especially if you like curating your own meals instead of ordering pre-determined combos off the menu.

Ordering a Frosty without two cookies

Aside from ordering a Frosty after the lunch rush, it's also a good idea to buy a Frosty with two cookies. That's because the combo can be transformed into a deliciously easy ice cream sandwich, as demonstrated by TikTok user @jaffryk.ward. In a TikTok video, they show how to pour a Frosty between two Chocolate Chunk Cookies, resulting in an instant sweet treat. And depending on what's available at your local Wendy's restaurant, you can also try this trick with the Sugar Cookies, or even one of each — because why not?

Admittedly, given the softer texture of the Frosty, you'll have to eat the ice cream sandwich quickly. This is especially important if you're trying this hack on a particularly warm day. Still, if you're craving an inexpensive and quick dessert, ordering a Frosty with two cookies is one of the smartest things you can do at Wendy's.

Ordering when it's very slow

We've talked about the downsides of ordering fresh meat during the lunch rush. Does that mean you should order when it's super slow instead? Not quite. According to a former Wendy's employee on Reddit, "Peak hour was the best time to order. All stations were manned by the fastest and most experienced employees during the lunch rush. We'd be running that place like a machine. Fresh food was constantly being made and sold so everything was straight out of the fryer or fresh off the grill, and it was rare to have a customer wait over two minutes."

Translation: The food isn't the freshest during the slower hours. Avoid ordering when it's very slow, unless you're willing to ask and wait for fresh meat and/or fries, as mentioned earlier. But if you don't want to specifically ask for fresh food, ordering during peak hours is best for getting fresh food by default.

Not getting your Wendy's order delivered

Long gone are the days of just getting pizza or pad thai delivered. In recent years, fast food restaurants like Wendy's have joined the delivery scene, which means you can get your meal delivered even if you can't visit the restaurant. This can be a gamechanger, whether you're having a particularly busy day or lacking a mode of transportation. What's more, Wendy's offers delivery via several apps — including UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, and GrubHub — making it easy to order your favorite combo from your favorite platform.

However, keep in mind that orders through third-party apps won't earn you reward points. To make sure your order counts earns rewards, be sure to order via the Wendy's app or website. Plus, doing so means you can take advantage of those special app-only deals we mentioned earlier. But in case you still want to use a third-party delivery app (or if you have a gift card for one), at least you'll have some options.

Asking for well-done burgers

If you're all about well-done burgers, you'll want to avoid ordering them at Wendy's. According to a Wendy's employee and Reddit user, all beef patties at the fast food chain are already cooked well-done. So, if you request a well-done burger, the sandwich maker might "put an extra dried out patty that was taken off the line on your sandwich," explains the employee. It goes without saying that this can make for an unappealing sandwich.

Something tells us this could still happen even if you asked for a freshly cooked burger, too. Again, all beef patties are normally cooked well-done, so requesting a well-done version might result in an overcooked burger. If you're very particular about your burgers and beef in general, consider ordering a chicken sandwich at Wendy's to avoid the issue altogether. Otherwise, if you've already left the restaurant, you can try saving the dried burger with your favorite condiments.

Ordering a 'plain' sandwich if you don't want cheese

You already know that you can order a side of cheese sauce for an extra-cheesy meal. But if you want to actually skip the cheese, avoid asking for a "plain" sandwich. It's one of the most common mistakes everyone makes when ordering Wendy's. According to the Reddit user who offered so many other tips about ordering at Wendy's, a "plain" sandwich is one that automatically includes cheese. So, if you don't want cheese due to an allergy, intolerance, or preference, you will need to specifically say "no cheese" when placing your order.

Besides, the term "plain" can mean different things for different people and restaurants, so it doesn't hurt to be as specific as possible. The same goes if you want to omit any other sandwich ingredients, such as mayonnaise, lettuce, or tomato. When in doubt, explicitly state what you want on the sandwich, especially if something like an allergy or intolerance is at stake. This way, you can make sure your meal is safe to eat.