5 Burger Chains With the Most Food Quality Complaints
If you're going to indulge in a burger, you want that burger to be the best, right? Unfortunately, there are fast-food chains that miss the mark on quality and lose even their most die-hard fans.
From thin, flavorless patties to chewy buns, ingredients make or break a dish. And the sad reality is that some burger chains are severely lacking in the food quality department. Here's the beef on what you need to know.
Jack in the Box
Late-night eats and greasy curly fries aren't the only things that Jack in the Box serves up to customers. Unfortunately, the burger chain has had a history of causing diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting after the consumption of its beef patties. In addition, Jack in the Box is known for one of the biggest outbreaks of E. Coli in all of fast food from 1992 to 1993, Food Safety News reports. After a long investigation, 73 locations were found to be responsible for over 700 people getting sick from the bacteria, ultimately leading to 171 hospitalizations and even 4 deaths.
Even though Jack in the Box tacos is a popular fan-fanatic order, selling 554 million tacos each year, the quality of the product is constantly in question. It was eventually found that the brand uses a meat blend of beef, chicken, and "textured vegetable protein," otherwise known as a soy-based ingredient that has a texture much like beef but is anything but, According to Your Vegan Journey.
"I get sick every time I eat here," one Tripadvisor reviewer explains. On the other hand, a Yelp reviewer simply put it, "Got sick shortly after eating. I will spare details. The health department needs to inspect this place. DON'T EAT HERE."
White Castle is famous for its appearance in the 2004 comedy Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. Still, it's also known for something a little less funny. The tiny square sliders have been known to cause stomach upset, intestinal discomfort, and diarrhea. Countless White Castle customers have posted their gut-wrenching experiences with the burger chain on iwaspoisoned.com. The consumer-led website designed for reporting lousy food experiences helps researchers to improve food safety.
On June 3, 2022, the White Castle page of the non-profit site read, "Eating food from White Castle can result in food poisoning. The restaurant chain recalled frozen sandwiches in 2019. Listeria is the most commonly reported diagnosis from White Castle, and diarrhea and nausea are the most commonly reported symptoms."
White Castle claims their patties are made from 100% beef, so theories exist as to why these tiny burgers cause such a stomach uproar. Popular Ask has an entire page dedicated to questions revolving around the chain's burgers. One thing to keep in mind: if you plan to nosh on White Castle, clear your afternoon, "just in case."
Complaints Department lists hundreds of concerns from disgruntled Sonic Drive-In customers, including burnt burger buns and overcooked, dry chicken. Poor customer service and soggy food also top the list. To confirm these complaints, a YouTube video posted by Babble Top lists the ten food items you should never order at Sonic Drive-In. Among the foods, they recorded the popcorn chicken as dry and under-seasoned, and the french fries were reported for their soggy and unappetizing flavor.
Daily Choices claims that a former Sonic employee said the chicken was often kept outside the fridge for several hours before being refrigerated. This is cause for concern, especially since the FDA states raw chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, Mashed posted a YouTube video sharing what ex-Sonic employees say you should never order at the burger joint. One of them claims that the ice cream comes in bags marked, "Ten-percent real ice cream." Those bags are emptied into an ice cream tank, and tanks are often not cleaned between uses, leaving old, rancid milk in the machine.
Burger King has been a runner-up in the fast-food world as the most popular burger chain after McDonald's. But the chain lost that seat to Wendy's in 2021. Burger King has seen its sales decline steadily in recent years and its customer fan base has been dwindling.
According to a study in 2020 by Rave Reviews, Burger King is one of the world's most hated fast-food brands, along with McDonald's and KFC. Business Insider also conducted a study of 3,000 readers to determine which fast-food restaurants consumers refused to visit and found that as many as 13% of them refused to eat at Burger King.
On Quora, a Burger King customer gave their opinion of the fast-food restaurant by saying, "I don't know what happened; by the early 2000s, they were crap. I recently gave them another try; the Whopper was a sloppy mess, tasting mainly of ketchupy mayo and soggy, limp fries. Pretty sad. Burger King should be ashamed of themselves; even McDonald's is better now."
These complaints, and Burger King's vain attempt to woo customers with fun and "dirty" marketing ploys such as the poop emoji ice cream and moldy Whopper ads, have worked against the company. Ace Metrix reported that the "Moldy Whopper" ad caused customers to crave the burger less. One customer said, "It was pretty gross. I appreciate no artificial stuff, but it is not an appetizing ad."
Burger King made an attempt in 2022 to boost sales and regain customer trust with the new Whopper Melt and Cheesy Breakfast Melts. However, The Washington Post stated in a negative review that the new sandwich bread is chewy.
In April, Dairy Queen launched its first new hot menu items in 20 years. The new Stackburgers, however, didn't exactly receive glowing reviews. Food site The Takeout blasted the sandwiches, saying they contain "lackluster cheese," dry beef that has a "manufactured aftertaste," and mediocre toppings. Just Food Reviews called the burger "just OK."
Business Insider's opinion of the fast-food restaurant was also less than flattering. The publication noted that Dairy Queen's burger patties tasted burnt, the buns were soggy, and the texture was "unsettling."
Complaints Board shows that Dairy Queen has hundreds of unresolved complaints, including some concerning food service and food poisoning.
One of the comments reads: "Well, to put it frankly, I will never ever go to Dairy Queen again!" The customer went on to say that he ordered a burger that tasted dry and is battling an upset stomach several hours after consuming it.
Maybe DQ should just stick to ice cream.
A version of this story was originally published in June 2022. It has been updated to include new information.