Discussion: Mistakes in Fast Food

Mistakes in fast food can come in many forms.  Whether it be the wrong order that you don’t realize until you’re driving away from the drive-thru window or getting incorrect change, it’s not an unusual occurance.  One time I ordered a chicken sandwich and got a burger patty in place of the chicken.  I get really excited if I come across a fast food place that misspelled something in their attempts to lure you in for the latest new menu item… caught the beauty you see below just this afternoon.Taco Bell MarqueeWhen the marquee misspelling catches my eye, I must get a picture to add to my collection.  So this brings up a good discussion topic… mistakes in the fast food world.  What are some issues that you’ve come across?  In your personal experience, which restaurant makes the most mistakes?  Have you seen any funny misspellings in a fast food marquee?  Let’s discuss!

46 comments on “Discussion: Mistakes in Fast Food

  1. Roger says:

    Wendy’s seems to have zero understanding of the concept of “No tomato”

    • drpep says:

      Or cheese. I lost track of how many times over the years I asked for no cheese but received it anyways.

  2. Steven T says:

    Long ago I ordered a Big Mac and it only had one beef patty in it instead of two. I really don’t know how you can miss that. As long as I don’t make any special orders the food will usually be fine. But even making one change such as no cheese will result in a 50/50 accuracy no matter the chain.

  3. M86 says:

    I’ve seen a few spelling mistakes on signage from time to time, but I can’t think of any that really stood out.

    As for food mistakes, Sonic is the absolute worst for me. I can’t think of the last time I’ve eaten there without something being messed up. The food is wrong, I’m overcharged, etc… And it isn’t just confined to one location.

    • jeremy says:

      Have you ever seen the shorthand codes on their receipts? They’re rather hard to decode. I’m sure the person taking the order gets it right, but it prints to the cooks and its in Greek. As for the overcharging, it may be related to their confusing shorthand

    • Jordan says:

      I had a bad experience at Sonic last week too. They got my burger right, but I wanted to try the new PB Fudge milkshake, and ordered it with no whipped cream/cherry. The first shake that came out was strawberry banana (and it was input that way on my receipt. I have no idea how she heard strawberyy banana when I said peanut butter fudge).

      We sent back the first milkshake and ordered the right shake again. The car hop came out and as soon as she got up to our car was like “oh, you wanted no topping, I’ll make it again”. The third shake we got was no topping and looked correct, but after tasting and looking at it I ralized it was just a PB shake and not PB fudge. I gave up at that point but I still really want to try the PB fudge.

  4. Ann S. says:

    I would love to know how “no pickles” turns into “extra mayo, no tomato”. That happened to me at BK more than a couple of times.

    Five guys, for awhile, could never remember to put grilled onions on my burger. There would either be no onions, or raw onion… and once, grilled mushrooms. Never mind that the receipt was correct.

    …and then there was the time there were aphids in my salad, but that was at a Carrows and not a fast food joint, and I sent it back. Of course, they gave me back the exact same salad, rinsed a little, and aphids still present.

  5. Manavee says:

    I’m not sure this counts as a mistake per se, but it always has bothered me that at all of the Dunkin Donuts in my area, 5 donut holes cost 99 cents. However, 25 donut holes costs between $5.25 and $5.50 depending on the store. I once insisted on getting 5 5s (rather than 25) donut holes. The employees there loved me, I bet.

    To answer your question: the obvious “winner” of fast food mistakes is Burger King. I honestly think it’s the rule there to get something screwed up in your order rather than the exception.

  6. ezreal says:

    Back when I had immature taste buds I would get McDonalds burgers with only ketchup on them.

    One time I received I bun with ketchup on it. THATS IT. No meat, no cheese, just the bun with nothing else but ketchup.

  7. RT says:

    Once, when I was six or so, my dad took me to Wendy’s and ordered me a “plain” hamburger. I opened the wrapper to discover two buns and nothing else.
    All in all, though, the most frequent fast-food mistakes I’ve experienced were at the Starbucks drive-thru. I realize they have little time to make tons of specific drinks, but when you pay about 5 (or more!) bucks for a drink, you’d at think they could manage to
    1) wipe off any liquid visibly dripping from the cup (this happens every other time I go)
    2) Make the light version of the drink if I ordered it light

  8. jeremy says:

    There was an epidemic of “Anus Burger” signs when thoseAngus first became the ‘it’ thing.
    The one that upset me was a while back at a McDonald’s. I was going to try some new “premium” chicken sandwich they had. They gave me the right bun, toppings, etc. but they replace the upgraded chicken patty with a $1 McChicken patty (likely out of laziness seeing as I waited for-ev-er in the line to get my food). It was late at night, so only the drive-thru was open and the line made it impossible to get it fixed.
    I wrote an e-mail to the franchisee listed on the receipt, got an apology and 2-3 cards for any free value meal I wanted. So that was good.

  9. JF says:

    I may just be real lucky, but I have had very few (only three I can remember) experiences where I did not get what I ordered.

    One was at McDonalds. I forgot what I ordered, but got a fish sandwich (ordered through the drive through). Since they were real close went back after I got home and saw the mistake, told them, and they gave me the proper order. The odd part was the fries were correct, and the right size, but they threw them out and gave me fresh ones. So props for that – correcting the order and giving me fresh fries (and I am sure the original fries were still good).

    The next was an order at Jersey Mikes. I ordered the club, which should have had bacon, but didn’t. Was too far away to warrant driving back, so I ate that one (so to speak).

    The only other one I can remember was ordering a deal from Blackjack Pizza (I think they are only in CO) and it should have had cheesy bread. It was a home delivery, but the bread was not there. But there was enough food that I didn’t miss it. I did mention it the next time I ordered and they knocked $5 off my order (their CB was only around $3).

    So I have done well in that respect, and the two times I actioned on it, was taken care of.

    I now remember a 4th. It was a Taco Bell order and there was a Meximelt in my bag (didn’t order one, and I got everything else I ordered, so that was a score).

    Overall my experiences have been great with FF and aside from a few mistakes, overall has been great. Now if you were asking about food being too cold, etc. that’s a whole different story.

    Again, I guess I may be real lucky, but I think in most cases, it is pretty easy to construct what has been ordered and hard to mix the up.

  10. Anne Sutton says:

    Way back in the 80s my family was eating at a (now gone) Hardee’s in Manteo, North Carolina. My mom ordered a hot dog (when it was still a menu item). She ate about half then realized something was off. The workers had left the plastic wrap around the hot dog. That was a really bad digestion experience according to mom! And I was in a McDonald’s in Kill Devil Hills, NC (which is still there). They often hire foreign summer workers. The female employee actually asked ME how to make a hot fudge sundae when I ordered one… and I was the customer!

  11. Kenneth says:

    McDonald’s have definitely been the prime source of mistakes for me and fast food. One time I asked for a plain cheeseburger…they gave me two buns and a slice of cheese (no burger). Most recent mistake was in March when I asked for a Shamrock Shake only to get a Vanilla Shake. However, there have been times they’ve screwed up to my benefit. Two or three times I’d simply order the Chicken Selects meal and they’d charge me for three pieces when I got five (the boxes would even say three). Score!

  12. Jam says:

    I tend to check my fast food orders unless there’s a big line behind me, because it’s beyond asinine to become angry at a bunch of listless, overworked teenagers making minimum wage over not handling my prissy little custom order on top of often hundreds of orders per day with perfect precision every time.

  13. Scrape says:

    A chinese takeout place near me had new menus printed and one fairly drastic attack of spell check was not caught. Every instance of what was supposed to be the word ‘Hunan’ was replaced with the very similar ‘Human’. So, how does one bring themsleves to order ‘Human Beef?’

  14. Esther says:

    There’s a TB in my area that put something on its marquee as being .89 cents instead of $.89 or just 89 cents. It was before I moved here, so I didn’t get to take advantage of it, but from what I’ve heard, they refused to honor the advertised price and never got around to changing the sign to reflect the correct price until they changed it entirely for the next promotion.

  15. David says:

    Typically Taco Bell is really the worst in Michigan when it comes to screwing up orders, but the worst came when I was a kid on Halloween. We ordered two pizzas from Pizza Hut with pepperoni on them, and we picked them up, brought them home and realized there didn’t put any cheese on them. Had pepperoni and sauce, but no cheese. How does one do that with pizza?

  16. Someone says:

    McDonald’s once forgot to put chicken in my Southern-Style Chicken Sandwich. That got me a free meal card…

    As far as consistently bad service? Checkers by a landslide.

  17. Mikey F Baby says:

    Frisch’s was advertising a steak burger, but they had spelled it “Steak Buger”, which in my mind read Steak Booger. I thought it was hilarious, but my kid…not so much.

  18. TJ says:

    The first few comments on here pointed out the 2 chains I’ve had the most problems with, Wendy’s and Sonic… which is weird because I think they’re above average when it comes to general quality, but for some reason a simple request usually gets messed up to the point i wish i had just ordered the item standard.

  19. Colin says:

    I always order my tacos “supreme” at Taco Bell (meaning put sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes on it). It cost’s extra and I would say 7 out of 10 times they charge me for it and don’t put the extra stuff on. It’s not just my 2 or 3 local stores, it’s every Taco Bell I’ve ever been to all over the US.

  20. MP says:

    My KFC/Taco Bell, by far, is the worst for inaccuracy. They’ve missed tacos, put wrong Snackers, have received the completely wrong items numerous times. The hot sauces I’ll forgive because it’s not a big deal but they almost routinely give the wrong one. Many Volcano Tacos will not have lava sauce or will be real cheap with it. Specialty items always have much more meat & chicken when it comes out & evolves with less over time. The more items you order, the more you’re playing with fire. I’d almost rather make 2 small trips. Wrong change has also been a big problem. Dual stores is just a terrible idea.

  21. MP says:

    Wendy’s has remarkably been accurate for me & most oft visited. I’d say once every 50 trips there’s a mistake, like missing chili crackers or missing a whole value burger. Never gave me problems when I said I’m missing a burger.
    It’s been a decade since McDonald’s but Filet-o-Fish itself was horrid in consistency, in breading, tartar sauce, cheese slice & salty seasoning. Burgers & fries temperature always greatly varied & it was more bad than good. I finally had enough.
    One time at Arby’s when I was a teenager, they screwed us over in the drive-thru after I gave them a $20 & they gave me change for a $10. Now always say “20” or avoid paying with them. Once had a problem like that at a Burger King; also charged for water & extras without telling. quit going to that location. Had Stackers with missing cheese, bacon or sauce.
    Surprised White Castle never gave me the wrong order for Sliders.

  22. Steven says:



    I ordered an Angus Mushroom & Swiss (may that yummy sandwich rest in peace) with added slivered onions and bacon. What I received was this. Not only was it the wrong cheese, but there was also no mushrooms or bacon. The kicker was the small, regular hamburger patty added on top. I got home and opened that up and was beyond confused. I put it in the refrigerator and took it back to McDonald’s the next day. I asked for a manager and showed them the creation. They scratched their head and refunded my money and gave me the correct sandwich as well.

  23. graciHas says:

    I tend to not make custom orders because I’m not very picky but also because I don’t want to deal with mistakes I know that I probably won’t notice until it’s too late. That would bother me more. For the most part though, my late night drive thru orders are as I ordered them. The only recent thing I can think of, which is not really a mistake, but the spicy chicken from Wendy’s was inedible because it was just super tough and almost like cartilage. Also, one night at Wendy’s the manager seemed new and gave me my food and shut the drive thru window before I even paid. I could have easily driven away but like 10 seconds later he realized he forgot to collect and came back to the window because he saw I was still sitting there in shock lol

  24. rob says:

    Once when we were having bad hurricane seasons here in Florida I was driving home from picking up cases of water etc. when I thought “What the hell” and went through the McDonald’s drive-thru for a breakfast sandwich combo.

    Paid my $3.49 or whatever, went to the next window and got presented with the biggest McDonald’s bag I have ever seen, weighed several pounds. Didn’t check it but when I got home it contained 6 breakfast sandwiches and 12 hash browns.

    I felt a tiny bit bad about having driven away with all that food, but they have messed up my order plenty of times, and we did have a hurricane threatening us, so I figure me and McDonald’s are even.

  25. AK says:

    The best for accuracy around here is oddly Taco Bell. They’re even pretty good with custom items. I’ve had more cases of them screwing up in my favor (extra tacos usually) than negative screwups.

  26. TheHotToddy23 says:

    I absolutely despise Burger King’s original chicken sandwich, and despise the “Italian” chicken sandwich even more (had it once a LONG time ago… barf!) I don’t often eat at BK as it more or less sucks and I tend to avoid fast food altogether to stay in decent shape (I do love it, though, I admit).

    Anyhow, about a year ago I notice the italian chicken promo as I was driving up to order at the drive-thru and literally said aloud “nasty s***” and ordered a Whopper, fries and drink. I only ate there because that was the only choice, I was starved and at that point was in no mood to look around for anything else (had been a long road trip). So after ordering, paying and then receiving my food I start to drive away. I ate the fries first (always do that) then reached for the sandwich and thought something seemed off. Well, wouldn’t you freakin’ know it they gave me that dang italian chicken sandwich instead of the Whopper. W T F. I said nothing about it when I ordered and have zero clue how it ended up in my bag but it sure did. I was pretty livid over it (okay, as livid as one can get over BK and fast food) but now it is just funny. Needless to say I’ll avoid the King for a LOOOOONG time.

  27. Stephen Z. says:

    It’s funny I read this post yesterday and didn’t have anything that stood out as far as mistakes. Then I went to Wendy’s and ordered the double pretzel burger sandwich only, ended up getting a medium fry too! Probably felt guilty charging almost $7 for a sandwich lol. Just got back from McDonald’s and ordered two McDoubles with no pickles, I get home, see the tags on the burgers “no pickles”, sure enough there was pickles. But I’m not one to go and complain unless it was a problem. As far as signs go, my friends once changed an Oberweis sign to read “now hiring ass managers”, still have the picture.

  28. Butcher Chops says:

    The best misspelling I’ve ever seen was at a Taco Bell near where I lived in high school. The sign read “NOW HIRING CLOSERS” but the “C” either fell off or someone removed it so the sign said “NOW HIRING LOSERS”. The funny thing was that the sign stayed that way for almost a week before someone fixed it.

  29. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Ordered a burger at Wendy’s with no onions and just got some buns with ketchup inbetween. On the flip side, was at McDonalds not too long ago and ordered 3 of the cheddar onion burgers and two small fries and we ended up getting 6 burgers and four fries for the original price.

  30. Libby says:

    Just this past week Wendy’s screwed up an order for lunch for 3 people. Each person had something messed up. (1) No order of chicken nuggets. (2) Sweet tea instead of unsweetened. (2) Classic grill chicken sandwich as usually made instead of no honey mustard, add mayo.

  31. Dlo says:

    Ordered a cheeseburger at McDonald’s once and it didn’t come with the meat disc. Went back around drive thru and they refused to take it back saying I was making it up.

  32. John Dunn says:

    For me when I go to fast food places, it is almost always because I want something very specific. Therefore there is nothing that upsets me more with fast food than when they are out of something or can not make something. I never go at odd times so they should be stocked. Mostly since I love McDonalds IceCream their machine seems to be down at many locations quite a bit. Burger King has also been out of cones quite a few times during their 50 cent promotion

    Also, I don’t go to burger king much but when I do I usually get a Whopper but sub the meat patty for a veggie patty and ask for no mayo. After getting through the confusion that I want a veggie patty but everything else with the whopper and not the “veggie burger” (they need to yell this to the kitchen because apparently there is no substitue patty button) Almost always I get my burger and there is mayo. By this point I just say what the hell and scrape it off which usually results in scraping lettuce too, but what the heck

  33. onetwothree says:

    Was on a business trip and at lunch someone said we should order from Chipotle. (Never heard of it at the time.) So I looked at the menu and ordered a burrito bowl with no guacamole. I hate guacamole. Someone goes to make the order. When it arrived it was like a damn guacamole soup with some chicken and beans floating in it. I don’t think it was a “mistake” as such.

  34. Ben_G says:

    I believes that 99% of all sandwiches, fast food or otherwise, should consist of meat, cheese, and bread only. With that in mind, you can imagine a lifetime’s worth of complaints and screwed up orders. Plus I always wonder how much fast food places owe me for all my years of patronage, considering that I pay the same amount for less food. We desperately need a chain in the US like Harvey’s in Canada, where you tell them what to add to a basic, plain burger, rather than telling them what to take off or hold.

    • Jay Melo says:

      Hallelujah! I’m not the only Meat-cheese-bread person out there. When I was a kid all the places would freak out if you asked for a special order. Now days most places get it right the first time. They even have a button for plain on the registers. But sometimes I still have to say meat-cheese-bread when they don’t understand what plain means. Rally’s has to be the worst about that. After 3 times of ordering plain and getting a burger with mayo and lettuce I had to start telling them meat-cheese-bread. When I complained, again, the girl said to me, “plain means lettuce and mayo”. I have never heard that one before.

    • cman says:

      No veggies on your Burger/sandwiches? You must be one of those picky lard asses aren’t ya?? Leave the butter, Mayo and most sauces off, add EXTRA veggies and I promise your ass and waist will shrink.

  35. Lancaster says:

    Not fast food, but one time I ordered a large sausage pizza from a local grinder-and-pizza joint named Zerio’s (Cromwell, CT). A red flag should have gone up with the girl asked me over the phone “Do you want hot peppers with that?” Puzzled, I said no, and then went to pick up my… sausage grinder. I clarified the order, left, came back, and was then asked, “If we give you this sausage grinder anyway, will you eat it?”
    What was I gonna say, no?

  36. MR says:

    The biggest and longest running fast food mistake of all time is…………(TaDa) , The McRib.

  37. Rowan says:

    McDonald’s drive thrus are the worst when it comes to taking orders for newer items, even if they are clearly displayed on the menu or on a special sign. They get really confused like I ordered something foreign, I’m guessing they don’t inform everyone who works there when the menu changes. I once tried to order a large Caramel Mocha and the lady on the other end repeated my order as a “medium mocha frappe.” At a different location I once tried to order one of the steak breakfast burritos when they first came out (they were displayed on the menu and everything) and she got super confused and asked if I meant 2 sausage burritos.

  38. Mark says:

    You don’t talk about the Mcrib like that…

  39. Thistle says:

    I ordered a McGriddle at McDonalds, and instead of the egg patty, somehow they used a sausage. So it was sausage, bacon, and cheese on the pancake buns. Best breakfast sandwich I ever had.

  40. […] and my local Taco Bell has a sign of things to come… “BREAKFAST COMING SOON”.  I usually keep my eye on this sign for spelling mistakes, but I felt this one was worthy to share (and not just for the backwards “N”s).  I […]

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