I worked at Wendy's for five years, and these are the most surprising things you probably didn’t know about the chain

I have a special place in my heart for fast food workers, because I was one for five years. My first job was as a crew member at Wendy's, and in my time there I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in the construction of your Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and much more.

To my pleasant surprise, I never witnessed anything disgusting or cringe-worthy while working there, and I still find it to be one of the only fast food restaurants I'm comfortable eating at. So, here's what you need to know, even if you didn't work at Wendy's.

While I can only speak to what I saw at my Wendy's location while I was working there, INSIDER has also reached out to Wendy's for comment: 

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Surprising things about Wendy's
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Surprising things about Wendy's

The meat is actually fresh, never frozen.

Well, the beef is. Where I worked, the chicken (grilled, homestyle, spicy, nugs) was delivered to the restaurant frozen, but the burger patties remained refrigerated at all times. So, the answer to the infamous question, "Where's the beef?" is definitely "in the cooler." 

Photo credit: Getty

They reduce food waste as much as possible.

When you think about the food waste that goes on in fast food, you have to appreciate this point. When burger patties are grilled, they're only servable for a certain amount of time — around 30 minutes — so when that time is up, it was my store's policy that the patties would go into a container where they are ground and stored to be used for Wendy's famous chili the following day.

Another fun food waste fact: the Frosty machine (the goblet that holds the magic chocolate deliciousness that is only 99 cents per small cup) at the Wendy's where I worked was emptied out and cleaned at the end of each night. We would place the excess Frosty mixture into a bucket and store it in the freezer overnight, only to be returned to the frosty machine the following morning. I know, the bucket thing sounds unsanitary and weird, but I can assure you it's all completely hygienic and conservative. 

Photo credit: Getty

There's nothing “fresh-squeezed” about their natural lemonade.

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 it calls for a ton of white sugar — like, a ton. So think about that the next time you go for a large. 

Photo credit: Getty

Their salads are actually fresh.

I am personally invested in the freshness of Wendy's salads because I spent too many mornings washing and chopping dozens of lettuce varieties and produce, and hand-prepping the batches needed for the day — Apple Pecan, Spicy Chicken Caesar, you name it — I can still recite the number of tomatoes that were to be placed in the bottom right hand corner of each. It was work, let me tell you. And, if there were ever any left over from the previous day, the Wendy's where I worked would throw them away. 

Photo credit: Getty

The employees are always listening.

This really goes for any fast food joint, and it's something anyone who has worked in fast food will tell you. When you pull up to the speaker in a drive thru lane, your car sets off a sensor that turns on the microphone. As long as your car is triggering that sensor, the external microphone stays on. So yeah, they can hear you talking to your mom on the phone, or complaining about the line in front of you. So be nice. 

Photo credit: Getty

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