So last night, I found my cupboards bare and my stomach rumbling. I decided to take the easy way out and get some fast food. While at this establishment (to be revealed later), something struck me as I looked around the room- everyone was dressed horribly. Like, social-life-killing horribly. And no one cared. It got me wondering- which fast food place has the worst dressed customers? I knew it needed a full investigation. To put together these rankings I took everything into effect, but the most important factors are average level of dress during busy times, price and quality of the food (it matters, as we’ll find out), and any intangibles that are specific to one restaurant only. Going in ascending (or maybe it’s descending?) order, saving the best for last. If you disagree with any of this, odds are you’ve never been to a fast food place before. I’m not including any of the weird Southern-only chains like Bojangles or Cook-Out or Whataburger or Zaxby’s because I don’t support anything that clings to the vestiges of a divided United States (/I’ve never been but would really like to). Sorry not sorry. Besides, they probably wouldn’t do too great on these rankings, anyway.
(Side rant before we get going: they’ve been doing nonstop road work on one of the streets near me that leads to a lot of different fast food places, and it’s getting really annoying. Mostly because they’ve exposed a million manhole covers. Literally every two feet there’s another thick manhole surrounded by a deep gully. They’re in the middle of the street and almost impossible to avoid when there’s traffic going the other way. It’s turned my suspension into spaghetti. I know the city’s not going to pay for it when the Grim Reaper finally comes for my tires. They’ve been there for over a year! Clearly they aren’t doing any work on them anymore. How long does is take to just dump some asphalt on it? This isn’t rocket surgery, just fix it already! End of rant.)
I know I said I didn’t want to include regional chains, but In-N-Out is too big to ignore. It’s pretty much it’s own religion. People make sacred pilgrimages from all across the globe. People get married there. I’ve never had it. It’s my white whale, my raison d’être, if you will. When I go for the first time, you better believe I’ll be in my Sunday Best. Add in the Cali Bros and Valley Girls that go there regularly and In-N-Out doesn’t even register on the scale.
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I heard somewhere that young people spend more money at Chick-fil-A than any other chain restaurant. Young People would rather be dead than go anywhere looking like a slob. Me going in gym shorts a few times can’t counteract that. Nothing can subtract too much from the power of Young People, but actually loses points for not being open on Sunday, since you know people wouldn’t hesitate going straight from church and getting some of that luscious Chick-fil-A sauce all over their best coat.
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I went back and forth on whether or not to include some of the “fast-casual” places like Panera, Chipotle, Shake Shack, etc. In the end, I decided against it. But, and this is a big ol’ but, Paneras have drive-thrus. My hands are tied- if you have a drive-thru, you’re in the rankings. Panera should consider itself lucky, too. Probably the most consistently well-dressed place out there. Only knock is that I always see people coming there after a workout in their sweaty gym clothes.
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Despite my best efforts, McDonald’s is just too corporate. People go on their lunch breaks from real jobs. People go after school. According to their commercials, you go there to be seen. And, most importantly, it’s the place to go when you’ve had too many beverages, so half the time you’re dressed up when you go. It’s also the go-to place the morning after when you look horrible, and there’s still some other brave souls out there going to Mickey D’s in sweats, so they don’t get the perfect rating they crave so much.
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I came close to making two different Sonics, but I decided on one. My experiences in Sonic’s dining room have actually been very pleasant. It looks a lot like Chick-fil-A: plenty of people wearing hip clothes. I’ve even worn real clothes (jeans) there before. But Sonic is more than just a dining room. In fact, the dining room is secondary to the drive-in. And the drive-in are too much of a mystery to accurately gauge. I don’t know what people are wearing in their cars. I don’t know if they’re even wearing clothes at all. But I know they aren’t particularly well-dressed, because otherwise they’d be inside.
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I don’t usually consider Subway to have a particularly well-dressed following, but there’s just so many locations they’re bound to draw the occasional professional-looking customer. Subways are everywhere- in malls, on college campuses, in nice neighborhoods, in bad neighborhoods. If you turn your head, you’ll see a Subway close by. Considering the diverse range of people, they would serve as a bit of a baseline, but I’ve never seen the type of critter that frequent the lower ranking places in a Subway
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I’ll be totally honest: I’ve never been to these places. My impression of them is shaped only by commercials, not by personal experience. So, I’ll make them the baseline. Maybe the average Carl’s Jr. looks like a GQ photoshoot. Maybe Jack-in-the-Box is the second worst (nothing can dethrone number one). Out of respect for the game, I can’t give them any other rating.
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I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve been in a Taco Bell before, and half the time it’s a pretty ugly scene.” That’s true. Very true, in fact. Half the time, Taco Bell is pretty bad. But what about the other half? TB is a mall staple, and unless you write for the internet’s hottest website (www.briansden69.com), you don’t go to the mall looking like crap. Taco Bell is also the crown prince of the dunk food throne, meaning they get plenty of late night business from people who chose their clothes with the intent of looking nice, not being comfortable. Strange concept, but works in the Bell’s favor.
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I don’t particularly like Arby’s food, but I won’t let that stop me from being objective. I haven’t seen too many stand-alone Arby’s, and I’ve only been inside of one, and it wasn’t a particularly pretty scene. But it wasn’t a disaster. Their biggest advantage is that they’re often in malls or airports and things of that nature, and, as previously discussed, those places don’t usually have the true slobs.
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The best thing Popeye’s has going for it is that it’s not the lower ranking places. You’ll find all of the telltale signs: sweatpants, unseasonal jackets, dirty shoes, but there’s a certain civility still present. It’s bad, but it’s not that bad. It’s close enough to the edge to stare down into the abyss, but something keeps it from diving in. It mostly has these next few to thank for that.
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As hard as it is these days, I still consider myself a Burger King guy. I have such fond memories of it that I refuse to acknowledge it’s sharp decline. I even still enjoy some of their menu items. But Burger King is trash, and the average BK dining room reflects that. Here’s where you start to see people that don’t have the best personal hygiene. There’s plenty of Kmart-chique. Might be some holes in the clothing. Definitely the type to make a scene and ask to speak to a manager. I guess that’s what charging $1 for 20 chicken nuggets will attract.
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The first time I went inside a Little Caesars was my true loss of innocence. I had obviously been exposed to fast food outfits before, but seeing what lay inside Little Caesars truly shocked me. The stained sweatpants. The body odor. The dental issues. Little Caesars has everything you’d expect from a place with $5 pizzas. It’s a true hell-hole, but it’s somehow not the worst. Bring children at your own risk.
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In a vacuum, the outfits you’ll find at Wendy’s are virtually indistinguishable from the ones you’ll find at Burger King. It’s the same Wal-Mart 2 for $10 graphic t-shirts, the baggy jeans, the Avia shoes. But the fact that Wendy’s is the undisputed king of the Big 3 (McD, BK, Wendy’s) brings their rating way down. The customers are an insult to the food. Not to be an elitist snob, but coming to Wendy’s dressed like a homeless person should get you kicked out. You shouldn’t be served. You should have to submit some kind of proof that you’ve showered in the last 48 hours if you want Wendy’s. All these dirty scoundrels just bring down what should be an enjoyable dining experience. I turn my nose up the Wendy’s patrons, whether that makes me a bad person or not.
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The mystery restaurant that inspired this blog. If you didn’t see KFC coming as number one, I don’t know what to tell you. If this starts even a bit of controversy I guess there’s a lot of people out there who have never entered a Kentucky Fried Chicken. The people at KFC are a different breed. And that includes myself. If my friends saw some of the things I’ve worn to KFC they’d never look at me again. Some of my worst, oldest, most stain-filled clothes can’t even make me the worst dressed, though, because the creatures that crawl out of the barrels of grease in KFC are truly something else. Imagine the worst thing you’ve ever seen someone wear, rip a million holes in it, add some prominent stains, some of the greasiest, most matted hair in human history, some very cheap and very worn out shoes, then make everything a size or two too big. Once you add the confrontational attitudes and indecipherable white-trash accent and you’ve got a special species of “human” that can only be found here. I hardly ever go to KFC, but when I do, I usually sit in the car for a few seconds considering whether or not I truly want to go in and face the crowd that awaits me. If I ever went to a KFC in a high end neighborhood (if they even exist), I think even the millionaires would be wearing some cheap $50 sweats. It’s just something about KFC that draws the worst out of people’s wardrobes. And I don’t think anything could ever change that.
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