June 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM ET
What goes on behind the scenes of a fast food restaurant used to be something left to the imagination — you might've suspected that burger you sent back was at risk of being messed with, but you never really had to face the reality of that fear. The Internet, as with so many things, has changed all that.
The latest photographic evidence of fast food employees behaving badly comes from a Redditor who posted an image of a Wendy’s employee devouring ice cream straight from the nozzle. (Because who needs cups, right?) The poster wrote, “I was going to buy a Frosty from Wendy’s until I saw the employee do this.”
As is usually the case with these viral debacles, all did not end well for the employee in question.
“The photo isn’t funny to us. This incident is totally inexcusable, and we’re taking it very seriously,” a Wendy’s spokesperson told NBC News. “It involves one restaurant and the employee is no longer there. We’re reinforcing proper procedures with the entire restaurant team.”
Al Roker, however, wasn't so disturbed by the food flub: “Let’s face it, if you could do it, wouldn't you?” he said with a chuckle on TODAY. “You eliminate the cup. It’s great for the environment.”
The soft serve-to-the-mouth incident is just the latest in a string of fast food photo scandals. Many, unfortunately, involve tongues. There’s the California Taco Bell employee who was photographed licking a stack of taco shells last March. While Taco Bell insists the shells were only being used in training and “were in the process of being thrown out,” that didn't spare the young man from getting the axe.
“We have strict food handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations,” a spokesperson told NBC News.
Then there’s the KFC employee who ended up on News Channel 11’s Facebook page in February, getting up close and personal with a mountain of mashed potatoes in a photo that garnered more than 2,000 shares. The young woman and the photo taker were both dismissed from their jobs, according to News Channel 11.
And three workers were fired in a lettuce-stomping incident, in which an anonymous 4chan user and Burger King employee uploaded a photo of himself standing on two bins of lettuce last July. Horrified 4Chan users quickly got to the bottom of the incident and alerted the Burger King in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, where the photo originated.
“The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and terminated the three employees involved in the incident," a Burger King spokesperson told NBC News.
A Taco Bell employee also learned the consequences of posting inappropriate photos to the Internet, when he tweeted out a picture of himself peeing on a nacho order. Though he tweeted soon after that it was all in jest, Taco Bell didn't quite get the joke: He was later fired, according to Indiana's NewsCenter.
And who can forget the Domino’s Pizza workers who posted a prank video of one employee stuffing cheese up his nose — and slipping it in a sandwich? They were subsequently fired and charged with food tampering.
This spate of gross-out food photos could make even those with iron stomachs a little queasy. We asked readers if they were hesitant to send their dishes back for fear of kitchen retaliation, and turns out not all of you have lost your faith.
There were those who don't think twice:
And restaurant employees ready to defend their kind:
One thing may be certain: We won't have to wait too long until the next scandalous photo makes the rounds to the dismay of fast food fans and haters alike.