How To Tell When You’re In A Bad Fast Food Joint

To help you navigate that vague sense of dread you may be feeling while you wait for your order number to be called, we’ve prepared a list of ways to help you identify the terrible truth you are facing: You may just be sitting in a bad fast food restaurant. Here’s how you can tell.

To start with, look at the menu. Do all the pictures look like they were taken with a phone? We’re talking grainy, blurry flip-phone photos — those grainy, pixelated snaps that haven’t been updated since 2006.

Even when the technical photo quality is okay, there may be other issues, thanks to some owner or manager deciding they were going to save a few bucks by shooting their food photos themselves. Harsh shadows. Weird yellow or blue light. Unappealing close-ups that magnify the least appetizing quality of the dish, such as the way all the grease pools around the base of a sloppy burger, or the uncooked jarred chopped garlic you’ve unceremoniously scooped onto a dish of wet, pasty-looking fish. Or worse, photos with no proper lighting at all, as though the meal was served to a small child trapped at the bottom of a well. At sunset. In December.

Look, there are plenty of ways to cut corners and save a few dollars when you’re figuring out how to market your business. But the first impression that customers have of your food when they’re looking at your menu isn’t one of them. A fast food place that has such misplaced priorities probably isn’t the place to trust with your dining dollars.