America's Worst Chain Restaurants, Ranked
Chain restaurants aren't exactly synonymous with fine dining. But for days when you just want to enjoy two-for-one margaritas and an inexpensive, relaxed meal, they can really hit the spot.
Well, at least some of them can. Other chain restaurants deliver an experience that is a single step above fast food. While they try their best to be elegant, they are places you only want to visit when there is truly no other option.
Just in case a poor soul is still wondering where not to eat, these are the worst chain restaurants (fast food excluded) in the U.S., ranked from "nope" to "I'd rather eat week-old leftovers."
10. The Cheesecake Factory
Never trust a place whose menu has about 7,000 items. You need to plan an entire hour just to flip through the giant menu that works as proof that absolutely nothing in this kitchen is fresh.
The cheesecakes aren't bad, though. So if you're in a pinch and want dessert, you could do worse.
9. Red Lobster
Another red flag at any restaurant is unlimited anything. If they're offering it like this, the quality has to be bad — which is the opposite of what we want in seafood. Skip the unlimited shrimp like your life depended on it ... because it does.
Oh, also, why are the lobster tanks always dirty?
8. Olive Garden
We're surprised Italy hasn't officially sued Olive Garden for claiming to be an Italian Kitchen. This restaurant is so mediocre and tries so hard not to be that it has become the butt of jokes and memes.
Once again, you shouldn't trust anything that offers unlimited anything — and Olive Garden offers unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. Run far away.
7. TGI Fridays
If generic were a restaurant, it would be TGI Fridays. Go ahead, name one thing from this restaurant that stands out in the least bit. We sure can't.
In fact, the only thing that comes to mind when we think of this chain is the red stripes in the logo, which really mean nothing.
If TGI Fridays has something going for it is that it's not Applebee's. We've heard people question if this chain even has pans or if it solely operates with microwaves. And to be honest, we can't be sure.
The food is subpar and the glasses always smell like old ice. Hard pass.
5. Buffalo Wild Wings
Imagine making a single item your whole thing and then not excelling at it. People go to Buffalo Wild Wings mainly to watch sports games and drink beer. The wings are kind of just there.
Have you ever heard anyone say, "wow, I'm really craving those delicious wings from BWW?" No, because no one has ever had that thought.
The pancakes at IHOP are passable at best. Everything else should not even be considered food. The eggs clearly come from a box, the bacon is frozen, the coffee might as well be ink and the orange juice is an offense to the fruit.
If you're in a pitch when coming home at 8 a.m. after a night of partying, we understand you choosing to eat here. Otherwise, it's a crime against your body.
3. Cracker Barrell
We appreciate that Cracker Barrell has a personality. You could be dropped in the middle of one and know exactly where you are. If only the quality of the food were as strong as its commitment to branding, maybe the chain wouldn't be on this list.
The fact that almost 100 percent of people eat here only when they're on the road and have limited options says everything you need to know about the food served here.
If you're a high school student staying up all night and not in the mood for McDonald's, Denny's is an okay option. Otherwise, it's borderline food poisoning.
We can't think of a single thing in this chain that tastes decently. Also, why do all locations have a musty smell?
1. Golden Corral
We love buffets as much as the next person, but Golden Corral is a bad idea all around. Why risk your gut health by eating at this chain when there are buffets that sell things like delicious Indian food?
Golden Corral shouldn't be allowed to operate.