Do American Chain restaurants microwave?

TSE

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jun 25, 2007
3,074
693
St. Paul, Minnesota
I almost never eat at the stereotypical American chain restaurant - Applebee's, TGIFs, Red Lobster, etc. because I can usually find a cheaper and better local restaurant around.

But I have also heard stories where the restaurants microwave their food completely and serve them. Food is shipped frozen into the restaurant, the restaurant microwaves everything and slaps it together and serves it.

I've also heard stories where the restaurant will cook a certain number of different plates in the morning, refrigerate the meals, and microwave them up when they are ordered.

Does anyone actually know this? Or has seen this first hand? opinions?
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
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3,790
Those stories are without a doubt complete BS. Even fast food chains like McDonalds do more than just microwave their food. Grills, ovens (conveyer-style in many operations) , and fryers are ubiquitous.

Food is often shipped in frozen, even in non-chain restaurants, but that doesn't mean it's fully cooked.
 
Last edited:

ace198

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2007
157
1
Yes, a lot of restaurants do. That's why it's called "fast food". A lot of meals can't be made fast enough. I know people that work fast food. Stuff like mashed potatoes, corn, etc are heated in a microwave at a lot of places.
 

appleguy123

macrumors 604
Apr 1, 2009
6,559
639
15 minutes in the future
Yes, a lot of restaurants do. That's why it's called "fast food". A lot of meals can't be made fast enough. I know people that work fast food. Stuff like mashed potatoes, corn, etc are heated in a microwave at a lot of places.
Did you read the thread? He's talking about restaurants like Applebee's, not McDonald's.

@OP. I really don't think so, otherwise I wouldn't have to wait 30 minutes for my food at those restaurants.

I think that the food at Applebee's is pretty good for their prices.
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,120
3,790
Did you read the thread? He's talking about restaurants like Applebee's, not McDonald's.
He was also asking if everything was heated in a microwave. Not just certain things. If this really were the case then French fries would always come out soggy! :rolleyes:


On a vaguely related note... contray to the popular belief, microwaves themselves can do more than just warm food. Their inherent ability to excite water molecules makes them very effective at steam cooking.
 

thatoneguy82

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,895
2
Beach Cities, CA
Well, I don't know where Panda Express falls in. It's probably fast food. But, certain dishes are microwaved, like the chicken. And yes, most fast food places use microwaves. As far as restaurants, the usage of microwave varies depending on the dish and the chain. I know Chili's uses it thaw their chicken breast prior to "grilling" it for one of their dishes.
 

nouveau

macrumors member
Dec 5, 2011
71
0
I almost never eat at the stereotypical American chain restaurant - Applebee's, TGIFs, Red Lobster, etc. because I can usually find a cheaper and better local restaurant around.

But I have also heard stories where the restaurants microwave their food completely and serve them. Food is shipped frozen into the restaurant, the restaurant microwaves everything and slaps it together and serves it.

I've also heard stories where the restaurant will cook a certain number of different plates in the morning, refrigerate the meals, and microwave them up when they are ordered.

Does anyone actually know this? Or has seen this first hand? opinions?
If you speak Spanish, you could go to the kitchen directly and ask them! :D
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,120
3,790
Well, I don't know where Panda Express falls in. It's probably fast food. But, certain dishes are microwaved, like the chicken. And yes, most fast food places use microwaves. As far as restaurants, the usage of microwave varies depending on the dish and the chain. I know Chili's uses it thaw their chicken breast prior to "grilling" it for one of their dishes.
Fast food places may use microwaves for certain things. I don't know of any which heat all their food in one.
 

MotleyGrrl

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2010
386
20
Chicago, IL
I used to work at one of the restaurants listed above and they most certainly DO microwave things... about 90% I'd say. The only thing I can really think of that's not microwaved is the steak/burgers.
 

rockman0

macrumors newbie
Oct 5, 2011
19
0
At McAlister's, we had a microwave, but we only microwaved cookies when the customer asked us to. The microwave was also in the front of the restaurant for all to see.

I don't know if restaurants like Applebee's microwave, but if they are, they most be doing something right. I also enjoy eating at Applebee's.

I remember an episode of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares where the chefs in the restaurant Gordon was remaking would microwave everything. They had ovens but didn't use them. But that wasn't in America. And it wasn't a chain restaurant.
 

zioxide

macrumors 603
Dec 11, 2006
5,737
3,726
I work in a restaurant.. it's not a huge chain like Applebees, etc, but a small local chain. We get just about all our food from distributors like sysco just like the big chains, and the line and prep process is the same as a big chain.


While they do have a microwave on the line, it's not used that much. All things like chicken, steak, pork chops, burgers are partially cooked earlier in the day, refrigerated, and then cooked up to temp on the grill when an order comes in.

The things that do get microwaved sometimes are the pre-prepped sides. Things like mashed potatoes, rice, etc.
 

Quesera-sera

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2017
1
0
Those stories are without a doubt complete BS. Even fast food chains like McDonalds do more than just microwave their food. Grills, ovens (conveyer-style in many operations) , and fryers are ubiquitous.

Food is often shipped in frozen, even in non-chain restaurants, but that doesn't mean it's fully cooked.
To call microwave use by fast food "complete bs"...Its BS in itself...lol! They absolutely-positively they use micowaves. I go to BK for breakfast and anything with egg (bkfst burritos, croissants, big breakfast and even pancakes gets nuked!
 

jeyf

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2009
1,693
761
Immaculate Conception:
like every restaurant location can offer an 11 page menu with only a 8 x 10 foot kitchen.
 

JackieInCo

Suspended
Jul 18, 2013
5,178
1,598
Colorado
I used to work at a Burger King here in Colorado as an assistant manager from about 1988-1998. During that time, hamburger patties were cooked though a broiler and then placed in a steamer. During lunch or dinner or other busy periods, that was not a big deal. They had a "10 minute" hold time in the steamer and then they were supposed to be thrown away. When a whopper or burger or any burger ordered with cheese came in, the cheese was placed on the patty and the patty along with the bottom bun were placed in the microwave to melt the cheese. There were two settings, one for burger sized patties and one for the bigger whooper patty.

Also, the breakfast sandwiches were also microwaved if they were ordered with these for the same reasons above. Anything with cheese was always microwaved. The eggs came in little white cartons already mixed so all they had to be done is poured into a pan, a bit of salt added and then poured onto the pan that was designed to sit inside one of the friers to be scrambled. The heat from the oil is what cooked the eggs.

As far as McDonalds goes, the pancakes are microwaved to heat them up to serving temp and arrive in the restaurant frozen, remade just like anything else in the restaurant. I don't remember anything else being microwaved during the short summer I worked at one. I do remember the burger buns being immediately placed into the freezer upon delivery and then thawed out at opening. This is why sometimes the buns would have an odd texture to them as frozen bread will often have.
 

Cogsworth

macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2015
358
230
I had a co-worker once who refused to go to Olive Garden, because she swore up and down that they "had no stoves or ovens" and just microwaved everything. To me that is patently absurd. As a bachelor who lives off microwaved food I think I can tell the difference LOL.
 

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