Special Report

Burger Joint Brands You Should Never Buy

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In the world of fast food, burgers have long been the most dominant item. Ever since the suburban expansion in the 1950s, burger joints have fed millions of Americans looking for a quick meal. It’s safe to say that a cheeseburger is quintessentially a piece of Americana as much as apple pie or baseball.

Unfortunately, not every burger tastes the same as it did so many decades ago. Over time, ingredients and recipes have changed and so too has a list of the best burger joints. With many different burger places popping up over the years, it’s a challenge knowing which ones you should stay away from. Let’s take a look at the burger joints you should avoid today as ranked by the LA Times.

10. The Habit

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The Habit offers better burgers overall but still suffers from too much grease.

According to the LA Times, The Habit is a fine California-based fast food restaurant that finds itself in a bit of a pickle. While its burger hits better than much of the competition on this list, too much lettuce is a real concern. Of course, you can ask for no lettuce on your burger, but it’s a restaurant symptom that needs to be addressed.

Too Many Toppings Make a Greasy Mess

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The LA Times isn’t alone in voicing online concerns over The Habit layering too many toppings onto its burgers. Outside of going plain, this can lead to awkward-tasting burgers that may not hit exactly as intended. Instead, you might get too much tomato, pickle, or ketchup.

9. Wendy’s

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Wendy’s once had great taste but has seen quality drop in recent years.

Even though Wendy’s has been a source of complaints over the last few years with taste, it’s strangely better than the absolute worst burger joints. Known for its square patties, Wendy’s likes to say it’s because they don’t cut corners on their meat, and in some regards, it’s true. Still, Wendy’s has lost some of its luster as of late, and in a post-pandemic world, this is simply not okay.

Too Expensive and Too Greasy

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As people are still looking to save money on food, Wendy’s must find its way back to burger glory. This might mean continuing to hype its never-frozen meat as a signature feature. The downside is that Wendy’s burgers lean more on the greasy side, which is why it’s on a list of burger joints to avoid.

8. A&W

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Not only does A&W have issues with its hamburgers, but its fries are universally disliked.

Strangely enough, a brand best known for its root beer isn’t likely to be equally known for its burgers. A&W certainly isn’t the fast food chain it once was, but with 104 years of fast food experience, the burgers are ripe for a recipe remake. Specifically, A&W needs new buns as its burgers aren’t among the worst around, but the buns often feel like they have been left on a counter too long.

Good Beef Doesn’t Make Up For Bad Food

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Worse yet, A&W has arguably the worst fries around, which is why it’s making an appearance on this list. While the actual patties at A&W are almost good enough to recommend, it’s the whole package that makes A&W worth avoiding. If it can revamp its fries and find a way to make better buns (pretzel buns maybe?), A&W might find itself ranked a little better.

7. Steak ‘n Shake

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Steak ‘n Shake’s basic burgers lack taste and volume, making it a place to avoid.

Like White Castle, Steak ‘n Shake has a rabid fanbase that swears it can do no wrong. Something of a road trip favorite, Steak ‘n Shake has thrived on its selection of burgers and milkshakes over the years. A product of the Great Depression, now it’s just Steak ‘n Shake burgers that are depressed. Okay, again, maybe this is a little too harsh.

A Road Trip Away From Flavortown

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Steak ‘n Shake burgers aren’t wholly awful in the same way as the number one chain, but they still need a makeover. Perhaps the joyful ambiance of Steak ‘n Shake locations helps you think the burgers taste better than they do. A saving grace may be the Butter burger, which tastes much better than the single steakburger with cheese.

6. Jack in the Box

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Jack in the Box doesn’t do itself many favors with disappointing burgers and an odd menu.

A western United States fast food chain, Jack in the Box is better off keeping its burgers in a box. Okay, the burgers aren’t that bad, but you can count Jack in the Box as a burger joint to avoid. Any restaurant that combines chicken sandwiches, pancakes, burgers, and tacos into one menu is either the Cheesecake Factory or something else.

Tastes Like Nothing

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What’s most notable about Jack in the Box burgers is that they don’t have any taste at all. You know you are chewing and biting into something, but your taste buds cannot immediately identify it’s a burger. This is a real issue for any location that uses burgers as one of its most inviting menu items. The only redeemable aspect here is that Jack in the Box burgers tend to have fewer calories than the competition. Of course, this could be due to the lack of taste.

5. Dairy Queen

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Skip the burgers at Dairy Queen and stick to its staple Blizzard for a great dessert.

When it comes to places that should likely stick to what they do best, it’s Dairy Queen. Home of the iconic Blizzard, Dairy Queen is a summer staple for cold treats and happy kids. What Dairy Queen is not is a place to go for the best burgers in town. Fortunately, Dairy Queen’s “Grill & Chill” locations aren’t as available as regular ice-cream only locations, and that’s probably for the best.

DQ Is Known For Ice Cream Not Burgers

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There is no way to sugarcoat that Dairy Queen needs to overhaul its burger menu. You will be hard-pressed to find any flavor, or at least any flavor that makes you think you are tasting a juicy burger. Unfortunately, your taste buds aren’t going to be wowed and while the DQ menu offers some interesting burger varieties, you’re better off sticking with the ice cream.

4. White Castle

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White Castle sliders have been lacking in quality for many years now and need a makeover.

This may be controversial as White Castle has a vocal minority of fans who love its burgers. The truth is that White Castle burgers just aren’t all that great. The sliders don’t feel like much in the way of being a true burger and instead feel like there’s just something sandwiched between two pieces of bread. If it’s meat, which we believe it is, it needs an overhaul in a hurry. There’s just something great about White Castle’s pricing, and it’s fair to expect taste.

Just Because It’s First Doesn’t It’s The Best

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The LA Times points out there is hope with the White Castle 1921 Slider, which is thicker and better. The thing that people go to White Castle for is the sliders. However, as the sliders aren’t satisfying customers anymore, warning bells should be going off inside White Castle headquarters. As one of the original fast food cheeseburgers, here’s hoping the company can find its way back to tasty glory.

3. Rally’s/Checkers

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There are not a lot of redeeming qualities about Rally’s or Checker’s hamburgers.

Depending on your location inside the United States, you may have a Rally’s or a Checker’s near you. Realistically, it doesn’t matter which name you find this burger under as you should avoid it either way. Rally’s and Checker’s have always been about that value and that has not changed. What has changed is what you get for the value and today it’s less about money and more about taste. Rally’s has a habit of serving overly greasy burgers, which simply isn’t fashionable anymore.

Ketchup Doesn’t Hide Bad Tastes

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What’s worse is that you need other ingredients like tomatoes and ketchup to hide the taste of the burger. You always want it to be the other way around, so there is hope for Rally’s to make a change. Also, it would be great if Rally’s stopped relying on iceberg lettuce and went for any lettuce alternative.

2. Sonic

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Sonic has a lot of promise but its burgers need to be reworked to better match its unique drive-up style.

Sonic’s attempt to recapture the drive-up magic of the 1950s once made it a darling of the fast food world. The Sonic cheeseburger has long been the staple of the restaurant. With a beef patty, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mayo, you once believed Sonic stood out from the pack. Unfortunately, Sonic’s burger taste seems to have nosedived over the last few years leading to growing disappointment in customer satisfaction.

The 50s Is No Longer

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The good news is that Sonic has all the right ingredients to make things right. Between the unique aspect of its ordering system to its french fries, Sonic can claw its way off any list of burger joints to avoid. However, until Sonic finds burger magic again, it’s hard to recommend any place where you don’t feel like you are getting your money’s worth. Also, Sonic may want to introduce some items that feel a little more on the healthy end.

1. Burger King

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Burger King needs to revamp the Whopper to remove itself as the number one burger joint to avoid.

As disappointing as it may be for Whopper fans, Burger King just isn’t as good as it used to be. The french toast sticks remain pretty great, but when it comes to the Whopper or Whopper Jr., you can expect dry patties. The whole concept of the Whopper is its fresh appeal, so when it lacks this aspect, the whole thing becomes a disappointment.

Have It Your Way But Somewhere Else

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There is no question Burger King can turn things around, it just means rebuilding the Whopper from the ground up. Bring back the days of fresh-tasting meat, warm cheese, and buns that don’t feel a day or two old. Perhaps Burger King can try something with the Whopper family that helps make it feel more unique beyond just being flame-grilled.

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