Restaurant Facts That Are Hard To Believe

Restaurant Facts That Are Hard To Believe

A lot goes on behind the closed swinging doors of a restaurant kitchen. Some of it you’d want to know, but some of it might have you eating in for the rest of forever. When it comes down to it, restaurants are run by people who are no less human (or strange) than the rest of us, and that makes for some pretty bizarre stories that go along with your favorite fast food joints and eateries. From the unlikely and the bizarre to strange partnerships and surprising expenses, these trivia tidbits will make you think a bit differently about your tried-and-true favorites.

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In 2007, Taco Bell opened its first restaurants south of the border after a 15-year absence. Their slogan was, “Es otra cosa” which means “It’s something else.” That’s not entirely a glowing review of their own product, and it sounds like something you’d say when you can’t really come up with anything nice. Taco Bell didn’t even call its tacos “tacos” because they’re so far from traditional tacos that they might have been laughed out of Mexico. Taco Bell calls tacos sold in Mexico “tacostadas,” combining “taco” and “tostada.” Locations banked on their American image to present something different to Mexican diners, adding ice cream and fries (topped with cheese, tomatoes, and ground meat) to their menu.

When Hobby House bought the recipe and became KFC, Thomas jumped on board and put forward some really good ideas. He created the chicken bucket sign, the red-and-white striped logo, and the idea of Colonel Sanders as a mascot front-and-center for commercials. In 1962, KFC restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, were struggling, and KFC promised that if Thomas resurrected the franchises, they’d pay him with 45 percent ownership in each location. Thomas did turn them around, then he cashed out. When he sold his interest in the franchises back to KFC, it netted him enough money to start his own restaurant chain: Wendy’s. He took the $1.5 million and opened his first store in the same city as the KFC franchises he’d saved.

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It all started in 1974, after a group of overseas visitors couldn’t find a turkey dinner. The closest thing was KFC, so yeah, not very close. Anyway, it kicked off a massive marketing campaign, and “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (“Kentucky for Christmas!”) was born only four years after the country’s first KFC opened in Nagoya. Today, it’s so popular that people spend around $40 for a Christmas dinner (complete with champagne and cake), and many people order their dinners months ahead of time to skip the hourslong wait times. There’s still a huge Christmas campaign, and when the holiday does finally come it’s all hands on deck from back office staff to the highest of the high. Rather than any kind of religious holiday, it’s become a weird sort of celebration of something that’s seen as fundamentally American.

This particular McD’s is only for personnel working on the base, and for a long time that included lawyers who were visiting their clients. In 2015, they put an end to the practice of lawyers bringing those clients something from the nearby restaurant, which went over about as well as you’d expect. The facility cited health and safety concerns, while lawyers were less than thrilled about being forbidden from bringing in a little bit of comfort food.

Alan Stillman opened the first location in 1965, and he mainly did it so he could meet girls. Specifically, he wanted to meet airline stewardesses, so the first TGI Fridays was opened next to an apartment building that was so full of single airline stewardesses that it was known as the Stew Zoo. At the time, the only way to meet them would be to go to a private cocktail party. Co-ed drinking and mingling still didn’t happen in public, and while the idea of the private party is all well and good, the idea of a public place where people could mingle and meet is even better.


It turns out that Taco Bell (somewhat) changed the way astronauts eat in space. Everyone’s familiar with the freeze-dried space food, but astronauts are also allowed to pick some special, fresh foods to take with them, as long as they meet certain criteria. That includes not needing to be refrigerated and having a decent shelf life. Quite a few astronauts have opted to take sandwiches along. The problem’s probably pretty obvious: crumbs in zero-G? No, thanks! That’s when astronaut Jose Hernandez pitched the idea of using tortillas instead of bread. Crumb problem solved!

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