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11 Strange But True Facts About America's Biggest Chain Restaurants

Why does Waffle House have its own record label?

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In-N-Out's "secret menu" is basically the world's worst-kept secret, and the fact that Chipotle used to be owned by McDonald's is more or less common knowledge by now. But plenty of other chain restaurants have eyebrow-raising secrets. Here are 11 strange but true things you probably didn't know about some of America's biggest chain restaurants, including McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Burger King, Shake Shack, and more. (Hey, they could come in handy for your next round of bar trivia — or if you happen to end up on Jeopardy with "Fast Food" as a category.)

1. Chick-fil-A serves burgers.

Chick fil A

[Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]

Despite the Chick-fil-A cow mascots that plead with customers to "eat more chikin," several locations of the chain actually serve burgers. The menu at the original Hapeville, Georgia location that opened in 1946 also includes Southern favorites like fried okra, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

2. In-N-Out used to let customers order burgers as big as their faces.

In-N-Out Burgers

[Photo: supercake/Flickr]

In-N-Out diehards know that the biggest burger one can order is a 4x4 (that's four beef patties and four slices of cheese), but that wasn't always the case. That rule was put in place after some very hungry customers in Las Vegas ordered a 100x100 back in 2004.

3. More Americans have worked for McDonald's than you might think.

McDonald's Worker

[Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Almost one in eight American workers has, at one point or another, been employed by McDonald's.

4. Waffle House has a record label.

Waffle House Songs

[Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr]

Waffle House, the Atlanta-based chain known for smothered hash browns and bizarre crime, has its own record label. Since the 1980s, Waffle Records has released more than three dozen songs, with names like "There Are Raisins in My Toast" and "Make Mine With Cheese"; play them on the restaurants' jukeboxes, or for the true fan, there's also a compilation CD.

5. One of McDonald's franchisees is actual royalty.

McDonald's

[Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr]

The Queen of England owns a McDonald's. Located in the town of Slough in Berkshire, England, the monarch purchased it in 2008 and there's nothing particularly fancy about it.

6. The original menu for Shake Shack included doughnuts.

Shake Shack Montgomery Co. Planning Commission/Flickr

[Photo: Montgomery Co. Planning Commission/Flickr]

Danny Meyer's burger sensation Shake Shack was originally going to serve doughnuts. Other planned menu items that didn't make the cut: tuna burgers, custard floats, espresso drinks, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

7. Wendy's is just as socially conservative as Chick-fil-A.

[Photo: Chris Potter/Flickr] Chris Potter/Flickr

[Photo: Chris Potter/Flickr]

Wendy's stopped advertising on Ellen DeGeneres's sitcom after she revealed she was gay during a history-making episode in 1997.

8. Denny's wasn't always called "Denny's."

Denny's

[Photo: Curtis Perry/Flickr]

Iconic diner chain Denny's was originally called Danny's Donuts. It eventually changed its name so as not be confused with another chain, Doughnut Dan’s.

9. The Whataburger ketchup conspiracy.

Whataburger Ketchup

[Photo: Channone Arif/Flickr]

There's a conspiracy theory about Whataburger ketchup packets: Many high school students in Texas believe the numbers 1 through 5 printed on the condiment packages indicates different flavors of ketchup ranging from salty to sweet. (This is patently false.)

10. Despite its marketing campaign, Taco Bell doesn't operate south of the border.

Taco Bell

[Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr]

There are no Taco Bell locations in Mexico. It's certainly not for lack of trying though: The Quesarito-slinger made two attempts to enter the Mexican market in 1992 and 2007, and both failed.

11. This Burger King is not like the others.

Burger King Mattoon

[Photo: Silly America/Flickr]

There's a Burger King in Illinois that has nothing to do with the famous Whopper inventor. Its existence spurred a landmark 1960s court case over trademark law; as a result, the Burger King chain cannot operate a restaurant within 20 miles of the "original" restaurant.


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