Fuddruckers Sucks

I have a rule about trying new restaurants: If I don’t like it the first time, I always give them a second chance. Everyone has a bad day, right? Even an entire restaurant. About a year ago, a Fuddruckers came to town. I kept hearing people at work brag about how incredible the place was. I finally relented and took the family. In short, we hated it. But per my policy, I gave it a second try today. Let’s review my culinary adventure.

As we walked up to the door, we were greeted with pleasant Christmas wreathes hanging on the doors. We opened the door and walked in to bone-jarring shouts of “Hi guys! Welcome to Fuddruckers!” from the kitchen staff across the way. So much for my relaxed, festive mood. From the front door, we were funneled into the cattle chute to weave our way toward the register to order (think airport security or the line to a Disneyland ride without the benefit of the FastPass). I settled in for my 10 minute wait in line and began surveying the menu. They have various items, but they claim to have the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers”, so that’s what I settled on. So, burger, fries, and a drink: $9.50. Wow, a little spendy. Oh well, it must be worth it. They took my name and payment and handed back this massive plastic cup for my beverage. Sweet!

But still no food. You have to make your way to a table and wait again. The décor of the restaurant is pleasant. It has a mixture of antiques hanging from the walls and ceiling, and various local items to give it more of a homey feel. The table is covered by that red and white plaid tablecloth you are familiar with on a picnic table. Hmmm. Pricey $10 lunch…and I’m sitting at a picnic table? Ewww…to make matters worse, it’s a sticky plastic finish on the tablecloth. My cup and arm stick to the table. Now if these things will stick to the tablecloth, what about germs. Just saying…

The orders are called out over blaring speakers located throughout the restaurant. “TOM, YOUR ORDER IS READY!” As you might imagine, this just adds to the peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. After about 10 minutes, I’m finally called to retrieve my food. ($10 lunch and I have to pick up my own food?).

I go up to the pick-up area and am handed a plastic basket with the paper lining on the bottom (strange, it doesn’t seem like a fast food place). On the paper is an open-faced hamburger patty on the bun along with my fries. That’s it, no toppings whatsoever. Apparently they have various stations where you add the topping you would like. ($10 lunch and I have to build the burger myself?) I went to the first station, which had all the usual veggies you would expect. So I threw on some lettuce and a little bit of onion. Then I’m looking around for the mayo. There are so many people milling around building their $10 burgers that I nearly bumped into one. Thankfully a tragic, burger-ending, collision was averted. The last thing I wanted to do was get back in line. At that point, I would have left and just hit McDonalds. I finally found the mayo, finished building my $10 burger, and carefully headed back to the table.

Okay, well it has not been the most pleasant experience so far, but now I’m ready to chow down on my world class $10 burger. Yeah…not so much. It was not particularly juicy or tasty–it was actually rather dry and tasteless. So now I’ve spent way too much time and way too much money on a crappy burger…great! So can anyone explain the appeal of this place to me? If I want I decent burger at a good price, fast, I’ll go to most any fast food restaurant and be satisfied. If I want a great burger, at an okay price, at a sit-down place, I’ll go to some place like Red Robin, Chili’s, etc. What’s the appeal of Fuddruckers? It seems to embody the worst of all worlds: high price, crappy burger, slow service, and I have to dress it up myself! If you have a good answer to this, I’d love to hear it.

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10 Responses to “Fuddruckers Sucks”

  1. John Says:

    The Wife and I went to the Fuddruckers that is prominently located off I-5 south of Portland right after we got married…

    almost 15 years later and we haven’t been back.

    Yet apparently they are doing ok. The I-5 location is still there and now they have added a Boise location? It reminds me of Kramer’s scheme to make people pay to cook their own meat, ‘for the novelty of it’.

  2. Jake Says:

    I work at Fuddruckers in Springfield, MO and I know everything you said to be absolutely true. That place sucks a fat one. Aside from being a crappy place to eat, it is also quite possibly the worst place in the world to work.

  3. Bob Says:

    Agreed. Its overrated hype for a completely forgettable burger. Why can’t people take a few seconds to find a local joint with good hamburgers –there almost always is one and they’re almost always better than the overrate garbage at Fuddrucker’s. Heck, there are a few chains that are better (In-N-Out, Five Guys, etc). Pathetic.

  4. Rick Says:

    I musta missed this post. Fuddrucker’s is coming to Hermiston soon, so I guess we’ll find out what all the fuss is about…or not.

  5. KingPresident Says:

    You are an idiot. You expect world class service for a $10 meal? Why don’t you cook your own burger and spend less time complaining. You sound more like fag in the headlights.

  6. Killergazebo Says:

    I work at one of the busiest Fuddruckers in North America and I’ve quite happily been eating there for most of my life. The prices do tend to get high but the advantage is that the quality of the meat is (or at least is supposed to be) much higher than your average burger place. In general, if you eat a burger at my local Fuddruckers it was an uncooked patty ten minutes ago and part of a cow less than 48 hours ago, specifically the shoulder part which is of a far higher quality than you could expect from most fast food joints. And yes, it is a fast food joint and makes no claim to be anything else.

    The high prices and slow service are certainly drawbacks, but the fact that there can even be that many people eating there and paying for their ten dollar burgers on any given day should suggest that perhaps you aren’t fully understanding the appeal. The market has spoken and it turns out people like making burgers the way they like them, getting called by name, sitting at picnic tables, and all the other things you’ve complained about. You can complain all you like, but they’re good burgers and if you don’t like the atmosphere you can just order one to go.

    You’re dead on about the Christmas greetings though. I despise doing that with an intense hatred from the deepest regions of my soul.

    • Killergazebo Says:

      I should point out that I live in beef country and that I’ve never been to another Fuddruckers. So there’s a good chance the one by you actually does have shitty burgers.

      Also, we charge $2.30 for a pop and I wince whenever I run one through.

  7. Vince Says:

    Ouch, right in the childhood
    It’s better than Five Guys or McDonalds at least, and the one I go to has great service and cooks the burger that I like it.
    (But seriously, tell me what place has better burgers cause I’m curious)


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