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Burger Fool

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You can practically see his soul being crushed.
"In case you've forgotten, here's how things work: I order the food, you cook the food, then the customer gets the food. We do that for 40 years, and then we die."
Squidward to SpongeBob, SpongeBob SquarePants, "My Pretty Seahorse"

The fictional fast food restaurant is a unique establishment. It's the most common first job for a TV teen, and will usually teach them a lesson about money, responsibility, or life, mere moments before they quit or are fired for odd reasons. Usually, they are spurred to employment by a specific financial need, and a failure of "The Bank of Mom and Dad" to pony up.

But the fast food joint seems to deliberately go out of its way to torture the unfortunate teenagers and/or unlucky adults who work there. This includes the ridiculous outfit they are required to wear on the job — a silly hat, featuring a cartoonish version of what they serve, is almost a given, along with mandatory happiness enforced by their pointy-haired manager. Kids or teens may be threatened with working there forever if they don't finish high school, don't attend college, don't do well in either, and/or they only obtain A Degree in Useless. This is, however, a Cyclic Trope; during economic downturns, even people who "did everything right" can still find themselves working in or applying to these types of positions.

The standard foil is for the show's underdog to thrive in this environment to the total befuddlement of the "cool" characters who have been successful at everything else except this. Ironically, this can have the reverse effect; after all, who would be proud of working at a fast food joint?

Wikipedia refers to these as "McJobs". In reality, these jobs can be Truth in Television, but there's an equal chance of them being better or even worse than depicted, because it depends on an individual restaurant's quality of management and workers. The median age of fast food workers is 29, which is quite a bit older than high school or college age. The ridiculous headgear, fortunately, is universally less common than it is in fiction as a simple baseball cap, visor, or hairnet is more common to comply with hygienic regulations.

Sometimes, the character tends to have braces to show that they are a young, uncool nerd stuck working at a dead-end job.

Similar workers can be found at Suck E. Cheese's. For the non-restaurant alternative, see Soul-Sucking Retail Job. Compare to Apathetic Clerk and World-Weary Waitress. On the other hand, some find Happiness in Minimum Wage. The next step up the "ladder" is working at a Kitschy Themed Restaurant.


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  • This TV ad for a company selling credit report monitoring tells how a guy is reduced to wearing a pirate outfit, working in a fast-food place every night singing how he is "selling chowder and iced tea" because "some hacker stole my identity." The ad tries to get people to sign up for its service "so you don't end up selling fish to tourists in T-shirts."
  • In this commercial for the Nintendo 64, a kid is getting his first paycheck from the manager of Taco Atomico, who starts to wax philosophic about when he joined the work force. The kid notices that the check is exactly enough to buy the game console advertised and promptly says, "I quit!" (Too bad the kid forgot about paying for other stuff (like tax, electricity, rent, games for the console...minor stuff, you know)).
  • In a commercial for Duracell batteries featuring The Puttermans, Todd, one of Trish's dates, is shown to work at a fast-food restaurant called Weenie Land. As he is running on a lesser battery, it runs out of power when he gives Trish her order at the drive-thru, causing him to keel over as a result.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Manga version of Azumanga Daioh, Chiyo and Osaka take up summer jobs at the local Magnetron Burger (a parody of McDonald's or the Japanese burger chain, MosBurger). Osaka gets the job without any second thoughts; however, when Child Prodigy Chiyo claims to be in high school (which she is, having skipped several grades), the manager assumes her family needs money and gives her the job out of pity. Doubly funny because Chiyo's family is actually loaded. The manager even gives Chiyo all the raises, much to Osaka's chagrin, as she doesn't get any.
  • Buso Renkin has Loteri-ya (a parody of Lotteria, a Japanese fast food chain) which the heroes and villains meet in. The staff seem fairly happy with their situation until the characters show up... in full costume. After Bravo and Papillon start eating there, it is dubbed Freak Burger.
  • Chainsaw Man: Kobeni quit her incredibly dangerous job Demon Slaying job at Public Safety and switched to fast food work, which seemed to go well for her... until it’s revealed she was being abused by her boss and fellow employees for petty reasons, which ended when Chainsaw Man (under Pochita's control) entered the restaurant. After he killed a great deal of the staff in Bloody Hilarious fashion, he forced Kobeni to go on a date.
  • In Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto, Sakamoto helps Kubota get a job at McDoodle's (Bland-Name Product in the anime), and works there himself for one episode. His presence brings in dozens of customers (mostly female, though he does have a few male customers too) who order food "and a smile" from him.
  • In K-On!, Mugi is so enthralled with the local fast food restaurant that she starts working part-time behind its counter herself later on—even though she is rich and doesn't really need the money.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata tells Kagami and Tsukasa she got a part-time job, but doesn't tell them what it is until they ask the next day. A worker at a fast food restaurant is one of the jobs they imagine, but can't imagine her doing well at. At least, the "dealing with people" aspect.
    Burger Fool Konata: Got a problem with my smile?
  • Tenchi Universe: When they get stationed on Earth, Kiyone and Mihoshi are forced to get part-time jobs in order to pay for the rent in their small apartment. One of these is working in a fast-food restaurant, where Kiyone actually does pretty well. Mihoshi, on the other hand, not so much.
  • Ramen Fighter Miki is a Deconstructive Parody of the Fighting Series that shows the life of two Kanban Musumes (poster girls) of the Onimaru Chinese Restaurant and the Huet Bakery in the small Hanami town Shopping District. Their job is to attract clients to their respective business and make deliveries. They subvert this trope, being two young childish Arrogant Kung Fu Guys whose constant fighting, slacking on the job and generous quantity of Mundane Made Awesome avoid the soul crushing boring related with this trope.
  • In the first volume of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Yugi and Joey want to go out for lunch at Burger World, (Burger Palooza in the English dub) but Tea tries to steer them away from it, saying that it's a terrible place to eat. Why? She works there, and doesn't want Joey to blab about it to the school, because kids at Domino High School (like at some real-life Japanese high schools) aren't allowed to hold jobs. (Note: In the English dub of the anime, the reason for her not wanting them to talk was changed from "High school students can't hold jobs" to "I'm not old enough to work here.") Still, it was a better job than what they were afraid she was doing to make money, working as a paid escort for rich businessmen, something that, it was rumored, the other female students were doing to make money. (And yes, as far as Japan goes, this is also Truth in Television, unfortunately.)

    Comic Books 
  • In an issue of Ambush Bug, Irwin apparently runs into Darkseid serving burgers at the local fast-food place (it turned out to be a blow-up mannequin).
    • In another Keith Giffen story, the Super Buddies are forced to work in a Big Belly Burger in Hell for all eternity.
  • The fast food chain "O'Shaughnessy's" ("End your potato famine here!") has made multiple appearances across various DC Comics. It's been stated to be a major rival to Big Belly Burgers.
    • During one Nightmare Sequence inflicted by the Scarecrow, Nightwing hallucinates himself being trapped at a dead-end job at O'Shaughnessy's (the "theme" of the nightmare being how he's doomed to be Always Second Best to Batman).
  • In the Emperor Joker story, Superboy is turned into "Superburgerboy," a mascot for a cheesy burger chain. It's worse than it sounds.
  • In Foolkiller, after Kurt Gerhardt was laid off from the bank, he had to work in a fast food restaurant.
  • The "Fat Boy" restaurant chain in Give Me Liberty, which wages war using giant mascot mecha for farmland to raise cattle.
  • After accidentally running up a crushing debt, Gina and Brittany from Gold Digger are forced to work at one of these places for a day before The Rival will agree to loan them the money they need. By Finagle's Law, exactly the old acquaintances they don't want to be seen by show up that day.
  • In Invincible, Mark initially worked at a place like this before his superhero duties happily forced him to quit.
  • In DC Comics' Looney Tunes title, Lola Bunny works for Machu Pizza, where she specializes in delivering food to some very unusual customers: aliens, monsters, Fish People, gods and other mythological figures, etc.
  • "Burger Fool" is the actual name of a fast food franchise in the Milestone Comics universe.
  • In Prez, the protagonist starts out working a soul-destroying fast food job at the House of Corndogs before a video taken by one of her co-workers goes viral and kicks off a bizarre sequence of events that culminates in her inauguration as the first teen President of the United States.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Mary Jane has to work at a hippo-themed McDonald's place, which was just one in a string of cruddy jobs.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter works for a while at a place with a frog theme. And had to wear a frog hat at all times. Mary Jane, for her part, puts in time at a Hot Dog On A Stick kiosk in the mall. Later on, Peter's manager at the frog place becomes Cloak, of Cloak & Dagger. He actually seems to enjoy the job. Probably because he's the manager.
  • At one point in Volume 2, Wonder Woman worked at a "Taco Whiz." She took it very seriously.
    Feeding people is a just and dignified occupation. I don't know why you are always... dishing it.
    • She takes almost everything seriously.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Big Nate, Ellen works at Dilly Burger.
  • Garfield:
    • In this strip, Jon and Garfield order from a drive-through of a place like this, and the wise guy clerk makes a crack at Garfield's weight. (Which as you can see, he doesn't like much.)
    • There's also Irma's Diner, a Greasy Spoon that offers unappealing items: the tea tastes like transmission fluid, ordering "what that guy's having" results in that guy's food being taken from him, and Irma doesn't know if she gives free refills on coffee, because no one's ever asked for a second cup before. Despite the disgusting food, Garfield and Jon frequently eat there.
    • This strip has Garfield and Jon eat at Binky Burger, where the clerk is dressed up as Binky the Clown's friend Biff and looks very depressed. Jon asks if he doesn't like his job, and the guy replies with "You try to get a date in this get-up, pal".
  • The Luann Comic strip featured the title character's older brother Brad working at Weenie World twice. The first time was as a teen during the 1990's while the second time was during his layoff from his career as a firefighter. Averted following his second stint when Brad was replaced by best friend T.J. As a member of the Weenie World family, T.J. managed to make his boss's life a living hell by doing everything better than she could including successfully upselling customers.
  • The comic Lucky Cow, which is set in the eponymous burger joint, revolves around this trope.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the only place Peter can find work in Izuku's universe is a crappy pizza joint with a sleazebag for a manager. He has to fight the urge to curl up and cry on the sidewalk at hitting rock bottom like this.
  • In The Boys: Real Justice, when Frenchie and Kimiko are transported into Gotham, they eat at a Batman-themed fast food resturant named the Bat Burger. A waitress dressed as Batgirl very obviously fakes enthusiasm when delivering their orders. Frenchie in particular despises the grease and smoke fumes and how dirty the place is. Kimiko enjoys their burgers though.
  • In Junior Officers, Sarabi mentions working a "crappy fast food job" (implied to be Tim Horton's) before becoming a junior officer.
  • The Shadowchasers Series stories:
    • The series introduces the Pandora's Box, an up-and-coming chain of fast food places with a fantasy RPG theme. Subverted in that, while very trite, it's not a bad place, and is very popular among Shadows, attracting them as customers and employees (especially unskilled ones in the latter case; Shadowkind like kobolds and goblins have found that they can make money working at Pandora's Box simply by being themselves.)
    • In the fic Shadowchasers: Conspiracy, an important character actually works at a Pandora's Box, and doesn't exactly like it, calling the place a "grease pit" (although she does appreciate the employee discount). It's implied that she's doing it to earn money while focusing on an important plot-related task.
  • In the Splatoon fic First Aid Kits and Deep Secrets, Lacey craves ice cream in winter so she takes her girlfriend out for ice cream. The waiter is a bored Inkling who is annoyed that the two "[came] into an ice cream shop in winter and [they] [didn't] even buy straight ice cream".
  • In Tokyo Little Shop, Hikari hasn't shown up at the flower shop for 3 days because she wanted to be paid more, so she got a job at Burger World. Shohei finds out when he sneaks out from sweeping outside the flower shop to get a bite to eat, and next thing he knows, he becomes the new fry cook. But their boss Mr. Sonoda finds out soon enough, and the Sharks wreak havoc at the restaurant, leading to Shohei's firing and with him and Hikari returning to their part-time job at the flower shop.
  • In Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams, Alyssa Conover works as a dance teacher until her studio goes out of business in the 2008 economic crash. The only other job she can find that works with her university schedule is at McDonald's.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Recess: School's Out, TJ's sister works at a burger joint. Their parents are just as proud of her getting promoted to "Assistant Fry Chef" as they are of TJ saving the world.
  • This type of restaurant is parodied in Shrek 2, where the Prince and Fairy Godmother go through the fly-though of the Fryar's Fat Boys, a place with a menu that includes Renaissance Wraps, Sourdough Soft Tacos, and the Medieval Meal (comes with regular or curly fries and a toy - namely a battle axe). Not a completely straight example of the Trope, however, as more of the humor focuses on the customers, rather than the employee, although she is dressed like a typical tavern serving maid.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem gives Dallas' younger brother a job as a delivery boy for a pizza parlor. The characters go to great lengths to point out how demeaning and humiliating they believe this is.
  • Inverted in American Beauty. Lester Burnham quits his white collar job as an editor so that he can work a burger counter and have the least possible amount of responsibility. It has the added benefit of pissing off his success-driven wife even more than being unemployed, especially when he catches her cheating on him at the drive-thru.
  • Back to the Future has Marty's older brother, Dave, in a Burger King uniform when Marty comes home at the beginning of the movie. Once Marty gets back to the future at the end, Dave is instead wearing a suit and working in an office, one of the many things that's improved about his family's life.
  • In the original Bedazzled (1967), Dudley Moore's character is despondent over his miserable life. 28 years old, no girlfriend, lives in a dreary little basement apartment. And yes, fry cook at Wimpy's.
  • The 1980s teen movie Better Off Dead put John Cusack's character in a humiliating job at a pork-burger restaurant that required him to wear a chef's hat with attached ears and snout, even though he works in the kitchen.
  • In Big Daddy, Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) has venomous contempt for the restaurant chain Hooters and the people (especially the women) who work there. His friend, Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart), is similarly humiliated when his fiancee is forced to admit in court that her first job was as a Hooters waitress. At the end of the film, Sonny is taken to Hooters for his birthday dinner and jokes to his pals that "I'm gonna sue you assholes for making me come here." The whole thing wraps up with a Brick Joke as we see that Sonny's smug, buttoned-up ex-girlfriend is now forced to waitress there in the chain's iconic tank top and short-shorts after making an unethical career move earlier in the movie.
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, the boys get into the Battle of the Bands when the woman in charge takes pity on them for working at Pretzels 'N Cheese and because she's Rufus in disguise.
  • Chalet Girl: Former skateboard prodigy Kim has work in a fast food burger at the beginning of the movie to make ends meet, before quitting to work as a Chalet Girl.
  • In Clerks II (and at other points in Kevin Smith's verse) the fast food chain Mooby's fills this role admirably.
  • Cloud Atlas: Papa Song's Dinery where Sonmi~451 and her fellow clones work is a nightmare version of a fast food restaurant. In the novel, it's strongly implied to literally just be McDonald's, with multiple references to its "Golden Arches", the red and yellow colour scheme, and the Papa Song mascot resembling a clown. The film (very likely to avoid getting sued into oblivion) avoids this, having Papa Song look like an obese, smiling yellow Buddha-like figure, which is strongly thematically relevant on its own, given that Sonmi eventually becomes a REAL Buddha-like being in history herself and Buddha is mentioned very prominently in her story in the novel.
  • Coming to America features African prince Akeem and his manservant Semmi getting jobs at "MacDowell's" as part of an attempt to blend in. Akeem actually enjoys the work, but Semmi can't stand it.
  • Compliance is about as dark as this trope gets. The manager at a burger place gets a call from a cop telling her that a young female worker at the store has stolen something and must be strip-searched. The manager blindly follows orders. Said worker then gets subjected to increasingly perverse sexual humiliations, all at the behest of the man on the phone, who turns out to not be a cop at all. Based on a true story.
  • Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead: After the babysitter dies and the kids lose the money their mother gave them, the oldest sister first has to take a minimum wage job in a fast food joint to support the rest of her siblings because it's the only place that will hire teenagers. It's precisely because the job is so bad with so little reward that she decides to pose as an older secretary to work at a big firm instead.
  • Since it focuses on a fictional fast food chain called Hella-Burger, the slasher film Drive-Thru features a lot of these, including one played by the director of Super Size Me.
  • Vincent in Elle (at least until he quits after his girlfriend has a baby obviously not his that he insists is) is a rare non-American example.
  • The Whammyburger in Falling Down, whose employees have to put up with the customer from Hell who flips his lid over them not serving breakfast just minutes past 11:30 and complains about the false advertising of the big, juicy burgers on the menu versus the sad, soggy little burger they give him, all while he's waving a gun in the air.
  • In Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Brad works at two fast food restaurants. At the first one, he is fired after being forced into an argument by an overly demanding customer; at the second one, he quits in the midst of a delivery ... which he was required to make while wearing a pirate uniform.
  • The 1997 comedy film, Good Burger, which was based on the recurring sketch from Nickelodeon's All That. Featuring loveable idiot Ed who loves his job as much as his brain can allow, while his snarky sidekick, Dexter, is the epitome of Burger Fool. As far as fast food jobs go, the employees weren't treated badly and they all seemed to like each other and Good Burger. Their rival Mondo Burger, on the other hand, treated their employees as slaves and had a hellish boss.
  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, the title characters go to a location formerly a White Castle, to find that it has been turned into a rival chain. They ask the drive-thru attendant (Anthony Andersen) where a White Castle is, and he becomes so impressed by their determination that he flips out and trashes the restaurant.
  • In Hot Bot, Huffy and Nard work at fried fish and doughnut shack called Batter Up, which is every bit as depressing as it sounds.
  • Isi & Ossi: Isi applies to work at a burger restaurant. The supervisor is initially reluctant to hire her as most of the workers there are morons. Isi's a rich girl, and her snooty parents are horrified to find out that she works in a burger joint.
  • King of Thieves: Terry is a septuagenarian man with a job flipping burgers for an impatient supervisor.
  • In Loverboy, the protagonist tried to make money working in a place called Señor Pizza (which sold both pizza and Mexican food), where the worst part of the job was having to wear a fake moustache. (Which would probably have been a health code violation in Real Life.) During most of the movie, however, he ended up using the place as a front to make real money as a male escort, and a few of his friends at the place helped.
  • Married to the Mob has two of these; the fried chicken joint where Angela applies for a job, and the boss turns out to be a total pervert, and the clown-themed burger place where the attempt on Tony's life takes place.
  • Subverted in The Menu, where Julian's first job was at a no-name burger joint, and the only time in his life when he enjoyed cooking.
  • Musical horror comedy, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead - When a Ku Klux Klan funded military-themed fried chicken chain, The Chicken Bunker, builds a restaurant build over an ancient Indian burial ground, the chickens killed take their revenge by taking "possession" of the customers and turning them into "fowl" zombies. The restaurant is meant to be the ultimate example of Burger Fool (despite being a chicken fast-food restaurant). Includes necrophiliac chicken humping, shit-stained restrooms, skirt wearing senior male employees, masturbation in chicken grinders, delicious vats of chicken beaks and claws, cash register humping (lot of sex in here isn't there?), chicken buckets slathered with human waste and excrement, vomiting, ravenous drumsticks, acid nuggets, and the aforementioned zombie chickens.
    General Lee Roy: "The general has provided AMPLE accommodations for your displaced Indian dead. They have gone to a better place."
    [cuts to employee dumping skeletal human corpses in a common dumpster]
  • Demi Lovato's character in the Princess Protection Program, Rosie, is given a job at a Frozen Yoghurt place by the Alpha Bitch specifically to humiliate her and is sabotaged by said Alpha Bitch, but she quite rightly points out that the only person who can feel humiliation is yourself, proceeds to give the Alpha Bitch a speech and walk out with her head high.
  • Scotland, PA starts off with our heroes, the McBeths, doing soul-crushing work at Duncan's Cafe. When they eventually take over the restaurant, it's shown in one brief scene that Pat McBeth really enjoys lording it over her new underlings.
  • Ian Lafferty of Sex Drive works at a bizarre, Mexican-themed donut kiosk in the mall. Part of the job included a huge, slightly racist mascot costume. His close friends didn't hold it against him, but the punk kids at the mall would take advantage of his limited vision in the suit to stick a dildo onto the front of his costume as he wandered around.
  • Suburban Commando has a place called "Surfin' Burger", and the drive-thru guy is totally a Surfer Dude. He gives his spiel to a pair of surly alien bounty hunters who have stolen a "Just Married" car. He congratulates them on their marriage before they angrily blow up the speaker box.
  • In UHF, George and Bob are fired from "Big Edna's Burger World" after a distracted George squirts ketchup and mustard onto customers, among other screwups.
  • West Bank Story, the 2007 Academy Award winner for Best Short Film, involves what amounts to Dueling Falafel Fools—the Kosher King and the Hummus Hut—and has the young, beautiful Hummus Hut employee (the owner's sister) fall in love with an Israeli soldier, making for a pretty little musical parable about Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Yes. Did we mention that it's a parody/reworking of West Side Story?

  • In Audrey, Wait!, the main character's day job is at an ice cream shoppe called Scooper Dooper. The character introduces the uniform (bright pink hat and T-shirt) and slogan (also "Scooper Dooper!") with all the affection people might give a used piece of toilet paper.
  • Steve Chapman's "Burger Creature" is set at a nameless franchise with an overweight, greasy and perverted manager who drinks mostly-vodka screwdrivers every morning and uniforms the same color as the paper bags. One unnamed past employee quit due to "heat exhaustion aggravated by a growing fear of food."
  • The main character of Michael J. Nelson's novel Death Rat is at one point forced to work at "Medieval Burger," whose uniform includes a hat adorned with miniature battlements. The protagonist, like everyone else, is unable to figure out exactly how this helps the restaurant sell food. This mirrors his own experience. It's the job he had to pay the bills between stand-up shows before he was hired on to Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer!: The story's entire premise is that a demon king accidentally strands himself and his top demon general on Earth while pulling a Villain: Exit, Stage Left. While the general tries to find a way back home, the Demon King (Maoh) gets a job at the local MgRonalds to support them. However, the job isn't depicted as hellish at all, and Maoh ends up on the management fast-track because of his empathy for the customers, level-headed mentoring of his co-workers, and ability to stay cool under pressure. Much of the show's humor is derived from the juxtaposition of the two worlds, such as Maoh giving a "Today the night-shift manager, tomorrow the world!" speech with a completely straight face.
  • Eric Schlosser expounds on the plight of fast food employees in Fast Food Nation, noting that McDonald's entire plan is to make the job so simple and brainless that they can teach a new employee in 15 minutes, making any given employee totally expendable.
  • In Going Bovine, Cameron works at the Buddha Burger.
  • In Good Omens, Famine opens a chain of fast food restaurants named "Burger Lord." Its employees are perky, in a soulless sort of way, except for that one guy.... Of note is the food it sells. It's a reformulation of MEALS, Famine's line of microwave health dinners, called CHOW. Like MEALS, CHOW contains slightly fewer nutrients than the packaging they sell it in, causing the satisfied customer to die of malnutrition very rapidly, but the evil food scientists working for Famine have found a way to load CHOW with all manner of fat and sugar without increasing other nutritional content, meaning that customers essentially starve to death while growing morbidly obese. Famine finds this endlessly amusing.
  • A surprisingly sympathetic example occurs in Scrapped Princess, where Pacifica and crew stop at an inn and have to sell "Soopy Buns" to earn their tab. Part of the job entails dressing up as a green Barney-like mascot named "Soopy-kun" and peddling the innkeeper's wares to customers. The innkeeper is actually nice to them, and Raquel enjoys doing the work, while Pacifica tries donning the costume and winds up scaring a little boy away when the jaw of the costume falls off. Leo takes the "Soopy-kun" job for a while when Pacifica leaves, but he gets to keep it with him when he returns to the city with Winia later on.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Anxious Clown, With clown-costumed waiters, balloons, and food with names like "Surprising Chicken Salad".
  • At one point, Stephanie Plum decides to get out of bounty hunting. Among her failed alternate jobs is a one-day stint at Cluck-in-a-Bucket, goofy headgear and all. Turns out setting one's workplace on fire isn't good for continued employment.
  • Played straight and not at all for laughs in The Year of the Flood - not only are the pay and work conditions at Secret Burger abysmal, but the meat is implied to be at least some percentage of human meat, and the boss is a mobster who routinely rapes his female employees.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick quits his job at the university for a trivial reason and winds up working at a burger joint (Rusty's) because he has too much pride to apologize for his behavior. It all works itself out at the end, of course.
  • 8 Simple Rules had Kerry working at a Davey Crockett themed restaurant which offers pie Alamo'd.
  • All That has the iconic Good Burger, which was iconic enough to have its own film.
  • Alma's Not Normal has SubNGo, which the titular Alma works at when her escort job goes south. It's shown that she's only doing the job because she's unqualified and it comes with a bright yellow tacky uniform.
  • On American Horror Story: Coven, a fried-chicken variant was Queenie's job before she joined Miss Robichaux's Academy. The way she was found out as a witch was when she used her human Voodoo Doll powers to severely burn a rude customer. She considered the job so awful, when she temporarily visited an Ironic Hell, this was the form it took on.
  • The Arrowverse has Big Belly Burger and Jitters coffee shops (although the latter appears mostly on The Flash).
  • Trish from Austin & Ally is the personification of New Job as the Plot Demands, so naturally she's been a burger fool a couple times. For example, one episode sees her (and Dez) work at a pirate-themed restaurant that specializes in deep-fried food; Dez being Dez, he quickly starts seeing how much stuff he can deep fry. Eventually, when they need to get fired for plot reasons, they do so by deep-frying almost everything in the restaurant.
  • Better Call Saul follows up the statement in Breaking Bad that Saul's best case scenario after going into hiding would be "managing a Cinnabon in Omaha", showing that is exactly what happened. And it absolutely sucks, as Saul's days are filled with monotony, mediocrity, loneliness, baking buns, and the constant fear that someone will recognize him, a far cry from his famed and wealthy criminal lawyer/conman days. He eventually can't stand it anymore, and at the first opportunity, goes back to his conman ways, which leads to him being recognized, caught, and sent to supermax. He finds prison is actually better in comparison, as he's still baking goods, but he doesn't have to hide who he really is, he can get visits from his ex-wife, and his fellow prisoners respect him.
  • In Black Books, Bernard is locked out of his apartment for the night without any money and takes a job in a burger bar to get out of the rain. He doesn't even bother learning the name of the place, greeting guests with, "Welcome to... the thing. Whatever... this is." He resigns an hour later when it stops raining.
  • Breaking Bad naturally twists this in the darkest way possible with Los Pollos Hermanos, a fast food chain in the Albuquerque metro area which serves Chilean-style fried and roast chicken. Except, its owner Gus Fring uses it as a front for his real source of income - his crystal meth distribution network - and he smuggles this meth around in buckets of fry batter. Gus even uses his legitimate business to advance his drug interests—he participates heavily in the community, donates to law enforcement charities, and even caters DEA events for extra irony.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy Summers once held a job at "the Double-Meat Palace", a fast-food chain specializing in combined beef and chicken sandwiches. Her uniform, absolutely ridiculous, is topped off by the hilarious half-cow/half-chicken ball cap. At one point a vampire refuses to fight her because she smells like the restaurant's food; she stakes him out of spite. The Double-Meat Palace also subverted the usual Buffy tradition of having evil forces being behind everything bad; it turns out that the "beef-chicken sandwiches" were actually made from a cheap plant cellulose extract that's been artificially flavored to taste like real meat, rather than human flesh as Buffy thought it was. This was toned down in later episodes as several fast food chains threatened to withdraw advertisements from the show.
    • There's more. Snyder thinks this will be Buffy's future when he's being more than a Jerkass, and when she runs away from Sunnydale in "Anne", she works as a waitress in a diner, a job she returns to in the comics. In the first instance she clearly doesn't like it, though truckers groping her wouldn't help. In the latter she struggles through a combination of guilt over her actions and being Brought Down to Normal.
  • Lauren takes this job in The Catherine Tate Show and is forced to wear a squirrel mask. She gets ridiculed by her friends for working there, but naturally, she ain't bovvered.
  • McDonald's/Wac Arnold's inspirational ad skit on Chappelle's Show.
  • Chuck features the impossibly attractive female CIA agent working undercover at a Der Wienerschnitzel-type hot dog establishment in impossibly revealing Germanic attire.
  • One episode of CSI had Nick speaking to a teenage girl who was one of these. She identifies a murder suspect as the creepy middle-aged man who hit on her while she was working the drive-thru. She was doubly disgusted by the fact that he did it while his ten-year old son was sitting right next to him.
  • Designing Women used this to great effect when Mary Jo's husband, Ted, fell behind on child support. Mary Jo took a job at "Burger Guy," and eventually the whole crew had to come in and help her out. Julia, naturally, excelled at fast food customer service.
    Customer: Is the fish fresh?
    Julia: Well, let me see. You're in Burger Guy. The fish is square, compressed, breaded, and fried. It costs 89 cents. What do you think?
    Customer: I don't know.
    Julia: Yes, it's fresh.
  • Desperate Housewives:
    Lynette: Dave lost his job at the plant, and he is now handing out flyers at a chicken restaurant, and—prepare to wince—there is a chicken suit involved.
  • In one episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., Doogie tries to prove to Vinnie that he can survive working in a "degrading, dead-end" fast food job ("Burger Baby"), just like any “normal teenager” his own age. As a genius doctor, it should be undoubtedly easy for him, right?...Wrong! In fact, it’s a lot more difficult than he realizes.
  • Ren of Even Stevens worked at a toast store and successfully lobbied for better working conditions.
  • Eddie on Family Matters works at Mighty Weenie and he wears a hat that has a hot dog on top.
  • Freddy's Nightmares had an example in the first segment of the second episode, "It's a Miserable Life". The main character is a fry cook there and the son of the owner, and it's quite obvious that he would rather be anywhere than the restaurant, especially the art school he's applied to.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ashley works at Dippity Doo Dog (based on Hot Dog On A Stick listed under Real Life, below) and wears a ridiculous red and yellow outfit complete with silly hat.
  • The Canadian series Fries With That? was set in a fast food restaurant. Only the assistant manager really enjoyed his job.
  • PJ has his job at Kwikky Chikky in Good Luck Charlie.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: Ash's employment at the Juicenet "coincides" with the Juicenet's employees suddenly requiring a uniform and a catchphrase. Emma, who had been working there for months, is unimpressed with both. Rikki, on the other hand, can't hold back her laughter.
  • Hangin' with Mr. Cooper had an episode where one of Mark's students drops out of school to get a job working at a place called Clown Burger. Mark convinces him to come back to school by being as obnoxious a customer as he could be and remain the protagonist on a family-friendly sitcom (then pointing out that the kid will be stuck dealing with obnoxious customers for the rest of his life if he stays in his job).
  • Hang Time features Julie and Mary-Beth selling corn dogs in outfits that are surprisingly much more Fanservice-y than dorky. They look more like cheerleader costumes than your typical fast food outfit depicted on a sitcom might. However, Mary Beth lampshaded this trope by threatening to beat up anyone who laughed at her outfit (not that they would have anyway).
  • In season 2 of How I Met Your Mother, Lily takes a job as a waitress in a Hawaïan restaurant; she has to wear a local costume and welcome customers (among whom are her friends) with "Aloha".
  • iCarly:
    • Sam gets a job at Chilly My Bowl, to pay $500 back to Carly and Freddie.
    • Carly gets a job at the Groovy Smoothie in another episode.
  • While one isn't expressly shown in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the Ju Ju Burger Gashat is designed to invoke this kind of appearance on its user. When Emu uses it, it grants a pair of rollerskates and a helmet, armor that's designed to look like a burger and a set of ketchup and mustard guns on the wrists. The game itself is about collecting burger ingredients to feed a monster, and as a result, it proves crucial for pacifying the Monster of the Week.
  • Alternately Played for Laughs and Played for Drama in the episode of Knight Rider which introduced KITT's Psycho Prototype KARR: At one point KARR has to go through the drive-thru of a circus-themed joint, complete with a cartoonishly bulbous ringmaster's head for an order box and a lengthy welcoming script the poor shlub at the cash register has to recite. This part is played for laughs; but KARR, who has no idea what any of this is, freaks out and crashes through the menu/order box, which is played for drama when Michael shows up to investigate and is arrested for vandalism.
  • The entire premise of the short-lived comedy Life On A Stick. (Okay, more like the framing, but still...)
  • In an episode of Living Single, Synclaire quits Flavor after a fight with Khadijah, and winds up at the Turkey Burger Hut, in a uniform complete with winged, turkey-shaped hat. The job is short-lived.
    Synclaire: When I found out the turkey nuggets were all nugget, no turkey, I couldn't keep silent!
  • Lost: before Hurley won the lottery, he worked at Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack. He was notably incompetent as well.
  • Malcolm in the Middle had an episode where Reese gets his first job at such an establishment, in which there's a system whereby employees routinely pocket small amounts of money, and Reese is falsely accused of abusing this system.
  • Married... with Children:
    • As if his first job wasn't humiliating enough, Al Bundy (then Peg, after Al finds out that Peg's make-up selling job is costing her more money than she's making) was forced to take a second job as a cook at Burger Trek in one episode. The burgers are made out of kangaroo, the special sauce is mixed in a plastic trash can from a noxious powder made from something that washes out the color on tomatoes, and Al is constantly berated by an obnoxious manager half his age (played by Pauly Shore) for forgetting to say "Whoosh" when he drops the burger down the chute.
    • Al's daughter Kelly gets a couple of these jobs as well. One involves her working as a roller-skating waitress at "Bill's Hilltop Drive-In", where she's fired out of a chute and ends up flying down the expressway before crashing into the front door of the Bundy house. Another one has her working as a waitress at a more generic diner. She ends up adopting some of her father's mannerisms, including crying "Oh God!" at how crappy her job is, or putting her hand down her skirt when she gets home after a hard day.
  • In Season 3 of Martin, after Martin loses his radio job, the unemployment office places him at the “Hoochie Burger” drive-thru window. He quits almost immediately.
    Martin: Welcome to Hoochie Burger, May I take your order please?
    Customer: [Unintelligible]
    Martin: I’m sorry ma’am, but I can’t hear you, you’re gonna have to speak directly into the hoochie.
  • Nickelodeon's puppet-sitcom Mr. Meaty revolves around the hijinks of two teenaged employees of the eponymous fast-food franchise.
  • In an episode of My Name Is Earl, the title character works at a local fast food restaurant where the boss is a huge jerk and treats his employees like crap, as well as cheating on his wife and stealing from work until Earl punches him in the face, where he ends up in hospital, gets kicked out by his wife and ends up in jail..
  • On NewsRadio Lisa once went undercover at a burger joint to expose health violations. She ends up becoming manager and seriously considered quitting journalism, only to lose the job when she is accused of the very thing she was trying to uncover in the first place.
  • The Chicken Coop where Saskia works in Noah and Saskia. Theresa, the manager, treats selling fried chicken at the mall as some sort of sacred calling.
  • Vivian in Paradise City (the follow up to American Satan) works in a Subway-style restaurant, to help support herself, her mother, and her baby. She quits in spectacular fasion.
  • One forgettable (well, they would like to forget it) episode of Power Rangers Turbo had Divatox getting amnesia in an accident, getting lost, and working in a pizza place called Mad Mike's Pizzeria. (Still, as embarrassing as it was for her, what the heroes had to go through after that was even worse, and I'm sure most fans of the franchise would speak for all five of them by saying, Let Us Never Speak of This Again.)
  • Dave Lister of Red Dwarf dreams of starting his own fast food restaurant, even going so far as to design the silly hat. The dream falls by the wayside long before there's the remotest chance of the restaurant itself becoming a reality, but not before an episode in which a race of super-evolved housecats build their religion around it.
  • Roseanne does a stint at a chicken joint as one of her many odd jobs over the series to keep her family afloat. It's not too bad, but her barely legal boss has a superiority complex and can't understand how her family comes before her responsibility to him. The family actually makes more fun of her when she gets a job sweeping hair at a salon. Notable in that the episode, "Chicken Delight" was written by Joss Whedon.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Sabrina the Sandman", Sabrina takes a job at Pork on a Pole, where she not only has to wear an embarrassing uniform, but she also has to buy it.
  • Scoundrels (2010): After he mother forbids any of the rest to continue their criminal activities, Heather is forced to work as a waitress for a burger joint, much to her humiliation. Her Girl Posse is quick to mock her for it too.
  • In the second season of Sister, Sister, Tia and Tamera are dissatisfied with working for Tamera's dad Ray at his limo washing business, so they both get jobs at Rocket Burger.
  • One of the most memorable sketches from The State, "Service with a Smile", took place at the insanely-hostile Burger Hut, where a potential customer is scared off by the cashier's screaming of orders to Carl, the Butt-Monkey cook ("CHICKEN SANDWICH, CARL!"). He asks to see the manager, who threatens physical violence against the cashier for his actions, before the owner breaks down the door and trashes the entire staff.
  • Season three of Stranger Things had Steve working at an ice cream shop in the new Starcourt Mall called Scoops Ahoy. While it's technically not fast food, it still otherwise meets every element of this trope, right down to Steve's ridiculous sailor uniform. In an ad teasing the Starcourt Mall, he and his co-worker Robin look distinctly unenthused about doing the ad.
  • On The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Maddy works at a fast food restaurant to supplement her income from the Tipton candy counter in one episode. London briefly joins her as an employee, then buys the chain in order to get back at the overbearing manager.
  • ''Supernatural: In Season 5, a teenager with a degrading fast food job utilizes witchcraft to switch bodies with Sam Winchester, who is not at all pleased to be in the body of an awkward, gluten-intolerant virgin who is controlled by his parents. The teenager, however, enjoys looking like Sam Winchester, driving the Impala, Dean's classic rock and the ghost hunt he goes on before Dean realizes that this isn't his brother.
  • That '70s Show :
    • Fatso Burger, Eric's temporary job in season 1, is mediocre, he has a silly outfit, and his boss is embarrassing. He's afraid to quit because his hardass father Red wants him to learn responsibility and all that stuff, even though his girlfriend and mother both try hard to get him to quit. Eventually he does quit, and Red doesn't mind.
    • Jackie subverts this trope when she's forced to get a job at a cheese shop. The job doesn't seem all that bad, but as a Spoiled Brat Jackie is upset at having to work in the first place. Being teased by Hyde doesn't help her attitude out either. She does cheer up quite a bit, however, when she gets her first paycheck.
  • That's So Raven:
    • Averted with The Chill Grill, Victor Baxter's restaurant. It's a popular teen hangout, and Raven and Chelsea even get jobs there, but the food is delicious and the uniforms are stylish (though that has something to do with Raven, an aspiring fashion designer, having a hand in making them).
    • Played straight in "Food for Thought", but rather oddly, in that the greasy, sugary fast food isn't in a restaurant, but a school cafeteria. Specifically, a company called Trans-Infinity Farms becomes the local high school's new food supplier, and offers the teens disgustingly huge portions of unhealthy food (including a yard-long hot dog, a stack of pancakes drowning in chocolate syrup, and deep-fried lettuce as a "healthy" option). In an aversion of the usual treatment of this trope, nearly everyone at the school (with the exception of Chelsea) initially loves the new menu—that is, until Raven has a vision of a Big, Fat Future in which every student develops a gigantic ass from eating nothing but junk.
  • The Worst Year of My Life, Again has The Burger Palace, where Alex's parents take him every year for his birthday treat. All of the staff dress in faux medieval costume (and Howe works there part-time). In this case, it is more that Alex is embarrassed to be seen dining there. The staff actually seem quite enthusiastic.


  • One of the targets for the rampaging skeleton army in Bone Busters is a fast-food hamburger restaurant, complete with clown-headed drive-thru.


    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Battletech, there's mention of Federated Fast Food restaurants in sourcebooks. They offer mystery meat burgers throughout the Federated Suns, with varying toppings. It makes an appearance in the Harebrained Schemes game as a random event.
  • In the d20 Urban Arcana setting, one of the organizations is a children's fast food restaurant called the Prancing Pony (the same name as a tavern located in Shadowdale in the Forgotten Realms setting, for some unexplained reason) which notes that GMs should not have its players join it (as it would offer a McJob and nothing more).
  • Deconstructed in Unknown Armies, where the co-conspirators of Mak Attax (who to a one work at "The Scotsman") are actually part of an organization dedicated to bringing about a "magical renaissance" by unleashing small doses of magickal energy into people's food, then watching the results (and occasionally helping the victims if the results go bad). They're probably the largest, probably the least competent, and probably the most benign secret conspiracy within the setting. Despite this seeming aversion of the dullness of Burger Fool work, the game is pretty clear that not only do you still have to contend with that soul-crushing banality (which costs them conspirators) but also that the conspiracy stuff itself isn't as much fun as it sounds.
    • On the other hand, despite the monotony and the skepticism they get from the rest of the Occult Underground, they managed to use "the Scotsman" to pull off one of the most successful magical rituals of recent memory by aligning the "chakra points" of the American consciousness.
  • Old World of Darkness RPG Werewolf: The Apocalypse has the burger chain O'Tolley's as a subsidiary to Pentex. While many of its restaurants are relatively normal, there are also some which slip evil spirits or the other white meat in the burgers, and transform their employees into spiritually possessed freaks. All of them, however, conform to the standards laid out by this page. As the splatbooks say: In most part-time jobs, teenagers learn vital business skills, decision making and other abilities that will help them in life. While working for O'Tolley's, they learn to make burgers. Period.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: At Skopp City, there's Martho's Mega Burger Joint, which is mentioned to be in bankruptcy after the owner went mad and ate all the burgers. The inside of the shop has it riddled with trash and its only employee is a robot passing the time by stacking up cans.
  • Banjo-Tooie has two snack food stands in Witchy World. Both proprietors are unhygienic as hell, coughing and sneezing over the food. Fortunately the bear and bird don't have to eat it, they give it to some kids and some cavemen.
  • Billy vs. SNAKEMAN has Burgerninja (not actually staffed by ninja, originally; the player sort of gets in by accident), where the food is disgusting and the customers are horrible. The biggest challenge when you run the till is to keep yourself from killing the customers in a fit of rage. Eventually you end up burning the place down with a giant robot and taking your coworkers to start a pizza shop instead, which works so much better. (The food is better and your manager allows you to stab problem customers.)
  • In Bully, Jimmy gets a job at a place like this where he has to dress up in an awful yellow and red uniform with a hat shaped like a box of fries and deliver burgers.
  • The main character in Chickens of Distinction has a job standing outside the Chunky Chicken Poultry Palace in a chicken suit and making comments like "Thank you for choosing Chunky Chicken. We hope you gave it five clucks out of five." Typing "examine self" gives you the description "You're wearing a damn chicken suit. You look like an idiot."
  • Cho Chabudai Gaeshi: One of the stages in the game takes place at a fast-food restaurant, where you play a put-upon employee driven to table-flipping rage by your rude, pushy customers.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 managed a reference to both Burger King and McDonald's by having a fast-food restaurant called "McBurger Kong". With a giant ape on the roof, and bananas forming a shape reminiscent of the McDonald's M. Hilariously, if you occupy it, the ape gets a bandana and when the building is sufficiently damaged, it cowers in fear with its hands protecting its face.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • Crash Tag Team Racing gave Nina a "Part-Timer" costume, which fits this trope to a T.
    • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has Toxic Burger and Nuclear Pizza, both of which were introduced in the Gasmoxia Grand Prix. Apparently they're both pretty crap places to work at if this line from Drive-Thru Danger is any indication.
      (in a bored, deadpan tone) "Welcome to Toxic Burger, can I take your order?"
  • The "Mmm, Bison!" restaurant chain in Dead State was presumably one of these before the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective: The Chicken Kitchen. The uniforms are camp, yet the restaurant seems unusually expensive.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has multiple ridiculous fast food restaurants. Burger Shot and Cluckin' Bell in particular both equip their employees with ridiculous headgear (at least those in Well-Stacked Pizza, another major fastfood chain, have regular caps); this seems to have had a particularly harrowing effect on Cluckin' Bell's employees. OG Loc, a friend of CJ, is assigned to Burger Shot by his parole agreement as a "hygiene technician" (aka janitor), and one early mission involves getting caught in a drive-by at a local Cluckin' Bell drive-thru (a drive-by in which Big Smoke refuses to participate, because he's too busy eatingnote ).
    Cluckin' Bell Employee: Cluckety fuck. Place your order.
    Cluckin' Bell Employee: I hope you choke-a-doodle-doo!
    Cluckin' Bell Employee: If you come back, you're a moron.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, we learn that Cluckin' Bell's chicken-suited mascot has a name: Cluck Norris! Apparently, he's also a martial-arts master...
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound (1994): Several NPCs throughout the game work a fast-food shops, and Frank Fly gets a job doing this in the ending.
    • Mother 3: New Pork City's burger joint is handled by malfunctioning robot waitresses.
  • In No More Heroes, there's a fast food joint just outside of Travis' hotel named "Burger Suplex", which also keeps the flow of naming many landmarks after pro wrestling moves. It's engaged in a shadow war with the incroaching "Pizza Butt" franchise, and there are three assassination jobs where you pick off Pizza Butt executives at their request. This turns out to be a major plot point in the sequel: Jasper Butt Jr. is the Big Bad, and the men you assassinated were his father and two brothers.
  • Saints Row has Freckle Bitch's, featuring radio commercials with a chain-smoking, raspy-voiced, middle-aged broad hawking its greasy wares. The special New Zealand/Australia only collectors edition of Saints Row 2 is a large white box with Freckle Bitch herself in a suggestive position on the top. Oh yeah, just try and carry that out of the video game shop without getting noticed.
  • Snuckey's in Sam & Max Hit the Road is a Burger Fool whose employment policies cater to the sort of poor slob who actually aspires to Burger Fooldom. In each of the three locations you can visit is a curiously identical relative of Bernard Bernoulli who will have the same conversation with you. He's a graduate of the bachelor program at Snuckey University and is thus qualified to jerk soda, cook burgers, and open difficult jars, but if he wants to make manager he'll have to enroll in their postgraduate program.
  • The Sims 2 has the Culinary career, which starts you off in one of these and has you work your way up the ladder to Celebrity Chef status.
    • The University expansion has the Philosophy major's final semester. "Senior Thesis: Preparing for the Fast-Food Industry". Amusingly, Philosophy is the major indicated to be best for the aforementioned Culinary career.
  • Space Quest gives us various appearances of Monolith Burger, sporting a big yellow M to boot. In the third game you visit a franchise that has its own small space station. The fourth game has you assembling burgers via mini-game in a different franchise to acquire much-needed credits. You are guaranteed to be fired from the restaurant, being literally thrown out by the manager, once the burgers move too fast to properly assemble.
  • Splatter Master has its second boss be a giant animated burger joint robot, dressed in the stereotypical burger fool outfit (complete with a hat and logo) who attacks by flinging exploding burgers on your character. Said fight takes place near a burger joint, and from inside the bulding occasionally some imp flunkies will show up to assist the boss.
  • Rather amusingly, the Starbound mod Frackin' Universe has a fast food chain that's literally called "Burger Fool". The tooltip for its crafting station pretty much says it as it is.
    "Overpriced, crappy burgers, fries and expired milk with bees."
  • In Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, when Nate ponders what it'd be like to work for a "paranoid psychopath" like Henry Avery, Elena jokes that it sounds like her first boss. Nate assumes that her first boss was a TV producer, but much to his amusement, Elena reveals that it was her manager at a place called Macho Nacho.
  • Undertale has the MTT-Brand Burger Emporium in Hotlands, owned and operated by showbiz-crazed robot Mettaton. The food served includes "glamburgers", hamburgers made with sequins and glitter, and a steak cut in the shape of Mettaton's face. The cashier is a cynical, neurotic wannabe actor known as Burgerpants (named so after an incident where he smuggled some burgers in his pants and attempted to bring them to another vendor) who is clearly tired of the forced cheeriness that comes with his position. His job had ground him down so badly he hardly reacts if you threaten him during a No Mercy run, dryly remarking "I can't go to hell. I'm all out of vacation days."
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Slater is thoroughly uninterested in his job at a 24-hour convenience store. If you order your Grapple juice with a side of sidearm, he's your Friend in the Black Market, out of boredom as much as anything else.
    "'Sup. Oh, and welcome to the Red Spot, home of the Monstro Chug, 72 ounces of your favorite beverage for 89 cents, blah blah."

    Web Animation 
  • On Homestar Runner, the fast-food restaurant "Blubb-O's", which may just consist of a non-sequitur-spouting drive-thru speaker box ("Sever your leg, please, it's the greatest day.") in the middle of nowhere. Coach Z wears a whale costume at one point, and mangles the speaker box's creepy catch phrase to make it creepier ("I'll chop off your legs!") The chain is evidently endorsed by a hip-hop artist who promotes their "Thick n' Nasty" burger. (EEEEEEEEUNGH!) Strong Bad also wears a hot-dog-shaped "sad clown" mascot costume (the "Crying Clown-Dog") at one point to advertise Bubs' Concession Stand.
    Strong Bad: Okay, then I quit.
    Bubs: Fine! But don't even think about swiping that costume!
    Strong Bad: Uh, you made me buy this costume.
    Bubs: Oh! Pleasure doing business with you, then.
  • James, a.k.a. TheOdd1sOut, worked at Subway (or as he called it, Sooubway) for about a year, and has managed to squeeze a lot of comedy out of the misery he endured there. He believes that everyone should hold either a fast food or retail job for at least six months at least once in their lifetime, so they can understand what sort of crap minimum wage workers have to put up with. Incidentally, James states that he made more money talking about his experiences at Subway than he did actually working at Subway.
  • Sam & Mickey have Skipper get a job at McBurgers, a fast food restaurant with a manager who doesn't really seem to care about customers' health (French fries come in three portion sizes: Large, Extra Large, and Jumbo. The lattermost comes with 17x as many fries as an Extra Large portion, and a diabetes pamphlet of unspecified usefulness.) or work ethics (at the end, Skipper bribes the manager into letting her stay, even after her parents/"big sister and her ex" Barbie and Ken cause a scene.).
  • Sonic for Hire: Sonic gets a job working at BurgerTime alongside Knuckles. The first time, he soils Eggman's food before quitting. The second time, he burns the place down after getting high on crack.
  • Sublo and Tangy Mustard is about two guys working as costumed fast-food mascots at a sandwich shop Subpar.

    Web Comics 
  • An early comic in Bob and George (a hand-drawn one) had George working at McBoogers. The author actually stated that everyone should work in fast food at least once to see things from the other side of the counter.
  • Bruno the Bandit has a chain called Archio's which is owned by a chaos god. Bruno once managed to successfully hold up one of their franchises by threatening to have Fiona, who worked at one briefly reveal what was in the secret sauce.
  • Alex Williams, the titular Captain SNES: The Game Masta works at the local sub shop.
  • Freefall has the Cricket Burger. Since terraforming is still in its early stages for Planet Jean, they have to use insect meat for the foreseeable future, as reflected in the name and motif of the chain. Mr. Kornada, as a punishment for a particularly brutish stunt he tried to pull, is sentenced to a thousand days of working there. However, he's to receive a work grade above "Average" for it to count...
  • Furry Experience: Ronnie works at a place called Gulp-N-Go, where they put the cooking grease into the coffee for that extra kick, and have everything on the menu from instant weight-gain to heart attacks. Ronnie's a fitness major, by the way.
  • Thea's job as a wiener snack seller in Girls with Slingshots.
  • In Kevin & Kell Lindesfarne spent a summer working at herbivore franchise McRoughage back when she still thought she was a porcupine. The worst part of the job was when ruminant customers reclaimed the cud they'd deposited earlier in the day.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes has Keith get a job when the league is forced to find additional sources of income besides Lazer Pony's disability cheque. After insisting his college degree will make the job search easy, he ends up working at a burger joint. He then wonders if this is his Start of Darkness.
  • Blob Boy in Marco & Marty. It literally serves blobs. If the cashier doesn't hand them off immediately, it fuses to their hands.
  • Half of the strip Phil Likes Tacos is about gaming and the way people treat gamers. The other half is about this trope, though the emphasis on the hell that is customers, coworkers, and the clueless decisions of corporate management makes it pretty clear that the author has actually 'been there' instead of just working off stereotypes seen on TV.
  • In Questionable Content, Pizza Girl's outfit may be a part of this, or she may just be a Super Hero who delivers pizzas.
  • In Shotgun Shuffle Ellie's first day at O'Jacks leaves her crying in the bathroom(and watched by a lurker employee in an adjoining stall.)
  • In Sluggy Freelance Gwynn had to work at Burger Meister before getting her job at the zombie themed restaurant, and the snooty waiter also had to work there when the expensive restaurant burned down. Despite the low pay and ridiculous uniform, he's still as unbelievably insulting to the customers as ever.
  • After losing his job at the comic shop and being denied unemployment insurance, Mike of Something*Positive picks up a job at a local frog-themed burger chain. The usual problems of stupid customers and paradoxical corporate bureaucracy ("the bathrooms must be sparkling clean, but we'll charge you for using cleaning supplies more than once a month") set in quickly. The fact that he accepts this fate stoically and almost cheerfully indicates some very impressive character development, though.
    • Mike later finds employment at a different fast-food joint, and is surprised (and a little disturbed) to find that it's an aversion of this. The manager specifically tells Mike that being an employee there doesn't mean he has to take crap from anyone, customer or not.
  • The eponymous restaurant of Wonder Weenies has the themed shirts (which come in two sizes, "regular" and "irregular"), paper hats (which only Murrey wears), and general ridicule.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: Burger McFlipster's, The restaurant itself appears to be a combination parody of McDonald's and Burger King.
  • One episode of American Dad! has Hayley become an assistant manager at a Subway-esque sandwich shop. She finds the job too demanding and monotonous, not helped by how Stan tells her in no uncertain terms that [she will spend the rest of her life trapped in that demeaning, mind-numbingly repetitive dead-end job with no prospects for a life beyond her employment — except Stan thinks that's a good thing because he's spent his whole life obsessively conforming to outdated societal norms, thus his unsophisticated belief that a stable job is all you need for a happy, successful life. The grueling nature of Hayley's employment is cemented when Hayley's boss cheerfully tells her to put away her phone because she's not allowed to think about the outside world.
  • An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force revolved around Frylock and Shake getting a job at "Slurp-a-Lunch", a restaurant which serves smoothies made from pureed meat.
    • The characters themselves originated in the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode Baffler Meal, where they were the mascots of a restaurant called Burger Trench which (according to Moltar and Zorak) didn't have very good food. Schedule Slip and Executive Meddling over the supposed Spotlight-Stealing Squad nature of the Aqua Teens in the episode made it air after ATHF debuted, however. Remnants of the original script ended up evolving into Kentucky Nightmare.
  • Babar; during Race to the Moon, the Handyman suggests they tear the playhouse down and turn it into a bistro entitled McBabar'snote , much to Babar's dismay.
  • Beavis And Butthead work at Burger World, which is a fairly realistic amalgamation of the McDonald's and Burger King fast food franchises. The usual humiliation aspect is absent, as the store is just another place for the boys to take their roughhousing and Toilet Humor such as frying up worms and throwing meat patties around. The job is still horrible, but they're just too stupid to notice. Their Manager is treated as sympathetic in that he only yells at them because they deserve it. Oddly, he doesn't ever fire them, even when their pranks once caused the health inspectors to close the store.
  • Butt-Ugly Martians featured a recurring character named Ronald, who was a total dweeb working at a fast food restaurant called the Quantum Burger. About the only highlight in his life is that he gets to heap praise on his hero Stoat Muldoon due to Stoat being one of the establishment's regular customers.
  • Carl² had the pirate-themed Buccaneer Burger, complete with humiliating costumes. Unsurprisingly, C2 thought it was great place to work.
  • Danny Phantom had Nasty Burger which is frequently referenced, including a special where a ghost was threatening to kill all of Danny's loved ones by overheating the special nasty sauce (no, "overheating the special nasty sauce" is not an Unusual Euphemism) to kill them. The main character doesn't take a job there to learn any form of An Aesop or some such. Nope, it's just his Local Hangout.
    "Nasty Burger, it's just one letter away from tasty!"
    • There is one character who takes a job there, but it's done to show how bad off her family is financially.
  • In Dan Vs. Burgerphile, we learn that about 70% of Dan's diet consists of Burgerphile food. Despite the title, Dan's grudge is only limited to the Married to the Job manager who refuses to admit that he got Dan's order wrong. Notably, Dan actually likes Hortense the register girl who likes him back.
  • Daria, in the episode "It Happened One Nut", had to work at "It's a Nutty, Nutty World", and announce her enthusiasm about nuts to every customer. Squirrels started to attack her because she smelled like nuts as well.
    • In the episode "Mart of Darkness", where several characters find themselves in a Sam's Club-style superstore one weekend afternoon, Daria and Jane find the uber-goth, Andrea, working in a wholesale club in full uniform. She's deathly afraid they will mock her for having that kind of job, as she is aware that Daria and Jane are the school's queens of snark. However, she is pleasantly surprised when the girls reassure her that they understand her position and promise not to tell anyone.
  • Averted on DC Super Hero Girls, where Barbara Gordon genuinely enjoys working at Burrito Bucket, as does Barry Allen at Sweet Justice.
  • Doug had the Honker Burger, which was a hangout but also managed to have a small bit of satire here and there. In one episode, Doug learns that the giant burger mascot everyone torments is his neighbor Mr. Dink. He spends some time in the suit, seeing how cruel the teasing can be, and ultimately wins peoples' respect by using the suit's buoyancy to save somebody from drowning.
  • Family Guy has a McDonald's Expy called McBurgertown, though the episode focuses more on the restaurant's inhumane methods of slaughtering animals.
  • In a flashback sequence in G.I. Joe: Renegades, we learn that Duke briefly worked the drive-through of a fast food joint between high-school and the Army. Flint rubs it in when he isn't bragging about the tackle he'd landed on Duke at a football game that won his school a state championship. Subverted at the end of the scene when Flint sees Duke leaving for home on crutches; knowing the injury is his fault, he realizes he's being cruel and offers Duke a ride.
  • Despite the kids being too young to get a job at local place Slausen's on Hey Arnold!, it doesn't mean that the joint is free of squeaky-voiced teens (voiced by Dan Castellaneta, of course).
  • Invader Zim gets put in a fast-food restaurant thrice. Each of which portray fast food chains as horrible and disgusting to an absurd, terrifying degree:
    • In "Career Day", he winds up at McMeaties, and thinks that he'll eventually be promoted to ruler of Earth.
    • In "The Frycook What Came From All That Space", he is kidnapped and sent to the dreaded Foodcourtia, a Planet of Hats that serves the sole function of feeding aliens from elsewhere. He has to escape before the dreaded "Foodening", when a flood of customers makes it impossible to leave for twenty years due to the gravity pull (a time warp thing is involved too or something).
    • In "Germs", Zim's germophobic antics lead him to McMeaties again, where he discovers that the meat is germ-free. After asking an employee he discovers that the meat was NASA-developed SPAAAAAAACE MEEEEEEAT! But since they couldn't actually afford SPAAAAAAACE MEEEEEEAT, they made them out of NAPKINS.
    • In "Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain," GIR goes on a rampage to order food at Crazy Taco.
    • To make it worse, one of Zim's various Weaksauce Weaknesses is a horrific allergy to meat.
  • Invincible: Mark initially worked at BurgerMart before his superhero duties happily made him decide to quit.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy, with his friends, Sheen, and Carl start working at McSpanky's. Ironically, Skeet, the Employee of the Month, considers Jimmy to be the idiot of the group, and forces him to stand outside the restaurant wearing a hamburger suit, repeating the phrase: "If you want cheap food with taste, put McSpanky's in your face."
  • Kaeloo: Episode 64 has Mr. Cat start a McDonald's parody called McDaubenote  and rope Stumpy into working there; throughout the episode, Stumpy is horribly abused in various ways.
  • On Kim Possible, the pseudo-Mexican eatery "Bueno Nacho" figures heavily in the series, but the second episode has Kim and Ron move behind the counter. Kim, usually the best at everything, fails, while Ron invents a hybrid foodstuff called the "Naco" (nacho + taco) that becomes a running gag in the series, and earns a promotion to manager. The Naco sets up another episode plot, when the BN Inc. management send Ron a royalty check for $99 million. Which was doubly hilarious in Mexico, considering what Naco means there...
  • King of the Hill played this to the hilt with Bobby's first job, selling food at racing events. Too bad his boss is a brain-damaged psychopath who demands Bobby refund him when his bad math shows an impossibly large loss, tries to force Bobby to run across an active racetrack to bring him a soda, and can't even remember the kid's name. When Bobby complained to his Dad, Hank assumes Bobby just wants to quit and was told to suck it up and enjoy it for the sake of building character. It's only later Hank realizes everything Bobby said was true, and gives the Boss a beat-down.
  • On Metalocalypse, Nathan has a nightmare that his bandmates are all killed during a show, and he ends up working at a burger joint (Dimmu Burger, named after Dimmu Borgir) due to his never finishing high school - and he's bad at that job.
  • An episode of Mona the Vampire sees Mona and her friends doing work experience at their local branch of Bim-Burger, where Mona suspects it's a front for an alien invasion and their secret sauce is a mind-control formula.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "Stranger Than Fan Fiction", a background pony running a juice bar is seen, sporting a silly hat and an expression that can cut glass. She only cracks a smile when it's evident someone's having a worse day than she is.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Not So Awesome Blossom", Blossom starts working at a rather low-grade hot-dog place after suffering a Heroic BSoD. When Mojo calls to make his demands, he actually rubs her nose in it by telling her to bring him two hot dogs. ("And don't forget the ketchup!" he adds.)
  • Rocko's Modern Life had a restaurant called Chokey Chicken (later Retconned to "Chewy Chicken" due to the censors finally noticing), which specifically parodied the omnipresent nature of places like McDonald's. One great example is the episode where Rocko brings Heffer to France and tries to get him to try some new cuisine. They just end up eating at a Chokey Chicken that has been built into the Eiffel Tower.
  • In the Rugrats (1991) episode, "Hold the Pickles", Taffy takes the babies to Boingo Burger, a fast-food restaurant where her friend Britannica works as a cashier, for lunch. Although Britannica seems to enjoy her job there, her manager does not, and sees her as a slacker despite all the hard work and friendly service she does.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Krusty Burger is the biggest example, complete with pimple-faced geeky teens working there (and, in one case, an elderly man [Grampa Simpson]). The "secret sauce" is actually mayonnaise that's been left out in the sun all day. And as George H. W. Bush points out in "Two Bad Neighbors," the name "Krusty Burger" itself isn't all that appetizing. Krusty himself is disgusted by the product; when he has to take a bite out of one while filming a commercial, he spits it out after the director yells "Cut!" then takes a swig of whiskey, then spits out the whiskey, saying through a sickened expression, "gonna be tasting that for weeks!" The boondocks outside Springfield are apparently home to even less savory chains, with names like "Burger Place", "Skobo's", and "Dimwillie's".
    • In the Flashback episode "I Married Marge", Homer worked at a place called "Gulp N Blow" which was just as bad. (They wouldn't even tell him what was in their secret sauce.)
    • The "Future-Drama" episode has Lisa starting Hot Dog on a Stick management camp.
  • Jeremy from Phineas and Ferb works at Slushy Dawg, where their motto is "Slushy Dawg will never get any better", unless he's working at Slushy Burger, whose motto is "Pickles so green and meat so brown, Lunchtime's fun with Slushy the Clown!" Despite all this, they're both pretty nice places and Jeremy seems happy working there.
  • Dave the Intern from Sonic Boom works at one of these, implied to be the only one on the island. Despite the fact we never see his boss, Dave never seems to get a break (figuratively and literally). Dave's years of working a minimum wage fast food job have turned him into a Big Bad Wannabe, though his complete ineptitude at it makes him a Harmless Villain, aside from maybe intentionally screwing up his customers' orders.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is probably the best-known series to not use this as a one- or two-time thing, but as a regular plot-driver and setting for roughly half the main cast; indeed, one common complaint about the later seasons is that the Krusty Krab gets too much focus. How sucky the place is (on either side of the counter) varies; Spongebob consistently loves the job, Squidward hates it with a passion, and Mr. Krabs flip-flops between Jerk with a Heart of Gold Team Dad to Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk Pointy-Haired Boss depending on what the plot needs at the moment (he once refused to light half the restaurant to save on electricity).
  • The Trope Namer is from Static Shock, and is a thin parody of "Burger King". The uniform includes a motley hat with bells. Virgil Hawkins is forced to work there by his father, who is "unaware" of the significant commitment Virgil has to his "charity work".
  • Steven Universe:
    • Played with and ultimately subverted concerning Peedee's job at Beach Citywalk Fries: It's a Family Business (he'd be too young to work there otherwise), so he's really doing it because he's The Dutiful Son. Though he's introduced being miserable with his work in "Frybo", it's really just because the job he's given is to promote the store wearing a mascot costume. After he gets a counter position (and the Frybo costume is destroyed), Peedee loves his job almost too much.
    • Lars and Sadie work at the Big Donut, the food place Steven visits the most. Though it doesn't seem a terrible place to work, they're implied to have kept working there for years only because, despite appearances, they enjoy each other's company. Once Lars is out of town and off-planet, Sadie has to run the store herself. The workload and loneliness really get to her, and she calls it a dull waste of her youth. Despite this, Sadie keeps at it purely to maintain a sense of normalcy before quitting entirely.
  • The waitresses in the resort restaurant in Stōked! have to dress in pirate wench costumes, and put up with some extremely entitled customers.
  • Super Mario World (1991) had King Koopa open a fast-food joint, Scoopa Koopa's. While working there wasn't too terrible, the food itself was addictive, calorie-filled, and had nasty side-effects that turned customers into chickadactyls. Koopa's ultimate plan was to turn everyone into chickens and open a second restaurant to sell them as fried chicken.
  • Taz-Mania: Taz takes a job at the Burger Thing after he quits the show in "But Is It Taz?". It includes a geriatric employee who has taken more that 20 years to make 'Employee of the Month'.
  • Teen Titans, "Employee of the Month": Beast Boy goes to work at "Mega Meaty Meat", a restaurant wherein everything from shakes to fries is apparently made of meat. A staunch vegetarian ("I've been most of those animals!"), Beast Boy sticks with it (in the hopes of winning the moped being offered as prize for "Employee of the Month"), and discovers that the eatery is actually a front for a sentient tofu monster from space. No, really! Suffice to say, it just gets weirder from there. Even the creators have no idea what was going on in that episode.
  • An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had Buster and Babs working at Weenie Burger (the series' fast food parody), complete with the overbearing boss and Montana Max deciding to be the customer from Hell.
    "Weenie Burgers are so much fun to eat! If you look real hard you might even find the meat!"
  • The Toy Story short "Small Fry" takes place inside a fast food restaurant called Poultry Palace, which features ''Buzz Lightyear of Star Command'' Fun Meal toys (including a mini Buzz Lightyear toy whose act of trying to replace the Buzz we all know and love was the main focus of the short and a mini Zurg toy), as well as several discarded Fun Meal toys who secretly form an organization (who "accept" the real Buzz as one of their members) inside the restaurant's storage room.

    Real Life 
  • Comedian Dane Cook has a stand-up routine about the horrors of working the drive-thru at Burger King.
  • One of Brad Pitt's first jobs was wearing a chicken outfit outside an El Pollo Loco. This might be referenced in Fight Club: "Sticking feathers up your butt won't make you a chicken."
  • The Hot Dog On a Stick franchise, seen in many malls, has long had a pretty cheesy uniform for its employees (notice the girls get stuck with the dorkier hat). Even stranger, Hot Dog on a Stick is an employee-owned company, meaning that the employee-owners have collectively agreed to wear this garb.
  • Johnny Yong Bosch has cited in panels one of the worst jobs he had was working at a Taco Bell before he broke into acting.
  • Following the announcement of his and his wife Meghan's plans to step back from royal life, a political cartoon depicted Prince Harry as one of these.
  • In 2003, "McJob" was formally added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, defined as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement" (the word having been used as slang for such since roughly 1986. Shortly thereafter, then-CEO Jim Cantalupo tried to claim that McDonald's is a better career choice than most people assume by claiming that over 1,000 franchise owners had started out in the kitchen. Given that McDonald's and its franchises had over 400,000 total employees at the time, that doesn't exactly prove much of anything if you do the math.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mc Job


Sonic at BurgerTime

After losing his entire fortune, Sonic is negated to working at Knuckles' BurgerTime fast-food joint.

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Main / BurgerFool

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