A couple of years ago, I started my 13-month employment at a local McDonald’s restaurant. Like any job, there were ups and downs, but overall, I still consider it a pretty decent first job. Would I do it again? Never in a million years.
But one thing I’m always asked is whether or not working at McDonald’s has put me off their food for life. Because let’s face it, most of us love a cheeky cheeseburger, but if you saw how it was all made, would it be just as appetizing?
Let’s Go Behind The Counter And Learn More
I learned a few secrets during my time at McDonald’s, and as I’ve never been good at keeping secrets, I think it’s time you found out what McDonald’s employees really get up to behind the counter, what they really think about their customers, and whether or not all those scandalous stories are real…
Drive-Thru Is Quicker
If you’re really after FAST food, then go through the drive-thru instead of eating in. Employees are instructed to prioritize drive-thru orders over the restaurant customers.
Because at McDonald’s, the lazier the better! The drive-thru experience is supposed to last 90 SECONDS from placing your order to receiving your food.
Staff Don’t Eat The Leftovers
There’s always been a discussion about what happens with all the food waste. Do the staff get to eat it? Does it go to charity? Do we just sell it to customers anyway? Well, here’s the truth…
Whether it’s the end of the day or the timer on the food product has run out, we are forced to put any food waste in the trash. We don’t get to take it home or give it away – it’s thrown into a special food waste trashcan and each item is later counted to manage exactly what products have been wasted.
But We Do Break The Rules
You’d think working at McDonald’s over a year would be enough to put anyone off the food, but that’s far from the truth. It may be against company policy, but the temptation is just too much…
Sure, eating the food is against the rules, but with all those fries and McNuggets around, can you blame us? Whilst the manager’s back is turned, every employee will snack, but if we’re caught, we’re in big trouble. I was once sent home without pay, and one colleague was suspended for a week. In fact, I once ate an entire McMuffin in the freezer just because I knew there were no cameras in there.
And We Get McDonald’s For Lunch
This may seem like a pretty awesome employee perk, but after a while of doing it every day, you start to see some serious health side effects…
Depending on how long your shift is, you are entitled to an employee meal during your break time. You can basically pick from any standard meal on the menu, and no additions can be made. Although, if you have a friend working in the kitchen, they’re usually happy to throw an extra burger in the bun. McDonald’s crew members have to look out for each other.
Most Employees Hate Working Nights
A lot of people think working a day at a McDonald’s restaurant is the worst job in the world. However, it’s made twice as bad when the sun goes down…
A McDonald’s employee has to deal with a lot of customer complaints on a good day, but when the customers are drunk, the shifts become an absolute nightmare. And it’s not just about dealing with rowdy and aggressive people, one woman actually smeared her shit all over the toilet walls in the restaurant where I worked.
It’s true, not all the food at McDonald’s is cooked fresh-to-order. However, there are rules for how long food can be kept for after it is cooked…
Any time we cook food that isn’t being used for an order right away, we keep it in a heater with a set time limit. When the timer counts down to zero, we’re supposed to take the food out and throw it away. However, due to the fact there’s nothing actually wrong with the food, most employees will just reset the timer and leave the food in there until it’s sold – and this can be done for hours!
Now, if you want to make sure you’re going to get a fresh meal that hasn’t been sat under a heat lamp for hours, you should always make a “grill” order…
Whenever an employee makes an order that has been altered from the original menu, the kitchen staff receive the “grill” order and must cook it from scratch. For fresh fries, order them without salt, or for a fresh Big Mac, ask for it without the pickle.
This sandwich has been around since 1962, but has never gained the popularity of a Big Mac! In fact, most of the staff can’t stand cooking them…
Out of all the items on the menu, fish products are the most annoying to cook. Why? Because most restaurants won’t even bother keeping a Filet-O-Fish or fish fingers in the heaters, because the chances of them being ordered are rare. Then, out of nowhere, we’ll receive five orders all needing fish. This takes time, which obviously isn’t great when you’re working in fast food. The reason they’re still on the menu is to cater for cultures that don’t eat beef or chicken products.
Know What You’re Ordering!
So what’s the biggest problem with working at McDonald’s? The managers? The smell of cooking oil constantly in your clothes? Nope, it’s the customers…
The guys on the tills honestly cannot stand dealing with stupid and indecisive customers. Know what you’re going to order before you reach the counter! Understand that meal comes with fries and a drink! And don’t stick “Mc” in front of every word! McThank you!
Bored Staff Play Games
Restaurants in the city will often be fast-paced and constantly busy. However, what about those smaller chains tucked away in a small town? Well, it can get very quiet…
When the staff gets bored, they will mess around. I once watched a guy build a fort out of Happy Meal boxes, and employees will often have bets on the customers. But perhaps the greatest “in-joke” is ringing a bell whenever a hot girl comes to the till – all work in the kitchen ceases, as employees peer through to check them out.
Depending on the restaurant, customers can pay up to 25 cents for some extra sauce. But you can get around this just by making sure you ask the right people…
Most restaurants have introduced a policy where customers must pay for extra sauce packets. However, most crew members (avoid the managers) really don’t care, and as long as you ask nicely, they’ll be happy to throw you some extra sauce on the side.
Most Restaurants Really Are Clean
Most people I’ve met have always heard horror stories about the condition and cleanliness of a McDonald’s restaurant. But the truth couldn’t be more different…
I promise. Behind the counter, the kitchens are well maintained, and hygiene is extremely important. Most staff are forced to wear hairnets and must wash their hands whenever they re-enter the kitchen. I mean, that doesn’t mean what you’re eating is going to be any healthier, you can just rest assured that we haven’t spit in it (honestly, we don’t care enough to spit in food).
Everybody loves McDonald’s whenever the Monopoly game tokens return – and this includes the employees. Despite the fact employees are forbidden from winning any top prizes, that doesn’t stop us checking every single empty cup we find in the restaurant…
If we do end up winning, we’ll just give it to a friend and split the prize! Or visit the other restaurants to claim free meals. Oh, and a good tip for customers; to get extra stickers, ask the cashier for a large tap water. They’ll give you a large cup with the stickers attached!
Some members of staff have them, others don’t – but most customers are not even sure what they represent. Here’s everything you need to know about the “Stars”…
People used to get a right kick out of asking me, “How many stars you got?” No, stars are not earned for cleaning a toilet or making the perfect Quarter Pounder, staff members have to go through a training program for each star, where each one usually reflects a small pay rise and attributes towards obtaining a higher position. In the 13 months I was there, I earned zero stars… like I said, I really didn’t give a shit.
Microwaves In The Kitchen
A lot of questions I often got asked about were regarding how much of the food was actually microwaved. Well, we do have microwaves in the kitchen, but they’re only used for certain things…
The kitchen does have a microwave, but the only things we microwave are pancakes and oatmeal. Relax – all your burgers are cooked thoroughly on a grill. I promise!
He’s supposed to make kids feel relaxed and happy about eating their Happy Meals, but this guy is literally the personification of all my nightmares…
The famous McDonald’s mascot is actually real. The company pays people to dress as the fast-food icon and visit stores to entertain the customers and staff. But trust me, on a busy Saturday afternoon, having a f*cking clown messing around in the kitchen is the last thing any employee wants.
PLEASE Don’t Order Fries Without Salt
You may not believe this, but working on the fries station for a whole shift is one of the best things you can do at McDonald’s. It’s relatively stress free, until this happens…
It’s may sound easy, but cooking a fresh batch of fries without salt is a painstaking process. Not only do we need to fry an entire bag of fries just for you, and all the equipment used to make and package the fries need to be cleaned to get the salt off them.
Burger Patties Take Just 42 Seconds To Cook
So, what really is in a standard beef burger patty, and how long do they take to cook? Well, there’s a reason McDonald’s is called ‘fast food’…
That’s right, for a standard border patty (used in Big Macs and Hamburgers) it takes just over forty seconds to cook, and there’s no flipping because they’re cooked on both sides at the same time. The larger quarter-pounder patties take 112 seconds on the grill. Then all we add is a little salt and pepper.
Do You Really Want Scrambled Egg?
McDonald’s always proudly states how they only use “free-range eggs” for their McMuffins, but what about the eggs in their Big Breakfasts?
The scrambled egg that is usually found on the Big Breakfast actually comes out of a carton… Even though there are fresh eggs in the kitchen that we use for McMuffins. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but trust me, it’s not all egg in there…
Oh, You Wanted Decafe?
People love their coffee! But just because you’re craving a caffeine fix doesn’t mean you have to be rude. This is what happens if you struggle to be a morning person…
Some people want decaf – perfectly understandable and we’re happy to help. However, if you order decaf and then get impatient that there’s not any brewed, then there’s a good chance you’ll be getting half a cup of regular coffee with half a cup of hot water mixed in, especially if you’re in the drive-thru.
Drop It Like It’s Hot
Okay, I’ve never seen anybody spit in a customer’s food – but dropping food is a different story. When you’re under pressure to get an order out, mistakes can happen, but as long as a manager didn’t see, employees will pick up food from the floor and send it out.
On one occasion I was under pressure to get an Apple Pie out as soon as possible. Rushing, I dropped the pie and the filling shot all over the floor. Of course, I did the sensible thing and picked up the pastry shell, packaged it and sent it out anyway…
Learn What A “Meal” Is
The concept of what a “meal” at McDonald’s is really isn’t that complicated. If you haven’t figured it out by now, maybe you shouldn’t eat there anymore…
Most items on the menu come as a “meal”, which means it includes a side order (fried, salad, etc) and a drink. Don’t ask for a meal if you don’t want fries or a drink! This is a huge annoyance to employees working the tills.
There Is No Secret Menu
We’ve all seen those suped-up burgers trending on social media, with the explicit instructions that you can order them using a secret McDonald’s code…
Despite the many websites and videos claiming there is – there isn’t. The images you see of “super burgers”, they are either made by bored employees or constructed from multiple burgers at the table by customers. So don’t ask for a “McGangBang”, because you won’t get one.
Drive-Thru Workers Don’t Sit Down
Standing at the drive-thru window may sound like an absolute dream shift to most of you, but for those who have to do it, it’s a nightmare.
This may sound odd, because no other member of staff gets to sit down either. However, at least they get to move around! When you’re working ten hours on drive-thru, you have to stand in the same spot, whether there are cars coming through or not. It’s agony on your back.
The Beef Is Grade A
Many people love to blast McDonald’s food as being cheap, low-grade cardboard!
There are no two ways about this; the beef is quality. Sure, it may not be from your favorite cut of the cow, but it is of the highest quality. After all, when you’re serving it to millions of people every day, it needs to be! So don’t believe the horror stories.
The Milkshake Machines Are Neglected
There’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day than a thick McDonald’s shake. But sadly, many restaurants neglect the weekly machine clean because it’s such a chore.
Seriously, I’ve seen machine fill with gunk – just Google it! Best way to avoid this is to go to a McDonald’s you can trust! (Often if they’re really busy, or really quiet.)
The McMuffin Eggs ARE Real Eggs
A lot of people I’ve spoken to refuse to eat the McMuffin because they hate the round “rubbery” eggs – which has always confused me.
The eggs in McMuffins are 100% real, free-range eggs that are cracked in-store and cooked that morning with just a little bit of water and butter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them.
The Ice Cream Machine Really Is Broken
We’ve all been into McDonald’s and asked for an ice cream, only to be told the machine is broken. Now, it may seem like laziness, but it’s actually the truth.
It’s a temperamental and complicated piece of equipment, which means it does break down more than any other machine in the restaurant. So if the cashier says it’s broken, it’s broken. Please don’t cause a fuss.
It Really Is Addictive
Most people associate addiction with illegal hard substances. However, research by the Scripps Research Institute in California discovered that the food from McDonald’s is actually just as addictive as hard substances.
This is down to the dangerously high sugar content in the food. This, in turn, generates too much dopamine, unlocking the brain’s reward pathway in the same way hard drugs do. So there is a reason you can’t get enough Maccy D’s.
We Judge People Who Bring Their Children
The fact is, we know McDonald’s is bad for us, but as adults, we can make calculated choices in our diets, and are able to have a run if we eat too many burgers. However, kids only eat what their parents give them. So if a parent is feeding their kid fast food multiple times a week, we are going to judge, because it’s just wrong.
Also, kids are incredibly impressionable, and everything about McDonald’s is about hooking them from an early age. From the clown to the free toys to the bright colors – we want to guarantee kids as customers for a lifetime.