Employees Reveal 15 Secrets That McDonald’s Doesn’t Want Customers To Know

Employees of fast food chains like McDonald’s often don’t get enough credit. After all, they somehow manage to keep the well-oiled machines that are their franchises running as smoothly and efficiently as possible so you can get your McNuggets fast and carry on with your day.

Meanwhile, flipping burgers, salting fries, and manning the registers doesn’t come without its fair share of insider knowledge. Recently, current and former McDonald’s employees shared some of the company’s biggest secrets on Reddit—and most of them were tidbits the company would probably rather be kept under wraps.

So grab a McDouble and a Diet Coke and get ready to dig into batch of 15 crispy McDonald’s facts…

1. Avoid the small patties: When asked what you should avoid on the McDonald’s menu, Reddit user rzreeves put it bluntly: “The small patties. Yea… the ones that come on your double cheeseburgers and Big Macs. Those things come off of the grill still red with blood and then we would shove them in the trays where they would stay for hours.”

2. Understand why special requests take longer: When you make a simple request for a menu item, the assembly line stops. One Reddit user said that to make sure you get what you want, an employee has to double check with the cashier on any special requests—which doesn’t always sit right with employees who are in the zone.

3. Try this secret menu item: You’ve never seen the Mc10:35 on a McDonald’s value menu, but Reddit user CrazyDaze described the secret, tasty morsel: “You get a McDouble and ask for one of the leftover Egg McMuffins,” he wrote, “and have them put the McMuffin insides between the patties of the McDouble.”

4. Ask for the Apple Pie Delight: There’s a button on McDonald’s registers that doesn’t correlate to anything on the menu, according to a Reddit user, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be tempted to reach over and press it yourself next time you find yourself in the McCafe: “We had pie a la mode,” the user wrote. “It was an apple pie in a tray with two swirls of ice cream on either side, two different types of sundae toppings, and peanuts.”

5. They put the “egg” in Egg McMuffin: Those eggs on your McMuffin aren’t some kind of synthetic substitute—they’re the real deal from a hen, according to user Magicgal102. The cooking method utilizes metal rings, lids, and a drop of water to give them the shape and texture. They’re also fried and steamed at the same time!

6. Save a buck: While Burger King may have ditched the “have it your way” slogan, McDonald’s could pick it right up, according to details from rzeeves. You can save money by just customizing items in any way you’d like. For instance, when ordering a McFlurry, just buy the ice cream and toppings separate—it’s cheaper.

7. How to take caution: Are you nervous about eating something prepared inside a fast food establishment, but you still need to eat on the run? If that’s the case, your menu might shrink drastically, but there are options. As rzeeves put it: “The safest things to get are probably the cookies. Or something that isn’t really prepared in the restaurant. But if you are talking about a prepared food item… probably some type of chicken because it is just fried in a fryer.”

8. Need a job? While McDonald’s doesn’t require prior work experience, its hiring process is a tad more rigorous than just walking in and providing your name and phone number, according to musicgal102. She listed five qualities McDonald’s hiring managers look for: “1. connections to people who have or are working there, 2. good communication skills, 3. a team-player, 4. extra-curricular responsibilities, 5. potential.”

9. Free is best: Maybe you’ve struck out a few times at the register asking for free food, but there’s hope for you yet! As user MyNikesAreBlue puts it, “You can’t get any free food just by asking, but you can download the McDonald’s app. There’s a lot of promotions and occasionally free items on it.” The user also divulged an additional secret: if you want fresh fries, just ask!

10. McMuffin hack: Is a slice of Canadian Bacon worth $1.80 to you? If not, just ask for an egg and cheese muffin. “There is a button [on the register] for the egg and cheese muffin,” Reddit user Terribly_Good wrote, “and it’s $1.69 versus $3.49 for an Egg McMuffin.”

11. Make a Big Mac out of thin air: If you want that unique Big Mac taste but the thought of carbs from that additional center bun isn’t worth it, Terribly_Good has another tip for you: “Instead of ordering Mac sauce on your sandwich, ask for a side of Mac sauce; we don’t charge for sauces when they are on the side. This also applies to tartar sauce.”

12. More McMuffin madness: One thing is obvious when combing through McDonald’s facts: you should never have to pay full price for an Egg McMuffin. As Terribly_Good put it, “You can order a sausage muffin ($1.29) and side of round egg ($1) cheaper than you can order a Sausage [and] Egg McMuffin ($3.29)… This applies to basically all the breakfast sandwiches. Sausage biscuit and a side of folded egg versus sausage [and] egg biscuit ($2.19 vs $3.49).”

13. Eat fresh: Your food may not be as fresh as you think, according to user AlexaGxo. During peak times, employees cook food en masse before storing it in heated cabinets that utilize expiration timers. “The only time it’s cooked to order,” the user wrote, “is usually on the overnight for items like Angus and filet.”

14. Safety first: While you may not harbor any grand illusions about the quality of the food, user AlexaGxo made it clear that you shouldn’t worry about “dangerous” foods. “Everything’s cooked to standard with temperature checks every so often to make sure the meat is being cooked thoroughly,” the user wrote.

15. Freshness versus time: Other employees weren’t so satisfied with McDonald’s preparation methods as AlexaGxo. As user McDonaldsIamA put it, if you’ve got a few extra minutes, you’re better off asking your food be made fresh. “Some places do a bad job at keep track of the fresh timers,” the user explained. “I’d personally ask for everything fresh even if you have to wait three-to-five minutes for it to be ready.”

In the end, 90 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are franchised, which means each individual restaurant might be run differently. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand a little bit of insider knowledge!

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