Former McDonald’s Employee Reveals Secrets of What’s Really Going On Behind The Scenes

A former McDonald’s employee shared what happens behind the scenes and answered some of the most common questions.

Emily Johnson, who is now a reporter on YorkshireLive’s sister website HullLive, worked at branches in Salford and Grimbsy for two years while studying for her degree. After her time at the fast-food giant, she said many people asked her about working there.

Some have wondered why the milkshake maker always seemed broken or if there were any disgusting secret ingredients added to the burgers. Emily has now decided to go public with her experience and dispel some of the common misconceptions by write an article for HullLive.

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As McDonald’s is a franchise, not all locations are quite the same, so its knowledge may not apply to all.

Take a look below to see her answer some of the most common questions.

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Is there a secret request menu?

While there’s no real secret menu, Emily says there are things you can ask for that aren’t listed. For example, she said that once in a while someone would ask for a jar of pickles and depending on who was serving it, they either got it for free or as little as 99p.

Emily also shared a great way to save money if you love the classic Big Mac burger. She said: “There’s also a hack where customers ask for a double cheeseburger disguised as a Big Mac.

“All the lettuce and Big Mac sauce additions are free, you get the same amount of meat, and it’s also half the price.”

Why does the milkshake maker often not work?

The question that all McDonald’s customers who crave a milkshake would love to have answered. But apparently even McDonald’s employees don’t know for sure.

According to Emily, this could be due to a number of reasons such as the long cleaning cycle or people starting the cleaning cycle at the wrong time. Sometimes employees would also put the wrong mix in the milkshake section and sorting just took too long when busy.

Emily also admitted making milkshakes and ice cream was ‘boring’ and time consuming as you can only make one at a time or have to run across the store to make them if you work in service driving.

What happens to all the breakfast stuff after 11am?

Unfortunately, anything left over after 11 a.m. gets thrown away, says Emily. But she says employees would take great care to cook only what is necessary. Any McDonald’s fans who live in Grimsby should check in between 11am and 11:05am as the staff often give away leftovers for free.

Why is inside service much slower than drive-thru?

McDonald’s employees are very competitive when it comes to working in the drive-thru. With a leaderboard that compares order times across the country, staff would make it “an extreme sport” to see who could beat the others.

In stores, on the other hand, there is no classification, so people are a little more relaxed.

How quickly should an order be ready?

Of course, it all depends on the size of your order and what you ordered, but the goal is 120 seconds. Emily said this was unrealistic overnight as staff would be busy cleaning so they could finish in time.

Typical wait time at night would usually be around 10 minutes.

What is the worst order to get?



Filet-O-Fish can be
Filet-O-Fish can be “boring” for staff to do

Emily said Filet-O-Fish would always ruin drive-thru times and cause massive queues because they weren’t ordered often and therefore not constantly cooked and ready.

“You can’t store food in the heating system for more than 15 minutes so it’s never ready,” Emily said. “It would be a huge inconvenience to put them in the deep fryer frozen, steam the bun and wait five minutes for it to cook.”

Is there a “three second rule”?

That’s a big no, according to Emily. Any food dropped or accidentally touched will be discarded.

Who are the best and worst customers?

For Emily, the best customers are those who are polite and know what they want. On the other hand, she didn’t like people who would record their driving experience while putting on “silly voices” or doing “stupid things”.

Emily said not many people know there’s actually a camera so the staff can see exactly what you’re doing in your car. She also doesn’t like people who blame staff for forgetting items they never ordered or anyone who is rude, drunk or asks things like, “Why can’t you get a real job ?”

Do staff get free burgers – which ones?

The perks of working at McDonald’s mean you get free food on your lunch break. While Emily worked in Salford, she said the branch would give her a free main course, side dish, drink and dessert plus free sauces.

In Grimsby it was slightly different. To motivate employees to reduce food waste, they would get a main dish, side dish and drink if there was a lot or a main dish, side dish, drink and dessert if there were few.

Are there any weird ingredients in the food?

There are no “strange” ingredients, Emily said. Everything is seasoned with standard salt and pepper and most foods such as meat and fries arrive frozen. The vegetables arrive fresh and chilled except for the onions which should be hydrated.

Is this a good place to work?

Emily said she really enjoyed her time working at McDonald’s thanks to lovely co-workers and managers. In her experience, her managers would always defend her if customers were rude.

The only aspect she didn’t enjoy so much was the early mornings and working every weekend.

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