Former McDonald’s worker shares the secrets of the fast food giant

TikTok: McDonald's employee shares McFlurry secrets

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There are countless myths and misconceptions surrounding the world’s largest fast-food chain. From the “three second rule” to why the milkshake machine is never working, Emily Johnson has answered some of the general public’s most burning questions.

Emily is a McDonald’s expert, having spent two years working at two separate branches – Salford in Greater Manchester, and Grimsby in Lincolnshire while studying at university.

Due to McDonald’s being split into franchises in the UK, they all have different rules and regulations to adhere to.

However, as Emily, now a Hull Live reporter, has worked at two different franchises she believes that her information is common of most, but may not apply to all.

Here are the most common questions Emily has been asked as a former McDonald’s employee:

Is there a secret request menu?

Unfortunately according to Emily there is not a secret menu per se, but there are two unusual requests that stick out to her.

Depending on the employee you may be able to get a pot of pickles for free, 99p or they may just flat-out reject you – but it is always worth asking.

There is also a hack where customers can ask for a double cheeseburger dressed as a Big Mac.

All the additions of lettuce and Big Mac sauce are free and you get the same amount of meat, but for half the price.

Why is the milkshake machine often not working?

Emily says there are several reasons why the milkshake machines are often not working.

The cleaning cycle of the machines can take hours and people often forget to put it on the correct cycle, meaning it can go off automatically in the middle of the day.

During Covid, neither milkshake or McFlurry mix was delivered to UK restaurants.

Emily has witnessed people accidentally putting McFlurry mix in the milkshake section and vice versa – which happens due to them looking similar. 

People are then usually to busy to stop and do the time-consuming job of sorting it out.

Finally, they are time consuming to make as they can only be done one at a time.

So during peak times if someone orders five, it is easier to say the machine is not working.

What happens to all the breakfast stuff after 11am?

The leftover breakfast food goes in the bin, but employees try their best to be accurate when cooking to avoid unnecessary waste.

For those of you in Grimsby, Emily has a hack: If you turn up between 11am and 11:05am they will often offer you the leftover hash browns and McMuffins for free.

Why is service inside much slower than drive-thru?

The drive-thru is often faster than inside the restaurant due to there being a timer that monitors the length of time from when the car pulls up to the intercom to when it drives away.

There is a leader board comparing times with the other UK McDonald’s restaurants, with each franchise vying for the number one spot.

In-store does not have a leader board which is why people tend to care more about the drive-thru targets.

How quickly should an order be ready?

Orders should be ready in two minutes, but during busier periods the wait can be up to 10 minutes.

What’s the worst order to get?

Emily’s least favourite order to get was the Fillet o Fish.

Food can only be kept in the heating system for a maximum of 15 minutes and due to them not being very popular, the fillets would have to be put in the fryer from frozen every time someone ordered one.

Is there a ‘three-second rule’?

From Emily’s experience there is not and she goes on to say that the restaurants are a lot cleaner than people think.

If the food is dropped or touched accidentally it is thrown away and although the fry station can get very greasy it does not affect the fries.

Who are the best and worst customers?

According to Emily the best customers are quick with their order and polite.

The worst customers are apparently the ones who mess around at the drive-thru intercom speaking in ‘silly voices’ or saying ‘stupid things’.

She does not think people realise there is a camera that staff can watch customers on.

Another type of customer Emily did not like were the ones who complained when they did not receive what they thought they were ordering in their head.

And finally, anyone who is rude, drunk or insults employees’ intelligence by saying things such as ‘Why don’t you get a real job?’

Do staff get free burgers – which ones?

Emily confirmed that staff get free food on their lunch breaks.

At the Salford restaurant, they supply employees with ‘four points’ a main, side, drink and dessert for free, while at Grimsby it depends on how much food waste there is.

If there was a lot of food waste that week, employees would get ‘three points’ – main, side and drink – but if there was little waste they would also get a dessert.

Apparently Grimsby was more stingy than Salford and would not let employees use paper straws with their drinks to save money.

Are there any weird ingredients in the food?

The short answer is no according to Emily. 

Burgers are seasoned with ordinary salt and pepper, and all the meat, fries and desserts arrive frozen without any mysterious ingredients to add.

The vegetables arrive fresh and chilled – apart from the onions which have to be hydrated.

Is it a good place to work?

Emily enjoyed working at McDonald’s, but she is not sure whether it had something to do with her being a student and having no obligation to work on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

She said that people have the idea that it is a toxic place to work due to the rude customers, but her managers would always stick up for all the colleagues in difficult situations.

According to Emily, the only pain was waking up at 4am every weekend because ‘it does kill your social life’.

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