Have you ever wondered exactly how your fast food is made? Or what it's like to work for one of the biggest food giants in the world?

I've been working for McDonald's for 3 years throughout college/Uni and now that I've graduated.. still working for McDonald's as a manager.

My proof - my training log at the restaurant - have blanked out my exact identity * http://postimg.org/image/kaql3d36j/ *

Comments: 4727 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

rusty__shakleford2092 karma

Why is the shake machine ALWAYS broken?

orchidhibiscus2372 karma

They go on heat treat for a few hours everyday to pastueurise the milk, then they're taken apart for a few hours once a week and completely sanitised from inside out and the pastuerised milk is thrown out. When it's hot out and they pull too many ice creams or shakes they get air trapped in their barrells and become really slow and can stop freezing or overfreeze the product.

gabrielle11061301 karma

I study food safety. One of my professors always said that no matter what you think of the nutritional quality of McDonald's, the safety standards are very very good. Do you agree with that statement?

orchidhibiscus1910 karma

Yes. We take the temperature of every freezer and chiller, three times a day and verify with calibrated air and product probes. Every 4 hours, every single tong, tray, tool is cleaned out and thorougly disinfected. Every night, every single sauce bottle, ketchup dispenser, food holder, is totally emptied, sauce discarded and sanitised (that's pretty hardcore).

Every single day, the first time we cook on each grill, we check the programming time, the temperature, we cook full runs of each type of meat (the maximum number of meat we could potentially cook on that grill) and once they're cooked we take the temperature of the patties, and destructive test them to verifiy that the meat will definitely cook well that day. That costs a lot of money in food waste and time but we still do that every single day. It's actually quite excessive but at my store we do this religiously every day and managers oversee and complete the process to make sure. Could you imagine cooking a test dinner in your oven first then tearing it apart and taking the temperature to make sure your oven is working first and then cooking a new one each day? That's basically what we do.

Elyotna556 karma

You throw away all the remaining sauce every night ?? Damn.. Would ketchup really turn bad in one night ?

orchidhibiscus1043 karma

Exactly why I say it's over and above. I mean people have bottles of ketchup in their home for months.

brownsd420989 karma

ever eat a whopper inside your mcdonalds?

orchidhibiscus1590 karma

I've eaten KFC, Dominoes, Subway and Nandos inside our office on many an occasion and sometimes get a takeout pizza for my break :D

GuessWhatIGot883 karma

Being an employee who is more familiar with where the food comes from, would you consider it better or worse than most people think?

orchidhibiscus1774 karma

The items marketed as 'healthy options' are worse than you'd think. Deep fried chicken goes into the wraps, the veggie patties are deep fried, and the salad dressings are filled with rubbish.

The meat however, is good and is freshly grilled. It's 100% local beef flank and doesn't even use any binders like egg or rusk that you'd find even in the 'good brands' from the supermarket. The milk is from 'organic' farms. The breakfast menu uses real free range eggs. The chicken however, is pre-cooked and breaded before arriving to us frozen from Thailand.

Williamn331111 karma

I have actually come to realize this, After a lot of those scandals with the quality of fast food a while back, McDonald's really got their shit together. Yeah, of course the food isn't healthy because of the way it's cooked, but it's fast food, what do you expect? The quality of the food however, is much nicer than most other fast food restaurants.

orchidhibiscus620 karma

I agree.

bry4n_r689 karma

What is the largest order you have ever received?

orchidhibiscus1169 karma

We sometimes get entire schools of children coming in. We seat about 300 and we can have one order of 200+ kids come in. The worst thing is they don't know what they want until they get to the counter. We once had an order of 200 veggie deli sandwiches without a warning (they're the more inconvenient item to make, along with filet-o-fish). Panic in the kitchen!

Eryx897398 karma

Why do you find filet-o-fish inconvenient? Former worker here.

orchidhibiscus650 karma

We don't sell a lot so we have to cook them fresh and wait for them. We also need to steam the buns maximum 2 at a time. Is it different where you're from?

bubonis598 karma


  1. Given the resources you have at your disposal, what is the one thing you wish you could do inside your store to make the biggest positive impact with your customers but aren't allowed to do for corporate reasons?

  2. If you could make one change to the menu — either the food itself or the manner in which it's prepared — that would immediately be reflected across all McDonald's, what would it be? (Assume the goal is to improve something.)

  3. There's been quite a bit of press about McDonald's managers "adjusting" employee's time sheets for payroll reasons, often illegally. Many managers claim that they're ordered to do this — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly — by their managers. What is your experience with this?

orchidhibiscus459 karma

  1. More investment in training. We get all these kids coming in panicking, they need to work quickly but don't often feel valued because we're always thinking about labour costs. etc.

  2. I wish we didn't put mayonnaise in everything! Personal preference. As for food quality, we're soon going to start holding meat in a tray and making the buns and dressings fresh and putting the pre-cooked meat on it - this is the "experience of the future". Now we cook all the meat fresh and put it on the burgers and can hot hold the entire burger for 10 minutes. I like this better and don't think we should change.

  3. This used to happen big time. We work on hour-by-hour percentage targets for labour, usually around 14-17% so if we make £1000 that hour, we can spend £140 - £170 on staff. The franchisee would give really difficult to achieve labour targets to the managers who would (on his advice) clock out crew while they were still working. Absolutely disgusting practice and I had money stolen from me in this way before I became a manager. I found out and reported it and got all my money back. It was reported in my store and the franchisee denied everything and blamed his (back then) managers for doing it off their own backs (they still shouldn't have done it, if I was asked to do something like that I'd point blank refuse).

It can't happen anymore because of the new clock in system which notifies crew online when their clock has been adjusted.

Pulseplug445 karma

So I would like to know about McDonald's mustard policy. I eat McD probably 2-3 times a week because it's quick, close, and cheap. The closest store i visit seems to really hate adding mustard to my sandwich if I ask for it. Like they will put literally 2 very small drops of mustard on my sandwich. Is this a company policy or are the employees at my store just stingy assholes? It really annoys me and it feels like they are in the back crushing mustard seeds and making that shit by hand or something.

orchidhibiscus578 karma

It's because the mustard gun dispenses like 2ml of mustard. It pulls through the tiniest amount of mustard you could imagine.

JoshuaTee406 karma

Can you confirm the validity of the "Secret Menu"? Also, what is the one item you would recommend customers do not order?

orchidhibiscus769 karma

You can order from the 'Secret Menu'. Just like with any of our sandwiches, you can add, remove or change ingredients by special request. These are called 'grill orders' (i.e. Big Mac no pickle)

The items on the 'secret menu' weren't invented by anyone officially at McDonald's, it's just a random persons guide to burgers you could potentially 'hack' at McDonald's.

Order one and the workers might not know it by name (i.e. Land, Air and Sea burger or the McGangBang) but if you explain what it is, and are willing to pay for all the ingredients, it's just another 'grill order' that we can make up.

DON'T order... the grilled chicken. It's horrible frozen chicken that we defrost and steam and it's a bit gelatinous.

skoomaed365 karma

I just noticed that, locally at least, the dollar menu has disappeared. Was it cutting into store profits that much to sell McDoubles or Sausage McMuffins for a dollar?

orchidhibiscus440 karma

McDonald's official story is that it's on the rising price of beef and pork. I know this to be true of the McRib. It's said that it comes back into season when pork prices hit rock bottom and that's why it's only ever on the menu at random times.

It could also be simply opportunity based on what they think the market will pay. For example, doubles and sausage mcmuffins have also been sold at a higher cost in my local store, but we've recently put up the price of our fries. The buy-in cost for fries has not increased and it's the item we make the biggest profit margin on for sure. They just increased it a little to see if people would pay, and it's fries, so of course they will. My store sees a 0.10 increase on all meals and main menu burger (except the saver menu) every year.

SlicK5284 karma

Do you have a McGangbang?

orchidhibiscus346 karma

You can order anything you like, if you're willing to pay, and we'll make it for you! It's not 'official' though in any McDonald's store.

runjoy173 karma

Chicken-pattying off this question what other "off the menu" items are typically ordered?

orchidhibiscus322 karma

Chicken Big Mac. A Big Mac made with the patties from a McChicken sandwich is popular, especially with tourists from the Indian Subcontinent where lots of people don't eat beef and the Big Mac made with chicken is an actual menu item.

JoOngle229 karma

How do you feel about where McDonalds are currently heading? Decreasing sales, people that are now increasingly health conscious seeking better alternatives, how are you guys prepared to change with the trends? What are your thoughts about this as a Manager?

orchidhibiscus379 karma

McDonald's are trying to MARKET a more health conscious image, but at least where I'm from, those 'deli wraps' are made from deep fried chicken. The veggie patties are deep fried. The burgers are the healthiest thing because they're 100% beef flank with no added binders.

I think our sales are also decreasing in the cities because less and less people are out shopping, and preferring to shop online or at specified shopping parks.

McDonald's are trying to keep up with the competition by focusing just on technology - by summer 2016 every store in every country will have computerised terminals for ordering etc. that McDonald's call "Experience of the Future".

Despite all of this, our local store has seen an increase in sales every year since 2005. Strangely, within our local area, the managers are barely kept up to date with corporate trends. They tend to spring updates on us after they've happened and we need to adapt straightaway.

JoOngle118 karma

This brings up another question: First of all, I've seen those Terminals - we have them in Malmo / Sweden. People don't seem to like them very much as they miss the personal touch from the cashiers, how is this going for you so far?

orchidhibiscus183 karma

Yeah, I can see how that is. We won't get our re-fit until the beginning of 2016!

Our McDonald's published literature on this says that they're deliberately making 'grill orders' (when someone wants, say, a big mac with no pickle) difficult to order using these terminals - as they don't want people changing the food too much (officially for taste, also for speed of service). I can see, why then, that customers would prefer to speak to a real person.

LazerAttack4242229 karma

FINALLY! I've got a chance to talk to you. Listen here I've got a few complaints, that guy at the front gave me incorrect change, my milkshake is frozen in the middle, and I ordered a McDouble, not a McRib...

That being said how do you deal with annoy(ed/ing) people like me at your restaurant?

orchidhibiscus250 karma

Hey, if it's busy, I probably won't even ask to see the receipt. We shouldn't, but just find a stressed out manager, claim your fries were cold or whatever and I'll toss you some new ones :D

1893Chicago219 karma

What do you think is at the core of McDonald's problems (massive sales losses and store closings) lately?

orchidhibiscus659 karma

I honestly think McDonald's is out of date. It's the biggest and most widespread of all the fast food joints but somehow stays a step behind the competition. It's like Microsoft. How come outlook and internet explorer are the worst but from the most widespread company?

SpecialU203 karma

Do you see McDonalds as a career or are you hoping to take your managerial skills somewhere else?

orchidhibiscus487 karma

Please god, somewhere else. It's just difficult to find a job elsewhere in the current economic climate. I earn about $13.50 per hour as a manger and I can get as many hours as I like so it seems preferrable to the other options at the moment. I'll escape soon hopefully.

tec2030138 karma

As many hours as you want? Could you potentially work 80 hours a week and essentially get three paychecks at the end of two weeks because of time and a half?

orchidhibiscus272 karma

I used to work 80 hour weeks when I wasn't at Uni, but now they're a little stricter. You can work hours like that sometimes, but it flags up on our new clock-in system now if you do it too often. You need to have 1 24 hour break in a 7 day period and one 48 hour break in a 14 day period but other than that, then yes, they're usually always looking for workers as we're quite often short - staffed.

Unfortunately, where I'm from, there are NO overtime benefits. If you work between midnight and 6am then you get an extra 0.50 per hour. No time and a half even on holidays. If you work overtime, you work on your usual rate. On New Year's Eve we got an extra 1.00 per hour, that was it.

omarmctrigger180 karma

What do you think about the Fight for 15? Do you think fast food employees deserve $15/hr?

orchidhibiscus321 karma

Of course. The franchisees would suffer though, as many of them are local business men and I'm sure they'd have to up their prices. Corporate should subsidise this.

MikeyDeezy152 karma

What's the most dangerous equipment in the cook area (excluding knives and the sort)?

orchidhibiscus265 karma

We don't even have real knives. It's a bit insulting. We have these big plastic knives to cut veggie patties, and everything else comes pre-chopped or shredded. The toasters give the worst burns though, as well as the oil vats for cooking the chicken and the fries which burn at 185C/365F. They're open and there was a story about a girl a couple of years ago who slipped on the floor and stuck her arm in the vat to save herself instinctively.. The grills can give you a pretty nasty burn as they cook at 220C/425F and you need to pretty much stick your arms in them to clean them in between runs of meat.

novaape137 karma

How often do you eat at McDonald's?

orchidhibiscus247 karma

We get to eat free food everyday, but by now I'm really sick of it and bring my own or grab a sandwich or soup from a cafe nearby on my break! I'd say 3 times a week. Way too much.

spitfire9107102 karma

oldest employee? how old are you?

orchidhibiscus200 karma

I'm 24. Most of our managers are 21 - 35. Our oldest crew member is about 45. We have one guy who's worked at the store for 16 years. At my other store we did have retirees who worked 4 hour shifts on the weekend to top up their pensions and generally worked on the dining area clearing tables etc.

Lufernaal85 karma

I feel that it's much easier to work with people that do not have higher levels of education than with "experts" on their fields. Do you feel that the idea that someone has of their position and job affects the way they conceptualize dignity and respect for others?

orchidhibiscus171 karma

Lots of us at our store feel disappointed that we're working at McDonald's but all of our managers and many of our crew DO have higher education. We have University degrees and we have people working with us that are currently studying for their PHD. It's the job market right now. I think that it can be difficult managing a crew of burger flippers who hate it because their degrees got them this job, but I think it's instilled some humility in them and most of us will be moving onto other things eventually. Hopefully the job market here in Europe opens back up.

spaceship-earth74 karma

Why do you hire people who can't count or follow basic directions?

orchidhibiscus181 karma

We do hire some people like this and it bothers me even more than it bothers you because I need to pay them and keep a hawk eye on them.

rikeus69 karma

What's with all the beeping coming from the kitechens in McDonalds? It's one of my guilty pleasures but I find myself leaning more towards other fast food places just because the beeping annoys me so much. Is it really necessary?

orchidhibiscus106 karma

Everything is automatically timed so that human error cannot be responsible for undercooking fries or chicken. So when you put the chicken or the fries in the basket, as soon as we drop that oil in the basket it begins the count down to "shake" (which beeps until you press the button again) and to pull the food out of the fryer (again, it beeps until you pick it up and take it out). The grills also make a loud beeping noise to warn you that the meat is going to be ready in the next 5 seconds and again if the meat isn't removed in time. There is a "handwash" and a "travel path" timer that goes off every 30 minutes to remind everyone to wash their hands, and the manager to walk around the store to check for problems. This also won't stop beeping until you press it!

Saemika27 karma

I eat healthily and am a vegetarian. If I was starving and stuck at McDonalds, what is something I could order?

orchidhibiscus42 karma

The veggie patties are tasty and are made of chickpeas, if only they weren't fried (albeit in vegetable oil). Salad no dressing?

yourparentsliedtoyou25 karma

One of the new Minion happy meal toys is getting some attention for saying what people believe is profanity. I think it's BS. Your take on it? My daughter got one of these the other day which is why I ask.


orchidhibiscus71 karma

Some of us think it does, I can't really hear it personally. I think it's power of suggestion. You can hear anything in that gibberish if you tried.

ag9412345619 karma

What is the biggest violation of Macdonald rules have you seen in some of the stores?

orchidhibiscus28 karma

  • Clocking out employees while they're working to save money (I've never done this, but managers a couple of years back would. I've been stolen from this way and so have a lot of crew. It can't happen now because crew get email notifications if their clock has been touched).

  • Crew going without breaks when it's busy

  • Crew getting high (on weed) on nightshifts until recently, they now do random spot checks.

  • Franchisee throwing things at managers and crew.

  • Crew stealing bottled drinks/selects/apple pies to take home (again, when I was crew. I never did it but people did. There are much tighter stock controls now).

barbedwirelegs9 karma

Hi, I am gluten intolerant and currently order a Big Mac meal without the bun. Can you suggest anything better? It looks a bit sad bun-less.

orchidhibiscus10 karma

This is a shame as all of our buns contain gluten. You can bring in your own gluten bun and we'll make it up on that for you! Otherwise, salads, fries.. if it was up to me the tortillas we use would be gluten free, or we would at least have options.

dpny1011 karma

Is there any reason I shouldn't get a McFlurry?

orchidhibiscus3 karma


jewboselecta1 karma

How comprehensively do you vet potential applicants? There is a worldwide stereotype that working in McDonalds (or any fast food chain) requires minimal skills or education.

Do you also look for certain character traits in new employees?

orchidhibiscus4 karma

Our franchisee is very picky and tends to pick university students and graduates - who will eventually end up leaving. Basically people "too good" for his store and the way we're treated. There's an online personality questionnaire that matches you up to a required score before your application is even considered and shown to us on our recruitment system.