Richard McDonald sure has built a legacy. Yes, we are talking about the much-loved mascot, Ronald McDonald, and everything else that this iconic chain of fast food restaurants stands for. With an awe-inspiring 75-plus years of serving the world affordable and finger-licking fast food, McDonald’s is the largest restaurant chain in the world today.

Estimated to serve a massive 68 million customers a day in virtually every major city in the world, the company is also one of the largest global employers, second only to Wal-Mart. McDonald’s has a colossal human resource base of more than 250,000 employees, serving food in 36,000 outlets across five continents. Impressive for sure!

And yet, if you believe that such a large food chain is bound to have some not so savory secrets, you wouldn’t be wrong. Here are 21 hidden facts about the McDonald’s food chain at large. Get ready to be surprised!

21. Not Everything Is as Deliciously Fresh as You Think

Deliciously Fresh

Take that tempting apple pie, for instance. Sure, it looks and feels hot and luscious, crispy even, just the way you like it. But if you think that it is being served to you fresh from the oven, or even made that day, we will happily forgive you for being naive.

As one employee said, the pies do have an expiration date (as per Ronnie’s standards). But it’s not like they actually turn bad immediately after. Most employees continue to serve pie for some time after its deemed expiration date. We wouldn’t blame you if you suddenly lost your craving for pie. But if it smells and tastes good, then you should be good to go.

20. Not Everything Is as Free as You Think

Free As

Like that extra lettuce or onions you just ordered with your salad. Or that honey mustard sauce you swapped on your burger. Or even that extra layer of creamy cheese. On the upside, you have to thank them for their flexibility, as they indulge most of our customized orders.

But do note that this comes with an extra charge, however tiny. It seems perfectly reasonable for McDonald’s employees to charge you the extra 30 cents for your highly customized meal. But here’s the sweet deal. If you ask the right employee, very nicely, they just might give it all to you for free. So be extra nice.

19. Your Food Might Meet the Floor First

Burger Buns

This isn’t as outrageous as you might first think, especially if you are into the five-second rule. As per this rule, if food has been dropped on the floor, but has been picked up within five seconds, it’s good enough (and hygienic enough, apparently) to eat!

Why blame the McDonald’s employees who follow the rules? Especially with chicken nuggets, burger buns, etc. Most of us believe that food wastage is a crime. These employees seem to be going the extra distance to do their bit for food shortages. As customers, we can only pray that the floor is also squeaky clean!

18. The Employees Forgive Your Ignorance

Employees Trust

In fact, this seems to be their oft-repeated mantra, “Never ever underestimate the ignorance of the customer!” (And you perhaps thought that the “customer is king”!) To be fair, McDonald’s employees seem to deal with a wide spectrum of customers, from the indulgently hazy to the downright crazy. Thanks to their mantra, they are able to take it all in stride and patiently deal with our quirks. What can we say? Thank you for your service to society!

17. The Ice Cream Machine Could Be Broken

Ice Cream Machine

Did you put in your dream order only to find that you have to forgo your favorite dessert of milkshake or Ronnie’s soft serve yet again? Well, this isn’t as unlikely as you think. According to their employees, their milkshake and dessert machines do have a questionable reputation.

The machines also act up when employees mix the wrong ingredients in the wrong slots. You can’t really blame them, as McDonald’s employees strive to constantly serve you “fast” food. At Mickey D’s, speed beats accuracy any day! So skip that milkshake or ice cream, and order that day-old pie. But even if it is a slightly different flavor, so what? It is still a treat!

Related: The 10 Dirtiest Foods You’re Eating

16. Machine Cleaning Is Possibly Overdue

Machine Cleaning

Again, you have to admire their diligence in following their cleaning routine. As some employees say, the tubes in the milkshake machine are connected to other tubes that slosh around soap, sanitizer, and water through the machine, giving it a thorough cleaning. But this only happens as part of a weekly ritual. Not bad, we say. Better weekly than never!

15. The French Fries Are Not Vegetarian

French Fries

Or even vegan. How could they be, when they are garnished with natural beef flavor? But there’s good news. You should be glad to know that they serve only the absolute best of the best where beef is concerned. That is Grade A beef at its commercial purest. The only ingredients they add to it are salt and pepper. So your fries may not be as pure as you think, but the beef in them certainly is!

14. The Employees Hate Your Happy Meal

Happy Meal

Let’s cut them some slack as we think about this. So you have just ordered your kid’s favorite happy meal. Now they are duty bound to ask you, “The newly introduced clementine or good old apple slices? Or perhaps your child would prefer the no-fat, all-good yogurt? Now for the healthy drink. Plain milk or chocolate milk, or they could even do apple juice. Next, toy for girl, or toy for boy?” Done, finally. And it gets even worse if you change your order midway through. As you can see, your happy meal eats into their precious time. Hardly the dream of a “fast food” employee!

Related: 10 Food Additives to Watch Out For

13. Your Artisan Sandwich Order Is Annoying

Artisan Sandwich

Again, it is the timing that causes the transition from your gain to their pain. As one employee shared, the mere act of grilling the chicken for your ultra-special artisan sandwich, takes – hold your breath – an excruciating eight minutes! So while you celebrate your perfectly decorated sandwich for its aesthetic and gastronomic appeal, it has been a frustratingly time-consuming endeavor for the poor Mickey D’s employee. True story!

12. They Have a Reason to Not Wear Gloves

Not Wear Gloves

And no, it isn’t what you think! Here is where we tell you that McDonald’s outlets are outrageously underestimated for their hygiene. For instance, did you know that their employees are encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands almost every hour? And the kitchen counters are constantly being scrubbed every other hour? But the million dollar question is: is this really more hygienic than gloves?

11. The McMuffins Contain Real Eggs

Real Eggs

Many people are surprised to know that the McMuffins contain real eggs. Sure, they look way too good to be true. But we sure are glad to tell you that they are indeed the real deal! They are made from actual eggs, and as one McDonald’s cook clarifies, it takes a special technique to get those McMuffins to come out so perfectly round. Fortunately, McDonald’s employees master this technique quickly!

Related: Reasons Why Eggs Are the Most Important Food in your Diet

10. You Can Order Your Way to a Cheaper Deal

Cheaper Deal

Our dear pal Ronnie the clown sure likes to clown around with the math. For instance, a normal order of a Sausage Egg McMuffin may cost you $3.29. But if you take the time to order it in individual bits, Ronnie is sure to appreciate all that effort and sweeten the deal. So you can get yourself a Round Egg for $1 and a Sausage McMuffin for $1.29. Now slap the egg on the McMuffin and you’ve saved yourself a dollar!

9. McDonald’s Hands Out Fabulous Employee Discounts


Here’s the list of goodies you can expect to enjoy when you work at an outlet of Mickey D’s. One free meal, if the timing fits into your regular shift, and discount coupons to use at hotels, Via Rail or even at Apple stores. You can even get a 25% discount for your Christmas shopping by buying shoes at Payless. As you can see, there are certainly some perks to working for Ronnie!

8. Drive-Thru Orders Take Precedence

Drive Thru Orders

Did you know that McDonald’s has a unique rule for their drive-thru orders? Employees must complete the entire order-taking process within a super-fast 90 seconds. And if you happen to order a McDish that requires (gasp!) grilled chicken? Those poor employees have less than 30 seconds to finish! So you can imagine the sheer madness to meet the rush. No wonder drive-thru orders get top priority!

Related: Why McDonald’s Coca-Cola Tastes the Best

7. They Will Not Serve You Drive-Thru on Foot

Drive Thru On Foot

Let’s be reasonable here. It is called “drive-thru” for good reason. But it isn’t just the syntax or the semantics that makes all the difference. McDonald’s also has stringent safety standards in place that disallow their employees from serving their feast to people outside, especially when they aren’t in a “motorized vehicle in the drive-thru”.

Their version of motorized also excludes electric scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians. Here’s where you should be happy to walk in and bask in all that McAmbience.

6. If You Visit Late at Night, You Better Carry Cash


Yes, McDonald’s is one of those very few food chains that strives to serve us 24/7, every single day of every year. But even they have their limitations. This includes a 30 to 90 minute timeout late at night when they reset all their systems.

They use this one hour to keep things running smoothly the rest of the night and day. So during this hour, you are expected to pay in cash and the cashier hands out a hand-written bill. Fortunately, an increasing number of their outlets are located close to ATM machines that are open 24/7. This sure is good news.

5. They Don’t All Carry That Coveted Szechuan Sauce


Yes, we get that you watched that infamous Rick and Morty episode – the one that made Ronnie’s American tribute to Chinese Szechuan Sauce super famous. And if you are a McDonald’s regular, you are bound to covet one of those delectable sauce packets.

But here’s the not so happy truth. Most outlets get a measly 10 to 20 packets apiece. So you do the math to figure out just how many happy customers walk away with this spicy deal. In their favor, McDonald’s employees do try their best to reserve these for their loyal customers. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones?

4. They Cater to Your Whims and Fancies


They try their level best. They really do! This includes changing the sauce on your burger. Or making a fresh batch of salt-free fries (even if this includes first cleaning out the salt out from the fryer machines). And they usually do all of it without spitting into your food.

But if you are one of those annoying customers that wait in line and are still unsure of what you want to order? All bets are off! Likewise with ultra-customized orders, where you do your annoying best to replace almost every other ingredient that is part of the default order. In these cases, be prepared to face the wrath of the exasperated employee. Fortunately, this still does not include spitting in your food!

3. It Is Best to Stay Clear of the Burrito


Fancy yourself a fresh McDonald’s Burrito for breakfast? Not your best choice of healthy meal. Like the apple pie, Ronnie’s burritos don’t always come with the promise of freshness. In fact, it’s not unlikely that those burritos have been sitting in your favorite McDonald’s outlet for a while.

Also, the egg in it is often microwaved. That’s a good enough reason to steer clear! Conversely, the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish is a dish that has been around forever. Yet, it is ordered so rarely that employees are forced to prepare it from scratch. So if that is your breakfast dish of choice, be prepared for a good wait.

2. There Is No “Secret” of the Mighty McGangBang


This “secret” only has their employees rolling their eyes. The big reveal is that there is no fancy Mickey D’s secret menu, or a McGangBang! So when a customer walks in and orders one, the employees simply add a chicken burger on top of a double cheeseburger and serve it to you with a big smile. Hardly a secret, is it?

1. They Have a Demanding Hiring Process


This one now seems obvious. Working at Mickey D’s outlet is surely no cakewalk. With all the unusual demands they face, their employees need to be sharp and think on their feet all day long. And with a smile! It is a tough ask, and this is reflected in their equally tough hiring process. So if you think you can simply walk into an outlet and start working within the hour, their employees would urge you to think again!

Managers look for individuals who are strong team players, with solid communication skills. They also look for individuals exposed to a diverse set of people, with plenty of extracurricular activities. Essentially, you need to show them that you are more than equipped to take on their demanding customers (or confused ones). Or even the irate ones who order everything all wrong, but expect you to take the blame for it. As you can guess, these traits are far rarer. But, if you do crack it, you get the privilege of receiving your work uniform from the world’s second-largest employer. Sweet!

McDonald’s is a global brand that has been around for three-quarters of a century. Is it all good? Certainly not, but it isn’t all bad either. There are plenty of reasons why it remains America’s favorite fast food joint. Knowing their potential pitfalls can help you work around them and continue to enjoy your cherished McDonald’s dining experience.

Related: Healthiest Fast Food


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