We Americans have a fascination with McDonald's that goes way beyond the food. Not only do we hunger for their Big Macs and super-salty fries, we hunger for their secrets as well.
The internet is liberally seasoned with anecdotes and urban legends about McDonald's, but only an honest-to-goodness employee can truly give us a taste of what's behind the counter. Fortunately, one brave Mickey D's worker was kind enough to pull back the vinyl curtain of his/her walk-in cooler and nourish us with little-known McNuggets of knowledge straight from the kitchen floor.
To keep his/her identity anonymous, this McDonald's team member fielded questions from curious consumers in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, allowing for an open discourse on everything from sanitary conditions to fast-food tomfoolery.
Keep reading for 10 of the employee's juiciest responses, but be warned: If you can't stand the heat coming off the industrial-grade fryer, it's probably best to get out of the kitchen now.
#1. What's the most annoying item to prepare?
"Premium wraps are the most annoying item on the menu … You have to steam the tortilla, nobody ever remembers what goes on them, we are always out of something that goes on it, [and] wrapping them sucks, not to mention trying to fit them in those tiny boxes."
#2. Do the eggs really come in as powder?
"We use real eggs for the round eggs. For the scrambled, it comes as liquid in a milk-carton looking thing. And the folded eggs come in a little package already folded and ready to cook. So no, no powdered eggs."
#3. Do you talk about the rude customers on the headset?
"All the time. We put on a headset just to do such, and it's a lot of fun to talk about customers. But its 90 percent of the time, to let others know about the cute dog that just pulled up in drive-thru. If you have a cute dog, you are [the] #1 priority."
#4. How sanitary are the conditions? After working there, would you eat there?
"We keep [everything] sanitary as much as possible. The only problem is employees. Some will be careful while making the food, others are just lazy and sloppy. I will eat there only if I make the food."
#5. How long does the cooked meat sit out?
"The timers are all digital now. We put the meat in the heating cabinets and then press a button. When the timer goes off, that means it's time to change the meat."
#6. How often do you see people spitting or putting hair in food?
"Never. I have not once seen people spitting in food, or placing hair in it. Now dropped items are a different story. But very rare … It also depends on the employee. Some will drop the bun/meat and use it, others will throw it away. Spitting has never happened so far. The worst that will happen is if the customer is extremely rude or disrespectful, I've seen people add extra ketchup if they asked for no ketchup, or 'accidentally' forgetting to put certain things on it."
#7. Have you had any weird special orders you've had to make? If so what was it?
"The weirdest I've seen is when some guy wanted a Quarter Pounder, but with everything on it. And I mean EVERYTHING! All of the condiments, everything at the dress table, every kind of meat/chicken … and it seems that every shift I work, some idiot (being serious or not) orders a cheeseburger with no cheese."
#8. How much would it bother you to make breakfast after 11 a.m.?
"Nope. Nope. Nope. Not happening. 10 a.m. is when we begin to prepare for lunch and start to take breakfast stuff back. After 10:30, you are out of luck."
#9. Are there any off-menu creations that you or the other employees like to make?
"If we have some off time, we like to see who can make the most delicious/disgusting nugget creation. We get one nugget, and unlimited condiments."
#10. What's the worst you've been treated by a customer?
"Customers have a hard time realizing that McDonald's employees are human, and do make mistakes. We have been called names, got nasty phone calls, and tried to be fought. But on the brighter side, you get to know some of the customers and befriend them. It is nice to [see] the same old guy come in for breakfast."