13+ Things Your Fast Food Worker Won’t Tell You

These surprising secrets about your favorite fast food restaurants might make you think twice next time you're in line or at the drive-thru.

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After we cook something, we put it in a holding cabinet and set a timer.

After we cook something, we put it in a holding cabinet and set a timer.
When the timer goes off, we’re supposed to throw it out. But often, we just reheat the food. So for the freshest meal, come between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. More people are in the restaurant then, so we’re cooking and serving new food constantly.

That plain chicken breast may have been a healthy choice out of the package,

That plain chicken breast may have been a healthy choice out of the package,
but sometimes we have to slather it with butter just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the grill.  

There’s usually a way to get expensive menu items for less.

There’s usually a way to get expensive menu items for less.
If you’re craving a Big Mac, for example, order a $1 McDouble with no mustard or ketchup and then add shredded lettuce and Mac sauce for a small charge. It’s basically a mini Big Mac, and you can get two for less than the cost of one Big Mac.  

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Most fast-food joints clean everything, including the grills and the drink machine nozzles, with super-concentrated chemicals at the end of the day.

Most fast-food joints clean everything, including the grills and the drink machine nozzles, with super-concentrated chemicals at the end of the day.
If you’re one of the first customers in the morning, you may be getting some of that chemical residue on the food or in the drink you order.  


 

Those grill marks on your burger?

Those grill marks on your burger?
Not real. They were put there by the factory.

Most of us will cook something fresh for you if you ask.

Most of us will cook something fresh for you if you ask.
But if you want to make sure your french fries come right out of the fryer, order them without salt; that forces us to cook you a new batch. Then you can add your own salt.

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Avoid asking for “extra” of something, like cheese or sauce.

Avoid asking for “extra” of something, like cheese or sauce.
As soon as you say “extra,” we have to enter it at the register and charge you for it. Instead, just tell us you want us to “put a good amount on there” or “not to be skimpy with it,” and we’ll load you up.

Yes, our chili is made from what you think:

Yes, our chili is made from what you think:
Meat from old burgers.

It makes me laugh when someone comes in and says she’s trying to be healthy—and then orders a salad with crispy chicken.

It makes me laugh when someone comes in and says she’s trying to be healthy—and then orders a salad with crispy chicken.
At McDonald’s, some of those salads have about as many calories as a Big Mac. In fact, a small order of french fries contains four fewer grams of fat than a packet of our ranch dressing.

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Because we’re timed on how fast we get customers through the drive-through,

Because we’re timed on how fast we get customers through the drive-through,
we always prioritize those in line outside over anyone at the front counter.  

One of my coworkers once got so mad that he spit in someone’s food.

One of my coworkers once got so mad that he spit in someone’s food.
He was suspended for three days; most of us would never do something like that.

 

Here’s a good way to know how clean a fast-food establishment really is:

Here’s a good way to know how clean a fast-food establishment really is:
When you get your drink, bend down and look up into the ice chute. If you see mold and other stuff growing in there – which is more common than you might expect – they’re not cleaning the machine as often as they’re supposed to.

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Those gorgeous pictures of our food in our advertisements?

Those gorgeous pictures of our food in our advertisements?
They’re airbrushed and touched up with fiberglass and paint. It probably takes two hours to make that picture; obviously, we’re not going to be able to replicate that.

 

Please, please, get off your cell phone.

Please, please, get off your cell phone.
I’ve had people pull up to the window, pay, and drive away without their food because they’re talking on the phone and not paying attention. Then they’re mad at me.

At most fast-food restaurants, it’s tough to give away free food, especially things like burgers because they’re inventoried.

At most fast-food restaurants, it’s tough to give away free food, especially things like burgers because they’re inventoried.
We can sometimes give away French fries, ice cream or drinks because we get those ourselves, but it depends which manager is on duty.

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We hate it when you order an ice cream.

We hate it when you order an ice cream.
Most of the time, we’ve got to make it, and it’s already melting by the time we hand it to you. If you order 4 or 5 cones at a time, it’s almost impossible to get them to you before they melt everywhere, and then you want new ones.

Here’s something that surprised me when I started working at McDonalds:

Here’s something that surprised me when I started working at McDonalds:
Our clam grills are set at 750 degrees, and they can fully cook a regular beef hamburger in just 38 seconds, a quarter pounder in 70 seconds. The first time I ever saw that, I was like, ‘Ewww.'

We’re happy to replace something if we mess up, but we can usually tell when you’re making up a story to get free food.

We’re happy to replace something if we mess up, but we can usually tell when you’re making up a story to get free food.
There was one guy who found a pebble in our parking lot, put it in his food after he ate most of it, and then asked for a replacement. Another lady took 10 tacos home. The next day, she brought just a few of them back, showing us that their lettuce was brown. She wanted another 10 tacos. But of course if you leave tacos out for 24 hours, the lettuce will turn.

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Some fast-food workers definitely follow the 10-second rule.

Some fast-food workers definitely follow the 10-second rule.
I have seen people drop food and then pick it back up and put it on the grill.

No, most of us do not donate our leftovers.

No, most of us do not donate our leftovers.
I can’t believe how much food we throw out every day, especially at the end of the night.

All fast-food restaurants are not created equal.

All fast-food restaurants are not created equal.
Even restaurants within the same chain can vary widely depending on the owner and manager and what kind of standards they set.

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When you take three handfuls of napkins or fill your purse with ketchup packets,

When you take three handfuls of napkins or fill your purse with ketchup packets,
I don’t know what you call it, but I call it stealing. You’re just making things more expensive for everyone.

Please don’t ask what ingredients are in our fried chicken coating or in our special sauce.

Please don’t ask what ingredients are in our fried chicken coating or in our special sauce.
All of our recipes are proprietary, so they don’t even tell us what’s in them.
 

At some restaurants, managers get a bonus if they hold onto their employees and keep their turnover rate down.

At some restaurants, managers get a bonus if they hold onto their employees and keep their turnover rate down.
That gives us an incentive to keep people who aren’t very good, even if they don’t know the difference between a French fry and a screwdriver. And I’m not exaggerating; I’ve had employees who were that bad.

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Most of us, even the managers, aren’t making much more than minimum wage.

Most of us, even the managers, aren’t making much more than minimum wage.
You wouldn’t believe the stuff we put up with for that kind of money. People constantly talk to me like I’m a two-year-old. I’ve had customers throw drinks at me and cuss at me. I’ve been held up at gunpoint.


  

At Taco Bell, most of our food does carry over, so we reheat it and serve it the next day.

At Taco Bell, most of our food does carry over, so we reheat it and serve it the next day.
That’s why I never take my lunch break early.
 

For the best deal at McDonalds, order off the dollar menu.

For the best deal at McDonalds, order off the dollar menu.
You can get a lot of food for the same price as a meal and it will fill you up more.



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We were supposed to wear gloves when we made food,

We were supposed to wear gloves when we made food,
but a lot of times my co-workers didn’t do it, and that really skeeved me out.
 


 

Most of us don’t wash our hands as much as we should.

Most of us don’t wash our hands as much as we should.
Even though there are signs everywhere reminding us it's the law.

Look around to see how much trash is in the parking lot,

Look around to see how much trash is in the parking lot,
whether the bathrooms are dirty and if the dining room is picked up. When things that are so publicly visible are neglected, you can bet that even more is being neglected in the back and in the kitchen where no one can see them.



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Once your order is in at the drive thru,

Once your order is in at the drive thru,
we have two minutes to get your food before the screen turns red, and the manager asks what’s going on.

We do laugh at you behind your back,

We do laugh at you behind your back,
like when you mispronounce our menu items or when you think we can’t hear you through the drive-thru speaker, yelling at your husband or kids.


When it was slow, sometimes we would all take the garbage out and smoke marijuana in the back.

When it was slow, sometimes we would all take the garbage out and smoke marijuana in the back.
Really, it's true.

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117 thoughts on “13+ Things Your Fast Food Worker Won’t Tell You

  1. If you come into the restaurant sick as a dog, you’re putting me and my coworkers as well as the other customers at the risk of getting sick. A lot of fast food workers only make minimum wage and are literally 1 or 2 pay checks away from being out on the street as a result. So if we get sick we either a. Have to come into work even if we are sick as a dog and risk getting other people sick or b. we have to miss a few days of work and risk getting thrown out on the street as a result. So we would really appreciate it if you would just stay in bed or at the very least stay out of the restaurant if you’re sick.

  2. If you wanna know whether or not we have specials, don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, don’t get mad at me for not telling you. I’m not a mind reader I have know way of knowing whether or not you wanna know if we have any specials unless you ask. I mean, when you go to Walmart, do you employees go up to you and tell you what’s on sale or if they have anything on sale? No, they don’t. I understand it’s not the same thing, but it’s the same principal.

  3. If you come in and order, please don’t point to the soda machine and ask if that’s where you get drink or point to the machine and ask if you get your drink yourself. Why would we have a soda machine in lobby if we get your drink for you? And if you come in and order a drink, where else do you think you’re gonna get it?

  4. Think you’re making my job easier by wiping that soda you just spilled on that table? Think again. We have to go around the restaurant during our free time and make sure there are no tables that need to be sanitized. If we find any that clearly needs to be sanitized, we have to wipe it down. So, even if you wipe that soda off the table, we still have to sanitize the table. If you leave the soda there, it’s easier for us to tell whether or not the table needs to be sanitized whereas if you wipe the table down and we don’t see you, we can’t tell whether the table needs to be sanitized or not.

  5. If you see a stack of trays next to the monitor, please do not set your money on the top tray unless you’re eating in and I haven’t set one out on the counter yet. Otherwise, you’ve just contaminated the tray and I have to take it to the back, which gives me less time to help put your order together or take other people’s orders. Also, please do not lick your fingers and then hand me your money because then I have to go wash my hands and that also leaves me less time to help put orders together or take other orders.

  6. Tip to all other fast food workers on here, if you redrop fries it melts the salt off of them. That way you can send out unsalted fries in a rush

  7. Please don’t ask me whether or not I like something on our menu. In case you haven’t noticed, you and I are two different people, which means we have different opinions. Just because I like something doesn’t mean you will and vice-versa. But I’m not allowed to tell you that I don’t like something. However, if I say something along the lines of “I’ve never had it”, that might mean I don’t like it. And please don’t criticize me for not eating it. I am entitled to my opinion just like everyone else and therefore, I do not have to like the same things you do. Thank you.

  8. Can you not see that I’m trying to take someone else’s order? If you can, please do not try to grab my attention while I’m taking an order. If you can’t here’s a good way to tell that I’m taking an order: if you’re in the drive thru and you see me standing at the counter poking the monitor, you can bet that I’m taking an order. Or if you’re at the counter and you see me talking into a headset and poking the monitor, that means I’m taking an order in drive thru. If I’m doing something else, I’ll gladly drop what I’m doing to help you. It’s just common courtesy and if you want something after I’ve already handed your order to you, you should’ve said so before I handed you your order.

  9. If you order at the counter and hear a bunch of people talking as loud as they possibly can or like 100 machines beeping and buzzing behind me, please DO NOT mumble. If you do mumble, don’t get mad at me for not being able to hear you and don’t get mad at me if I get your order wrong.

  10. You are aware of the fact that if I took your order, I didn’t make the food, right? I don’t know how you wouldn’t be aware of this, but if you weren’t, you are now. If you’re aware of the fact that I didn’t make the food and there’s something wrong with it, don’t get PO’ed at me like I’m the one who made your sandwich. And please do not ask me what you just said. You’re the one who’s ordering you should know what you just said. And if you’re ordering for other people, please write down their order before you come in. If you don’t, then you have to call them, wait for them to answer their phone, then wait for them to decide what they want. If you can’t write the order down before you come in, please step out of line and let other people order. If you call someone else while your ordering for them, it’ll probably take around 5 minutes for you to order and in the time it took you to place your order, we could’ve already had your food out to you as well as taken someone else’s order, gotten their food out to them, and maybe even get started on a third person’s order. And then the people forming the conga line behind you are getting mad at me because you’re taking your sweet time ordering.

  11. Wanna know a good way to make a fast food employee mad? Treat them like your maid and not clean up after yourself or your kids. A lot of fast food places have their employees do a bunch of different things at once, which leaves less time to clean up after customers and then we get to hear about it not being clean from other customers.

  12. I can’t believe I even have to say this, but if you don’t know what you want and there’s other people behind you, don’t just stand there and go “um, uh, uh, um”. Either pick something or step out of line and let someone else order while you decide what you want. It’s just common courtesy. Even more so when there’s people backed up to the door.

  13. If you’re sick, please do not come into the restaurant. Not only are you putting me at risk of getting sick, but you are also putting the other people around you at risk of getting sick.

  14. I’m seeing a lot of people posting comments like these refer to every fast food restaurant. Remember #21- “All fast food restaurants are not created equal. Even restaurants within the same chain can vary widely depending on the owner and manager and what kind of standards they set.”

  15. The chili thing is only semi-true. They’re not “old” per say. They were on the grill too long and were burned too black to serve, so we put them in a bin that is about as hot as the side of the grill that they were already on. Chili meat is drained, washed, and chopped after every lunch hour and sporadically throughout the day as it fills back up. It’s nowhere near as disgusting as they make it out to be, nor is any of this as bad as they make it seem.

  16. #27 – Please do not repeatedly clarify that you want the item from the dollar menu. If you look at where it appears on the regular menu, you will see that the item has the same name and is still a dollar. It’s also the same button on the touchscreen, and the cashier is not capable of changing the price. So, if you order a small fry, you get a small fry, and you will pay a dollar, whether or not you actually say the words “dollar menu.” All the “that’s the one off the dollar menu, right?” question does is make you look foolish and delay getting your food until the cashier feels he or she has your permission to push the total button.

  17. fast food restaurant should be banned or they should make real food

    I’m

  18. #32 is so true. Where I work (Burger King) what you say at the drive-thru is played on a speaker in the kitchen so we can try and make your food before it is put on the screen. When you have a funny voice or accent, mispronounce a menu item, or are an @$$hole we can all hear you.

  19. I work at White Castle so I’m going to go through each slide and tell you what is true and what isn’t about the one that I work at.

    1. Some places do do that but we do not. We have cameras on us all the time so they see if we do something like that but the times are accurate, however I will say that we hold fries and we will throw them out after the appropriate time has passed. Also, outside of the our peak hours, everything is cooked fresh.

    2. We cook our grilled chicken in butter/oil so that is true.

    3. N/A

    4. We actually clean our grills with water.

    5. N/A

    6. True.

    7. True.

    8. N/A

    9. N/A

    10. Our drive through and our dining room is timed.

    11. I’ve only seen that happen at a Krystal video on YouTube.

    12. True.

    13. Not sure about that.

    14. True.

    15. We actually replace your order if we get it wrong.

    16. N/A

    17. N/A

    18. True.

    19. We don’t do that at ALL.

    20. True.

    21. True. Depends on the manager on duty.

    22. True.

    23. True.

    24. I don’t know if that is true about White Castle.

    25. True.

    26. N/A

    27. N/A

    28. We ALWAYS wear gloves.

    29. Not true. Some don’t but not most.

    30. Not true, especially during peak hours because we don’t have enough time to go out there and clean everything during a rush.

    31. We have 3 minutes.

    32. Hate to say it, but it’s true.

    33. If you are caught high at work, you are terminated immediately.

  20. #5 is definitely NOT TRUE. I worked at BK for a year and those grill marks are from A GRILL. Not a factory. What do you thing “flame-broiled” means…Though the meat is probably shot up with x-rays before they leave the factory to kill bacteria.

  21. You had to have been the worst employee any restaurant has ever had! If I ever caught you doing any of the crap you said in this article you would be fired immediately. I have been in the industry longer than I had planned and I am blown away at the fact that any restaurant would ever let their workers get away with smoking weed, laughing at customers, spitting in food! Are you kidding me?! That would never be allowed. If a customer says they want something fresh, all they have to do is ask….why lie? I am appalled at your article and really don’t think you have ever truly worked in food. There is just no way.

  22. #13. If it is not even remotely feasible then it’s false advertisement. -.- The things that marketing can get away with these days really rustles my jimmies.

  23. Actually i work at McDonalds and the one i work at it is two dollars for a big mac

  24. 3 things obesity prevention advocates won’t tell you. 1 most people who are overweight either a. eat fast food every day. b. dont get proper exercise. 2. the people who organize these campaigns lie. use scare tactics. blackmail the fast food companies into bending to their will. 2. the things they say “are unhealthy” in small doses are actually benificial to your health

  25. Just eat the goddamn food. Nobody has time for your special requests; you’d know if you’ve ever worked service industry

  26. Hahahaha i work at mcdonalds now and it’s so true! 4 months and i’ve seen basically all of these

  27. Ask for no salt? they put the old fries down again and burn the salt off of them!!

    1. actually, a lot of places, the fast food workers HAVE to use a fresh batch of fries. Refrying them would actually be easier and quicker. Also salt doesn’t burn in oil. :)

  28. Having stupid people come in is probably more common than a lot of people think. The other day, for example, we had a customer come in and ask what kind of meat comes on a turkey sandwich. The manager responded by sarcastically saying “ham” and the customer said “Oh, well I don’t want that” and he said it with dead seriousness. And when I first started working there, we had a couple come in every week and complain that their roast beef was pink and every time, the manager would explain to them that the color of the meat depends on what part of the roast it comes off of and that it has nothing to do with how long the meat is cooked. Then there’s the customer who always orders a sandwich then claims that he told me he wanted some kind of cheese or condiments when he really didn’t. Clearly those customers are just trying to get free food.

    1. hahahaha ive worked fast food for 7 years now and everything on here is true! my old job was occasionally frustrating, but i really liked most of my customers and all of the people ive worked with! :). One thing to keep in mind though. Working temperature standards are occasionally not followed in the summer months. At my old job, we had no air conditioning, several deep fryers, the material on our uniforms was very thick. It was once 45 degrees in the kitchen and we were very busy. 2 cooks fainted from being forced to work in intense heat. So on busy, hot summer days pleeaasseee don’t get mad at us beacuse we’re a little slow with your order, its tough. I often worked 12 hours a day during summers

      .

  29. None of this surprised me, and I’ve never worked at fast food. I guess most people don’t bother to think about how businesses are run?

  30. #5 does not apply to Burger King — those grill marks are real, haha.

    1. Well it is quite well-designed, yes, but I’d argue that makes it a bit more metrosexual than homosexual…

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  32. Lol, yes we do laugh when a customer mispronunces our menu items or is yelling at their kids or something. Sometimes we get ppl talking on their phone when they pull up and they’ll be like “love ya” to whoever they are talking to and we’ll all be like “awww, love you too!” lol :D. Of course not into the headset though…

    If you want fresh fries just ask for them, don’t ask for no salt… it’s much easier to get a fresh fry then one with no salt. If you really want no salt then whatevs ask for no salt, but if you want fresh then ask for fresh.

    I don’t know how it is at other fast food restaurants but the one I worked at everybody wore a headset so they can hear you as soon as you order… so your food starts being made right away. When you order something inside, the sandwich maker usually doesn’t hear your order so there’s a delay as to when your food starts getting made. That makes coming thru the drive thru quicker… and yeah there is a timer for the drive thru so the orders do get done faster… but not always, I think it really depends on the crew and how busy it is.

    1. On customers and menu items. I once had someone ask me (I worked at McDonald’s) for a “Half-pound burger” and a “crispy chicken sandwich”. McDonald’s has no such thing as a “half-pound burger” and the Angus sandwiches (which weren’t even a half-pound of meat to start with) were discontinued, and there are SEVERAL types of crispy chicken sandwiches we can serve you, so just saying you want a “crispy chicken sandwich” does nothing to explain what you actually want. Said customer then proceeded to yell about how I couldn’t tell him that “there wasn’t no half-pound burger” and call me stupid for not understanding his extremely vague order. Sir, please read the menu next time.

      1. ha! They must have thought they were at Wendy’s. Half pound burgers are just doubles, and we have a crispy chicken sandwich.

      2. This drives me nuts too. I work at Wendy’s and people come through wanting McNuggets, McChickens, Snack Wraps, or order a Happy Meal. Then they get mad when we tell them we don’t sell those items but we have chicken nuggets, crispy chickens, go wraps, or kids’ meals.
        Or ask for onion rings or Whoppers.
        I literally had someone yell at one of my crew members because they didn’t know how to make a Whopper… wrong place, people.
        I have no problem differentiating between different restaurants’ menus. I don’t see why customers can’t keep stuff straight.

  33. when people ask for fries with no salt we allways give them older fries that we just refry for a few seconds to get rid of the salt =) but if you ask nicely and say fresh fries we will do it, we don’t like when people try to trick us.

    1. Man, I would never do that when I worked fast food. But I did call the customers that wanted unsalted fries (then salted them themselves) very rude names behind their backs. If you want fresh fries, just ask. But trust me, you do NOT want fresh fries, because fresh fries come out coated in oil and taste like the oil, too, you can’t even taste potato. The oil hasn’t absorbed in yet so you get a mouthful of just gross, reused fry oil.

    2. I worked at McDonalds (and ours was very strict about customer service) so if you asked for fries with no salt, we dropped fresh fries for you. We never complained about it unless the person who ordered them gave us gruff for having to wait the extra three minutes it took to fry new fries. Oh, and we wiped the fry bin out with paper towels to cut down on the salt content and wiped all the utensils that came into direct contact with the fries down too. We tried really hard to make people happy, and it paid off for the most part. Our store was super clean, too.

  34. The writer of this article is an idiot, you need to take a servsafe course so you can understand more about food safety, and move out of whatever ghetto, disgusting town you live in and work somewhere that has standards like the rest of the world.

  35. i would have to disagree with this post… i work in fast food for the past 7 years 5 being in management. a lot of the this in this post are in fact false. managers watch there employees like hawks along with cameras the employees cant not get away with a thing if a manager was to condone such behave here then they would be fired end of story… and in fast food you are being watched and you WILL be snitched on..

  36.  Mini Big Mac? When I managed at the clown place, the “McBible” stated that Mac sauce was NEVER to be put on anything but a Big Mac.

    1. You have clearly never seen that youtube vid about the Ghetto Big Mac.

      People at the McDonald’s I worked at used to get McDoubles, the little $1 burgers, all the time, and put mac sauce and lettuce on them along with everything else (except ketchup and mustard). It costs extra, sure, but same taste. Just without the little center bun.

  37. #17 states that the grills at McDonald’s are set to 750 degrees. This is not even remotely accurate. No McDonald’s anywhere cooks anywhere close to that temperature. By cooking meat from both sides at once (at correct temperatures), cook times are reduced and food safety and speed of service are improved.

    #19 says that employees drop food on the floor and reuse it. Food safety continues to improve every day, and something like this would never happen in any chain restaurant

    #28 says many employees don’t wear gloves. This is simply not true. New FDA regulations require the use of disposable gloves when preparing ready-to-eat food. Most employees don’t want to get their hands dirty by directly touching food anyway.

    There are many more inaccuracies in this slideshow that do injustice to the fast-food industry. Sanitation, cleanliness, food quality, and service are constantly improving. Most fast-food restaurants are far cleaner than any home kitchen, and use higher-quality ingredients.

    1. We’d get in a LOT of trouble at the McDonald’s I worked at if we EVER worked without wearing gloves while prepping food, or if we EVER scooped food off the floor and used it! In fact there’s usually food all over the floor back there, especially fries, and it gets swept up with the rest of the garbage when we clean back there. You would NOT want food off the floor of a McDonald’s kitchen anyway, it’s seriously disgusting. Those red tiles hold so many bacteria and crap in the crevices… We also don’t hold stuff in cabinets, at least not at McDonald’s. If the food’s too old, it gets thrown away, or a crew member will snag it up and eat it.

  38. This article is wrong in so many ways its ridiculous.  It’s almost impossible to get a grill up to 750 degrees to start with.  They have clam shells that cook the burger from top and bottom, that’s how they cook so fast.

    1. Some of it’s pretty accurate, if you’ve ever worked in fast food. But that is true, you can’t get a grill up to 750 degrees (Fahrenheit or Celsius) that easily; you need butter or oil, but that kinda temperature will make most fats (like butter or oils) burn and evaporate.

  39. #20 – Many restaurants will donate the raw materials on request (e.g. patties, buns, condiments) but when you donate food you loose control over the quality. If the food pantry holds a big batch of meat on the counter overnight, serves it up the next day, and gets a lot of people sick suddenly it’s your fault.

  40. A few things your fast food worker would like to tell you.

    We are not all idiots, but sometimes we are new and trying to learn everything while you have a b*tch fit about a minor detail isn’t helping.

    Soon as you place your order in drive thru it’s being made, if you want to add or remove ingredients when you pull up to pay it’s probably to late or going to take longer.

    We are people to, and because we make minimum wage we come to work no mater what. No matter what! I have had co-workers come in after car wrecks, getting news a loved one passed, once even had a girl come in after suffering a miscarriage. 

    The person taking the drive thru order is more often then not also taking money, so give them a break and don’t get pissy because they didn’t respond the very second you were done talking.
     
    Please don’t yell, but don’t whisper, not super fast, or super slow either. I’ve had people order one item at a time only after I ask “can I get you anything else?”. Just talk like you are giving a speech. 

    Don’t bring all your friends in the world with you through drive thru. It makes it very hard to accurately take your order, and it takes up a lot of time. 

    The best time for fresh fries/hash browns is over night in a 24 hr place we usually make them to order so it might take a little longer but they be steaming when you get it.

    Last but not least just treat people how you want to be treated and you will you get fast friendly and accurate orders.

    And I am by no means saying it’s the customers fault they have bad experiences. 
    Just think everyone should calm down and be more understanding.

    1. I agree with most of what you said.. I’ve always worked in fast food until recently. But I will say this.. it’s kinda ridiculous to ask people to limit the amount of passengers in their car. People aren’t always leaving their home to go get fast food. Actually for me the vast percentage of times I get fast food is when I’m out and about and realize I don’t feel like going home and cooking.. or when I wasn’t a mom it was when I was out with friends and we’re driving home from somewhere and decide we’re hungry. So should we say “Oh nope there’s too many people in the car lets go drop people off!” 
       The more appropriate thing to ask would to have the order ready before you go to the speaker and to be mature and quiet. But even then quite frankly that’s just being petty. I would ALL THE TIME have loud, annoying car full of teenagers. Yes sometimes it’d really agitate me. But all in all I realize they’re just having a good time and relax it’s not the end of the world for a customer to take a little extra time due to them enjoying themselves. It really isn’t going to ruin my entire day.  And also majority of times me and my co-workers would laugh and enjoy ourselves during it too.. even joke around with them. Relax.. it’s fast food.. it doesn’t have to be so dang serious. I’m not saying that in a belittling way either, believe me. But really… When I think of my fast food days.. even though I don’t think I’d ever work in them again and there was some horrid customers that would really just stress me out… what I really remember and think of.. and even miss very dearly.. was the good times me and my crew would have together. We always had a BLAST!!!

    2. Being a guest, you likely won’t see this, but I have to ask about the order speech. I notoriously order one thing at a time, because those that take money/orders are multitasking and missed things. So by ordering one thing at a time, then by getting a response, I know it was received and move on. Is it really that bad that I do this???

  41.  Brilliant in all respects.Quite an experience oriented writing.Some may differ on few points—but most of the ideas are shared by general people.
    Thanks to the contributor.

  42. As for #22, taking too many napkins or condiments when you’re a customer who’s actually *buying* something there, isn’t stealing. It’s just mooching. “Stealing” would be if you came in and just took that stuff and didn’t buy any of their food. Also, I remember how the cafeteria in my workplace once tried to charge an extra fee if you take more than two ketchup packets. I’m sorry, but I like lots of ketchup and need at least two per burger and about 6 for every order of fries (those packets are ridiculously tiny, IMO), so don’t treat us all like thieves.

    1. Yeah, a lot of us understand that. But we still aren’t allowed by our bosses to give you more at the drive-thru unless you ask for a LOT of ketchup. :)

  43. I could read only the first three items – could not get to the other 10.  I like your articles but think your site could use some improvement.  

  44. I have worked at Pizza Hut and a local superconvenience store, and not all of this applies to all places. Believe me, you didn’t want to be caught with food on the hot table that was out of code (most got a 4 or 6 hour code, but those typically had food prepped within an hour of a meal time rush and it was rare that you didn’t have to make more during the rush.)  We never reheated food, and the cold food in the refridgerated tables was replaced every 12 hours, once during the day and once overnight. That meant we tossed perfectly good food :( BUT it was fresh. (This was the convenience store, we made everything to order, from fries to pizza to subs and salads and coffee drinks, smoothies, you name it.)  We made all the fries to order, so if you didn’t want salt, it was just a matter of wiping down the dump bin and retrieving another scoop. Yes, at the Pizza Hut I was at, the cooks did smoke up. I was a little surprised at first, but our cooks were really good (we actually made better pizza than the stores in the nearby towns- we heard that many times).   Unless you were a total butthole and treated us like crap, we wouldn’t laugh at you though. That is just childish. And even if you did treat us badly, we prob just cussed you out in the back room and moved on. We always wore gloves, in the C- store and at Pizza Hut (save for the waitresses, who shouldn’t be touching the food, just the bottom of the dish anyways). OH, we always wore gloves. Not to is total taboo, at least around here. Handwashing is enforced,also. I worked at a local bakery and washed my hands so often, they were ridiculously dry from the soap (I had to wear vaseline and gloves to bed to fix that problem).  Most of us do make crap for money, but it is a job and that’s better than nothing, or a limited time on UC.  That doesn’t mean we are stupid. I am a 35 year old woman who could have done quite well as a college English professor, if I would have realized this before I had two special needs children, and that means I need a part time schedule to keep up with classroom aides, IEPs, etc. Not only that, but I enjoy foodservice and have a knack for charming regular customers and making people become regulars.
    Now for the big one:  I wholeheartedly AGREE that taking 23 ketchup packets for an order of small fries and 43 napkins is THEFT.  Those aren’t donated by Heinz and paper product vendors to the restaurant. They must be paid for. If you have a small child (or just a messy person :P) ask for moist towlettes. Most places do have them.)  If you grab way too many (like if the napkin dispenser has a worn spring and they just come out in bunches), just hand the “overkill” back to a cashier. I used to hate seeing people take a quarter of the supply with a cup of coffee. All I’d think was, “you took part of the bonus I am hoping to use towards my kids’ Christmas gifts :(”   Paper products are expensive. And to get more ketchup… ask if they have a souffle cup with a lid, and if they would squirt some ketchup in there. We had a 3 ounce cup that held plenty for a cup of fries. We weren’t really *supposed* to do that, but it fostered good PR, so I usually would.
    I hope this shed some more light on some of this.  :)

    1. 43 napkins? O.o; Geez. The most I would take would be about five total, and one at a time, at that. I start with two, and then if I need more, I’ll get them one at a time. I also always carry Kleenex in my purse, so I sometimes use a clean tissue to avoid taking too many napkins.
      Glad to hear about good policies at Pizza Hut. That’s one of my favorite pizza places. :)

  45. #24 Even idiots need jobs, too Lol .. where else are they supposed to go??

    1. In case you did not know some people lie to others about not knowing what a screw driver is to avoid letting someone borrow it because frankly, they feel weird about the person asking. :D I know because I said that to a neighbor who asked me for one. Then I told my folks about it and I laughed.

    2. I had a reason of course, he said something inappropriate to me the previous time I encountered him and apparently he did not apologize the next time I saw him when he asked for the screwdriver. I know that in retrospect I could have handled the situation better by telling him what he said was insulting, but I don’t know him that well.

  46. #16 Too f*%#ing bad! If you don’t like it, get an education and get a real job. Everyone has to do something at their job that they don’t like so suck it up and quit your complaining!

    1. In this economy it’s not always about having an education. It’s about finding what you can. Or maybe working fast food while you are getting a better education. 

    2. A real job ? Really ? Not every job requires a high education… but rather, it requires physical labor. It requires lifting & carrying & moving. It requires scrubbing & sweeping & mopping & cleaning. It requires you to not ever sit down. It requires you to be alert to alarms (ice cream, cookers, fries, headset, timers, back door, etc.). Most people don’t realize or acknowledge it… but this type of job requires a lot of skill. Money exchange, spotting the fake dollar, making food correctly, working the cookers, being able to take the burning on your hands, remembering orders or special requests, operating the headset, etc. All of that has to be done with speed. Worst of all, it requires a lot of interaction with the public. You put on a quick service uniform… you instantly get looked like an incompetent slave to people. This type of job requires you to stand there & get yelled at for things you didn’t do. It requires you to take threats, angry rants, & name calling. It requires you to always put the customer first, even after they’ve been rude to you. All of this, being paid usually minimum wage or not much over. Most of us are students as well, so we have to juggle that on top of working.

      I have a real job. I’m an employee of Chick-fil-a. I’m a full time student. I love what I do & I’m not ashamed of it. I work in the quick service industry & there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I work hard for what little I get. I’ve developed even better social skills. I’ve learned how to read people effectively. I’ve learned patience like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve learned how to keep going, pushing through long shifts of physical labor. I’ve learned skills in team work… because if one person messes up or doesn’t do something, we all get messed up.

      Is it rocket science ? No. Is it a job that anyone can do ? No. A lot of people aren’t fit for a job in the quick service food industry. A lot of people lack the social skills needed, or just the skills in general. It takes someone who can work… because this is a REAL job.

      I put a lot into my under-paid job. I can honestly say that I see myself, & my co-workers putting in more effort & drive & work ethic into our jobs than most educated adults, working what I suppose you would consider “real jobs”.

    3. I worked at McDonalds while I was getting my education to get a “real” job as you call it.

    4. Hey I got my education… a 4-year degree from a Big 10 university and I graduated and still ended up working as a manager for a fast food restaurant.
      I looked for a job with my degree and had no success. I had to take whatever I could to pay my student loans and other bills.
      QSR is a real job.
      I’d like to see you deal with pricks, jerks, and incompetent people all day with a smile on your face.
      (I’d also like to see you try to make a sandwich with the works in seven seconds, but that’s beside the point)

  47. I would rather have someone (who does not have any sores or wounds on their hands) prepare my food WITHOUT gloves.

    Essentially, you cannot feel your hands getting soiled so do not change the gloves often enough.

    The food worker gets the sense that the gloves are protecting their hands, rather than the gloves protecting the food; They tend not to change them enough, especially when changing tasks like going from picking stuff up off the floor then washing serviceware; or handling raw products then ready-to-serve food.

    1. I work at Taco Bell and we’re trained to change out gloves whenever we switch duties , clean something , pick something up of the ground and plus we are supposed to wash our hands once every hour . I’m not sure if any of my coworkers follow these rules but I know I do .

      1. I worked at McDonald’s and every time I used gloves, i changed them if I touched ANYTHING that was not food. If it was raw to prepared, change. If it was food to non-food, change.

  48. 5 is not true, at least in Burger King, I used to work there and THERE IS a giant grill/oven-like machine, also 4 inaccurate as most chemicals evaporate after some minutes

    1. Specifically with heat, yes, that’s true. and those fry vats? Cleaned a LOT more than you think.

      Ishimaru, most fast food places don’t have the grill machine like Burger King does. McDonald’s does not, for one. That’s why they don’t really have grill lines on any burgers or anything either, the patties don’t have them and they don’t have grills like that.

  49. I worked at mcdonalds for four years and they no longer put a ton of butter on the chicken, they upgraded the grill systems to top and bottem teflon liners and they get cleaned more often and the food comes off much easier. so no more yucky butter.

    1. Not at every McDonald’s. Most McDonald’s (I worked at one too) have the older machines still, so a butter/oil spray is used.

  50. None of this particularly surprises or bothers me. But I would like to make 2 little comments. 1) I take a boatload of napkins because I need them. If you had to see me eat without a napkin, you’d know why. 2) why do folks have such a hard time leaving OFF an ingredient, when I specify that there’s a food allergy involved? It’s NOT doing ONE piece of work. I don’t even mind paying extra. Especially when it’s that or pull out the epi-pen. 

    1. The worker was complaining about people who take napkins or sauces to use at home because they’re free. You’re only using the napkins at the restaurant, so you’re not the one being complained about.

    2. That employee wasn’t talking about people like you who are just messy eaters. Even messy eaters do NOT need a whole quarter of a stack of napkins. Trust me on this, I have seen and cleaned up after some very messy eaters, including one who left a bunch of ketchup smeared all over the table. As for the ketchup packets, fast food folks have to be wary of that, because we get in trouble if too many are given out for free. We have limits on the number of free nugget sauces and stuff for a reason.

      As for the food allergy thing, a lot of the time it’s a busy prep person who forgets. We go through a LOT of orders, and the more specific the order the harder it is when we’re in a lunchtime rush. Especially on Saturdays, which are always very busy. Things gte forgotten because the prep crew is told to prepare it a specific way, including everything, and sometimes they get in the zone and forget, like every other human. We’re sorry we made a mistake, tell us (politely, PLEASE! Us counter workers aren’t making your food, just taking your transaction, it really isn’t fair to yell at us just because we’re up front!) and we’ll fix it. Sorry about there being human beings behind the prep counter.

  51. Using the proper approach and timing it is often easy to receive free extras such as french fries by smiling, asking nicely and giving a reason for the employee to give the freebie… such as “I am your best customer” or “I am old and broke and it is getting harder to climb into and scrounge food from your dumpster” or any other reason that seems suitable at the moment.

    1. “Free” extras aren’t really free, and cost the restaurant money. Most employees don’t have the capability if handing out anything for free just because somebody smiled at them. If you can’t afford to eat out, then don’t-restaurant workers don’t have enough time or make enough money to have to deal with people trying to get free stuff from them. Especially when that can be grounds for getting fired.
      P.S. “I am your best customer” is the most annoying, overused line you could ever say. We know who are “best customers” are, and they don’t have to ask for anything.

    2. S’cuse me? Are you the homeless lady who kept trying to get free samples of the pumpkin shakes my McDonald’s was giving out last fall? Because you sound so much like her I can’t see the difference.

      Yeah no. If you’re a good customer, fast food workers will be willing to do a LOT for you, and will be nicer to you. If you ask for freebies and make it THAT obvious, we’re just going to go through the motions, anything to get you the hell out of our sight. None of which includes giving you free stuff, seeing as that’s essentially stealing and we can get fired for that. Most of us are not that sympathetic, or that stupid.

  52. Number 1 – Not true!
    Number 2 – No one uses butter on their grills. That’s a huge food safety issue.
    Number 3 – That’s just pathetic.
    Number 4 – You’re kidding right? Food safety issue again!
    Number 5 – Well, duh!
    Number 6 – This had to be written by someone who worked food service 20 years ago.
    Number 7 – What? Of course, cheese costs extra. Do you know how much it costs?
    Number 8 – Another duh, moment!
    Number 9 – How about the triple burger with the diet coke?
    Number 10 – Another 20 year ago truism.
    Number 11 – Not true. That employee would be terminated and possibly arrested for contaminating a food product.
    Number 12 – If you see that, never go back and get a refund for what you just purchased.
    Number 13 – Again, duh!
    Number 14 – It’s also common sense!
    Number 15 – It’s called theft and the employee would be fired.
    Number 16 – Go to DQ for your ice cream. Leave the burger places alone.
    Number 17 – Cooked is cooked – So?
    Number 18 – Quit trying to rip us off – we know and you just look dumb doing it.
    Number 19 – Yeah, 20 years ago again. No one wants to lose their job over something that stupid.
    Number 20 – Food is not donated because its an insurance and food safety liability. Whoever wrote this doesn’t have a clue.
    Number 21 – Well, duh, again!
    Number 22 – Yeah, can I come to your job and steal all the staples?
    Number 23 – Duh!
    Number 24 – Those are some pretty dumb chains. 
    Number 25 – Hmmm, I wonder where they are working. They need a new employer then.
    Number 26 – That’s repulsive and the chain should be more concerned about food safety than profit.
    Number 27 – Another duh!
    Number 28 – 20 years ago maybe, not today. Employees would be fired.
    Number 29 – What kind of places did these people work in?
    Number 30 – Same as 29
    Number 31 – What? Yeah, it is fast food. Who has these Satan monitors?
    Number 32 – Yeah, cuz many of you make it really easy. 
    Number 33 – In like 1974. There have been monitored security cameras since the 1990s. No, we don’t. People get fired for stupid things like that. Where the heck did this person work?

    Whoever wrote this has no clue what they are talking about in most cases. Fact checking should be done on these things.

    1.  I agree with you on the food safety issue, especially with the mold in the ice chute. I am highly allergic to mold! And so are a lot of other people!

      1. You are WRONG about the butter I work at McDonald’s and we are TRAINED to put butter on the grills when we cook grilled chicken and mushrooms.

        1. I can confirm this. I spent 6 months at McDonald’s and they DID use butter on the grills. There wasn’t much other way to keep the food from sticking.

    2. I have a feeling that you’ve never truly worked in a fast food environment…

    1. As a life long restaurant worker I can tell you, if I ever caught a fellow employee pulling a stunt like spitting or adding something to the food I WOULD REPORT THEM . In the state I live in you don’t just get fired or suspended, you got to jail. It is considered almost the same as poisoning

    2. I worked at McDonalds for three years while in college. Messing with someone’s food is a huge NO-NO. None of us would ever dare do that. Besides… we’re on camera behind that counter and in that kitchen. There’s not a lot of room for us to mess with things, and that footage was reviewed nightly at the place where I worked.

  53. I have tried ordering fries without salt to get fresh ones and all three times I recieved half cooked mushy fries. I now just say “If the fries aren’t fresh I’ll happily wait for fresh ones” I’ve found if you just let them know you’re willing to wait they will not only make them but allow them to cook the full cooking time.

    1. No, they just throw them back in the fryer to make it seem likes it fresh.

      1. We do the same at my work. Just pour the old ones in the fryer and reheat them, no one ever complains about them not being fresh after that.

      2. We didn’t. We made fresh fries if you asked for them. We actually cared enough, I guess. And we were a super busy fast food place, so it wasn’t because we didn’t have anything better to do. FYI–fries will always get ordered, so you don’t typically have to worry about making too many.

  54. Have to disagree with number 6, if you want fresh fries say it. There is nothing more annoying than having to clean all the salt off the fry scoop and create a salt free environment to put the fries in only to have a customer ask for salt. If you want them fresh say it, we will make them fresh. Trying to be all sneaky about it just pisses me off.

    1.  My dad asks politely for fresh fries all the time. And he gets them. I find that being a repeat customer and a good one helps.

      1. Being a repeat customer at a fast food restaurant is not a good thing. Typical fast food restaurant uses close to 50 immune system harming chemicals; their French fry oil has a butane derivative to help reduce foaming.

        1. Really? He seems pretty healthy to me; he rarely gets sick. He doesn’t eat it every day. Maybe once a week, I’d say, or less. All in moderation. And what about chicken that we buy in stores, full of antibiotics? That’s bad for you, too. So are processed meats. Hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni…

          Now me, I rarely eat fast food. I can’t. I have Crohn’s Disease. Heck, I can’t digest healthy foods like whole grains and leafy greens. I have to eat mostly carbs like pasta.

    2. At our McDonald’s we just pour some fries into the box/bag right out of the fry basket and don’t even touch the bin/scoop. We just put a right size bag/box on a basket handle to let the person making the fries know that there is a no-salt order of fries.

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