Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What is on the secret menu at McDonald’s? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
The thing about “secret” menus at restaurants is that they are completely unofficial, which means that the folks there are not trained on how to make them.
Whether or not you can get it depends entirely on who you get working the store that day. That includes the person who rings you up, who has to figure out how to charge you for it, the manager, who generally gets asked whether or not it’s allowed, and the line person who has to figure out how to assemble it.
That being said, here are some things I know how to make that are not on the menu:
A grilled cheese sandwich. There are two different ways of making this, either on the grill or by running the whole sandwich through the bun toaster. I’ve done both. Busy restaurants won’t do this for you because it ties up the equipment for just one sandwich, and the cheese has pretty high odds of messing something up.
A McGangBang. I think Reddit made this up, and it became briefly popular. It’s a McDouble and a McChicken on one bun.
A Big ‘n Tasty. It used to be an official menu item, but it hasn’t been for years. It’s not so much a secret menu item as some people don’t pay enough attention to the menu to realize it hasn’t been on offer for five years (ten, in some locations) but all the ingredients are still in the store and the vets remember how to make it.
Sometimes you can get them to grill the quarter onions for you before they put them on the burger. I wouldn’t try this at a busy place, and it helps to know people in the grill, but it’s so much better.
At my first restaurant, if you knew the manager and Joyce (who had probably been working the grill since before there was electricity) you could get eggs however you liked them. But since McDonald’s doesn’t officially cook eggs to order they’re not covered if you ask for eggs over easy and get salmonella, so this doesn’t work for just anyone.
Here are some tips that are not secrets, but people don’t seem to realize:
You can get anything in the restaurant on anything else in the restaurant. You can add an extra beef patty, you can get just a plain bun, you can get a Quarter Pounder on a regular bun or a chicken sandwich on a quarter bun or whatever the heck you want. But it will cost you extra, and it’s going to take a minute while the person at the register figures out how to ring it up. It may even cost different prices depending on how you say it and how the person rings it up.
If it’s slow, order your beef patties with no salt. I think they’re better that way, but more importantly they have to make them fresh, so you’re not getting patties that have probably been sitting in the warming tray for however long. You can just order fresh instead of no salt, but I recommend you try them unseasoned. I really think they’re better.
Also, it takes less than a minute to make fresh regular patties. If you ask for fresh chicken, you’re going to get some people upset with you because it takes six minutes to make. If you ask for fries without salt and then immediately salt them, you’re going to get people upset with you because trying to get fresh hot fries into a container without getting them covered in the salt that coats the fry station is a good way to burn yourself really bad.
If you’re going to go experimenting at your local McDonald’s, here are some tips to keep people from hating you:
Don’t order anything weird in the drive-thru. Drive-thrus are for convenience orders and you shouldn’t go through there if you don’t know what you want, if you are ordering something that will take a long time, or if you have a very large order. Drive-thru times are monitored so closely I’ve actually had the franchise owner show up at our store because they could see on their central station that we had taken three minutes for a drive-thru order.
Don’t order Crispy or Grilled chicken and demand it be fresh. It ties up a grill or fryer for over six minutes, which may not seem like a lot to you but is orders of magnitude longer than anything else the grill does and it can completely throw off their cycle and delay orders. If you have reason to believe you won’t get fresh chicken, order something else.
Don’t order more than six McChickens. That’s how many can fit in a fryer at once, and ordering more will have people thinking happily about how to kill you. I had someone order 16 McChickens during the lunch rush once, and he worked at the restaurant. Next time he came in he spent his shift scraping down the wheels on the carts and cleaning the traps in the dishwasher. If you’ve never done those, they are two of the most disgusting and difficult things I’ve ever done in my life.
Don’t get pissed because your custom or “secret” order is taking too long. McDonald’s is built around delivering a limited menu with great efficiency. You broke that, and now you’re going to have to wait.
Smile, and remember basic courtesies. You can get away with a lot of crap at McDonald’s if you treat the people there like people.