When you get an egg from a chain restaurant in the US, it’s usually round and yellow (or square and yellow). This egg-like protein is called an “egg omelet patty” — pretty much the lowest level of egg possible. Sure, the main ingredient in our faux-egg-like-material is pasteurized eggs, but most fast food chains also add a ton of other ingredients, including: citric acid, monosodium sulfate and nisin.
Every time we order an Egg McMuffin or a Croisson’wich it’s likely to have a some version of this bright yellow, circle of egg. It’s the staple of breakfast at chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and Hardee’s. Well, friends, the winds of change are blowing.
One of the biggest trends in the fancier burger business has been adding a fried egg on top. Check the menu at any sit-down burger restaurant and you’re guaranteed to see at least one fried egg-centric burger. You can be guaranteed that they won’t be getting their eggs from a jug of gooey orange liquid, though. It’s good enough for fast food, but not good enough for a $15 dollar burger. Plus, the yolk is the whole point: both flavor-wise and because it acts as a second sauce.
Which begs the question: Why don’t fast food restaurants follow suit? Well, there’s a variety of reasons:
- Cracking eggs takes up valuable time and these kitchens are driven by efficiency. There’s a reason they’re called “fast food” restaurants. We have no patience for food that takes time to prepare. We want to order our McGriddles or sausage burritos at the drive-thru screen and have them fully prepared and packaged for us by the time we drive around to the window. It’s much easier to just pour eggs out of a carton into a mold.
- Frying up eggs in a fast-paced environment could be dangerous. Grease fires are probably not something McDonald’s wants to deal with. Also, there’s waste from broken yolks and the potential for complaints over eggs that are too runny or too firm to reckon with.
- Frying eggs is messy and would require a ton of cleaning throughout the day. Nobody wants to scrape egg bits off the flat top all day.