Life

McDonald’s Employees Dish On The Restaurant’s ‘Secret Menu’

If you’ve been lamenting the loss of the Big N’ Tasty since McDonald’s pulled it from the menu back in 2011, we’ve got news for you: it’s not actually gone. You can order it. Right now. Right this very second. You just need to know what to tell the person manning the register.

The question, “What is on the secret menu at McDonald’s?” was recently posed on Quora, the site whose main purpose is to provide answers to obscure questions. A handful of great responses came in — many from actual McDonald’s employees.

Tony Bridges, a former crew trainer and “almost assistant manager” at McDonald’s, received the most upvotes with his incredibly thorough answer (excerpted here):

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 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.

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…


Bridges also gave tips to make you seem courteous to your fellow customers. First, don’t go through the drive-thru. It’s for convenience, and your weird order is going to slow everyone down. Don’t order fresh-cooked chicken — either grilled or fried — because it takes over six minutes to cook and ties up the grill or fryer in the process. Don’t order more than six McChickens at once, because that’s the max number that can fit in the fryer at one time, “and ordering more will have people thinking happily about how to kill you.” Don’t get uppity because your custom order is taking longer than usual. “McDonald’s is built around delivering a limited menu with great efficiency. You broke that, and now you’re going to have to wait.” And finally, “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.”

Another great answer came from Andrew J. Lee, whose credentials are unclear, but who claims to live for food. Lee wrote that, for a while, he was obsessed with a sandwich whose name is too crude to include here, but which is essentially a Big Mac for a third of the price:

Basically, you order a McDouble and ask them to substitute lettuce and mac sauce for the ketchup and mustard. You used to get this substitution for free, but most of the McDonalds in the area have started to charge for these substitutions.

Lee also explained how to order a Canadian “Double Big Mac” in the U.S.:

During a trip to Canada back in 2011, I learned that many of the McDonalds up there serve “Double Big Macs,” which are essentially two times the patties in a normal Big Mac. Not sure if the meat quality is better up there, but it tasted slightly peppery and was much tastier than a normal Big Mac in the States. When I got to New York at the end of my trip, it took the cashier a few minutes to figure out how to charge for the extra two patties… so yea, don’t order this when it’s busy.

Scott Soloway, who has “probably eaten more food than you” (oh yeah, Scott?) wrote about how to hack getting eggs on lunch sandwiches:

If you are there when they are transitioning from breakfast to lunch you may be able to add a fried round egg to any lunch sandwich. Naturally, you can also get an Egg McMuffin with an extra egg.

Edit: With breakfast now all day timing isn’t important.

Mcdonalds Big Mac meal
Getty Image


Other tips from users: Diane Ulrich wrote about ordering grilled cheese (“some stores will make it, others won’t”) and root beer floats from McDonald’s. Jonathan Deesing pointed out that you can put Mac Sauce on any sandwich you want, and that it doesn’t cost extra to get your food cooked to order — you’ll just have to wait a bit. Rich Pantini wrote about the Land, Air and Sea, which he says is “a quarter-pounder with a fillet of fish and a crispy chicken, all in one sandwich.” And Mohil Subban gave the formula for the Mega Mac: “the doubled-up version of the Big Mac.” (So, four patties instead of two.)

The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s enough to get you started if and when you find yourself in a Big Mac slump. And if this is all old hat to you, or you’ve figured out a way to reproduce the Arch Deluxe of yore, let us know.

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