12 Menu Items McDonald's Employees Hate Making

The rapid proliferation of artificial intelligence capabilities in recent years is as astounding as it is terrifying. We're not saying that we're (entirely) worried that A.I. will turn "The Terminator" into a true story. Rather, it's the widespread potential of working men and women being replaced by A.I. employees in numerous sectors — including the fast food industry — that haunts us like an unhinged McDonald's mascot. Then again, when you consider the number of products McDonald's employees hate making, perhaps there's a silver lining for future laid-off Mickey D's workers: They'll never need to make those menu items again.

Clearly, losing one's job is hardly ever a laughing matter (our facetious commentary notwithstanding). But seeing how every job involves tasks despised by employees, it's not unreasonable to believe folks employed by McDonald's do, in fact, look forward to the day they'll never again need to prepare certain foods.

Whether it's a matter of unnecessarily complex labor, an unpleasant preparation process, or some combination of the two, there are a number of menu items that employees of the Golden Arches loathe to make. While some of these have been discontinued as of August 2023 (that joyful shout you heard was McDonald's employees celebrating around the nation), others are still available for purchase. Without further ado, here are 12 menu items McDonald's employees hate making — from both the past and present.

1. Coffee (and coffee-based drinks)

Making a pot of coffee first thing in the morning can be an exceptionally challenging task; hence the immense popularity of coffee-centric fast food chains, and easy, self-serve options. Of course, even individuals whose jobs involve making cups of joe for the lazily inclined may not particularly enjoy doing so. That includes certain employees at McDonald's who view coffee prep with intense displeasure. The vast majority of frustration is directed at the restaurant's time-consuming McCafé beverages.

While at least one McDonald's employee announced their annoyance with the actual coffee-making process on TikTok – as in simply preparing an enormous pot of coffee and serving it to breakfast patrons — most of the disdain for this menu category stems from the fancier coffee-based drinks generally sold under the McCafé banner. After all, as one employee wrote on Reddit in September 2022, the time-consuming, process for McCafé beverages "ruins the flow of ... putting orders out." They sarcastically added, "I really love waiting for our machine to waste 45 seconds of time making a large Macchiato, only for it to underfill it so I have to waste 15 more seconds filling it with hot milk."

Between the sloth-like time it takes to prepare each coffee and coffee-based drink and the potential for additional stress caused by customers who are unhappy with how long their orders take to come out, it's quite clear why so many McDonald's employees hate making these types of beverages.

2. Ice cream

Contrary to the popular belief of many, many individuals, the suspicious frequency with which the ice cream machine at McDonald's appears to be broken isn't some ploy to avoid making you an ice cream sundae or McFlurry. In fact, more often than not, if a McDonald's employee says the ice cream machine is broken, it actually is. Of course, the fact that broken ice cream machines are a real problem doesn't exclude the possibility that employees would prefer to avoid making ice cream menu items — many do indeed hate preparing the chain's frozen treats.

For some McDonald's employees, the frustration with making ice cream products appears to lie with the machine itself — namely, the difficulty many find in properly setting it up or cleaning it. Additional complaints are lodged at the lengthy time it can take to prepare a McFlurry or ice cream cone, as this often creates a snowball effect that bogs down service.

Of course, as is the case with just about every other menu item listed in this article, not every employee appears to dislike making ice cream. But with a healthy portion clearly wishing that the ice cream machine was permanently broken, it certainly belongs among other menu items employees hate making.

3. Happy Meals (particularly for adults)

No childhood is complete without a Happy Meal from time to time. But just because this cardboard-boxed icon of American youth is a bonafide part of modern-day Americana doesn't mean employees are always pleased as punch to prepare it for customers. In fact, given the number of steps involved when a customer orders a Happy Meal, some employees downright hate it when people order them. Customers often neglect to specify their Happy Meal entree and drink choices, forcing McDonald's workers to ask a long list of questions to ensure the order is correct.

Beyond the ordering issue, it seems that much of the employee animosity towards Happy Meals is directed at adult orders. And while some of this may apply to entitled grown-ups ordering regular Happy Meals during busy times, much of the hatred seems to stem from customers who ordered the short-lived, uber-popular adult Happy Meals released in October 2022.

In fact, while the fast food chain's corporate leaders were undoubtedly thrilled with that promotion's success, the additional burden placed on restaurant employees — fueled by massive order sizes that included multiple adult Happy Meals — spurred an understandable backlash against the menu item from within. 

4. Snack Wraps

Our deeply abiding love for the discontinued Chicken Snack Wraps from McDonald's is well-known. And while we can understand the logic behind this labor-intensive menu item's removal as a nationwide option, we're still not willing to let it go. Of course, since both McDonald's employees and franchise owners have made their displeasure with Snack Wraps crystal clear, there's very little chance it'll return to menus — much to the joy of grateful McDonald's workers from coast to coast.

Like several other items discussed in this article, the crux of Snack Wraps' problems (and all wraps previously offered by McDonald's, for that matter) lay in its preparation. Snack Wraps were notorious for taking longer to make than other menu items. The Snack Wrap also suffered because as a "healthier" McDonald's item, it struggled to compete against offerings from fast-casual restaurants.

Snack Wraps required employees to steam a tortilla, slice chicken, and execute a complex folding procedure to make the menu item fit into its packaging. It's no wonder this menu item was the bane of many McDonald's employees' existences — and why you shouldn't hold your breath the chain will bring it back any time soon.

5. Breakfast items outside the normal hours

If you've ever gone to McDonald's before 10:30 a.m. and tried to order a Big Mac, you learned the fast food chain restricts the sale of burgers (and fries) until after breakfast ends. Of course, the logistical challenges that selling burgers in the morning would cause — offering lunch and dinner options to a select few interested customers while breakfast items are featured (and preferred) — perfectly illustrate why employees hated making breakfast items outside of the regular morning hours.

Despite some consumers lamenting the loss of all-day breakfast at McDonald's, you won't find any tears shed by McDonald's employees over the switch. The return to morning-only hours for breakfast relieved the added pressure employees faced to switch seamlessly between different, rather incompatible menu items throughout the day.

With limited grill and kitchen space in the restaurants, all-day breakfast required additional preparation and cleaning steps that differed from dinner items. This often caused a drop in kitchen efficiency, increasing order wait times ... thus leading to unhappy customers and additional stress. With that in mind, it's clear why employees hated making breakfast after the morning — and even clearer why it's unlikely to return in the near future.

6. Scrambled eggs

Thus far, we've mainly focused on menu items McDonald's employees hate preparing due to the excessive labor required. But certain items induce revulsion in the company's workers because they find the actual food (and the cooking process) disgusting to deal with. One of the most prominent examples of this involves the pre-made mixture of eggs used for McDonald's scrambled eggs — an unpleasantly-scented item that some employees absolutely abhor working with.

More than anything, it seems the issue employees have with McDonald's scrambled eggs lies in the raw egg mixture the restaurant uses, which emits a nasty smell before it hits the grill. One employee commented on Reddit in 2022 that their issues revolve around the "smell, mess, and how long it takes to set them up in the cooker." Other complaints appeared aimed at the scrambled eggs' excessive flimsiness after cooking, which tends to make the item frustrating to work with.

Maybe the use of fresh eggs (like those used for Egg McMuffins) would reduce some of the displeasure felt by employees when making the product. Then again, since that would require more work for overstrained kitchen staff with the additional steps of cracking and scrambling eggs, we wouldn't bet on it.

7. Fries with no salt

It's not controversial to say that there are a number of drive-thru habits fast food customers should consider removing from their personal repertoire. If you're the type who requests french fries without salt when ordering at McDonald's because you're convinced you've found the loophole to fresh fries, think again. Not only are you rather unlikely to receive a freshly-made batch of fries with this request, but you're all but guaranteed to aggravate the employees taking and making your order when you do.

Perhaps it's a matter of unintentionally insulting McDonald's employees by implying they'd serve a cold, inedible product to customers. Whatever the reason, workers at the fast food chain can't stand customers who make this request — and may just toss an already-finished batch back into the fryer for a brief period to appease a customer.

As one employee stated on TikTok in 2022, if you're determined to receive a fresh-made batch of fries with your order, you may want to consider simply asking for fresh fries. Making this request in a straightforward manner could reduce the risk of infuriating employees at McDonald's, but it's not foolproof, so be cautious the next time you're hoping to get extra-fresh fries.

8. Any sandwich with excessive customizations

A popular urban legend suggests disgruntled fast food workers are prone to spit in your burger if you disrespect them — think Officer Farva in "Super Troopers" during his "liter-a-cola" meltdown. But the odds of this actually happening in real life are exceptionally low. Of course, while you may not receive saliva on the Quarter Pounder with cheese you ordered in a lettuce bun (and topped with diced McNuggets and sweet and sour sauce), you're still likely to earn an employee's mental wrath for the order.

For the most part, it doesn't seem employees have an issue with modification requests in general. But "when they try to alter menu items to make something 'new' and then complain how it didn't come out right," as one employee noted in 2016 on Reddit, it leads to embittered workers.

No matter what you order — and no matter how you ask it to be prepared and assembled — you can rest assured McDonald's employees will make it for you. Just don't expect them to hold you in high regard if you choose to make their jobs more challenging and stressful than they already are.

9. Big Breakfast with Hotcakes

Sometimes, the reason an employee may dislike a particular job task can sound aggressively benign from an outside perspective. Case in point, the complaint we found from one McDonald's employee on Reddit regarding their reason for hating making the restaurant's Big Breakfast with Hotcakes meal: "because the lid always pops off."

Of course, whether or not this is the precise source of frustration for any other McDonald's employees when making the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes is unclear. But that doesn't mean the step-heavy, platter-style menu item isn't despised by employees for its time-consuming process. In fact, the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes is more than capable of slowing down the quick-service speed required (and expected) in a McDonald's kitchen.

Since this occasionally hated menu item fosters frustration from its relatively complex presentation, you may want to consider a straightforward Sausage Egg McMuffin the next time you're awake in time to take advantage of the restaurant's breakfast options.

10. Salads

Even before McDonald's corporate overlords decided to banish salads from menus across the U.S. in 2022 (along with several other health-leaning fast food items we lost that year), the food's presence at the chain was curious. After all, fast food isn't exactly known for offering nutritionally rich food products. But the inherent contradiction of a healthy fast food item wasn't the only reason for its removal from menus — and the laborious nature of its salads was the leading reason for employees' hatred towards these lettuce-centric dishes, as well.

As one employee wrote on Reddit in 2017, the salads often presented issues because "They were never prepped, and we had to find the cutting board and ... dull knife and chop the chicken up." Even if the ingredients were properly prepped prior to order, the number of ingredients required to assemble the product made it impossible to maintain the necessary efficiency.

If you're one of the folks who took advantage of this fast food salad option, we're sorry to say you shouldn't expect it to return. But if you're determined to obtain and ingest a quick-service-style salad, maybe take a trip to Panera instead.

11. McRib

Customers who love the McDonald's sandwich known as the McRib are almost certain to question how anyone could dislike it — let alone how any employees could hate making the pork-based product. But if you've seen any of the viral videos floating around depicting how the item is actually made in the restaurant's kitchen, you know it can be a sloppy, unseemly mess to prepare. And while some employees may not mind the nauseating appearance or excessively saucy setup, others seem to despise the entire process.

It seems the main reason McDonald's employees hate making the McRib is, in fact, its unappetizing appearance prior to serving. One employee stated, "The way it looks before we put the sauce on it is absolutely revolting. It doesn't look like meat at all, it looks like a scab" on Reddit in 2012, while several others complained about the sickening sight and the stench that tends to waft from the often sitting-for-hours McRib and barbecue sauce.

Many employees don't just hate making it — they also hate the taste. We're sure the sandwich's cult followers would disagree with that opinion, but we'd also bet the vast majority of those fans never worked at Mickey D's in the past, either.

12. McSkillet Burrito

As we mentioned previously when discussing Snack Wraps, the process of filling a tortilla with ingredients and then rolling it up tightly is horribly inefficient compared to other McDonald's procedures. Consequently, it's easy to understand why other tortilla-wrapped foods would make employees groan when customers ordered them — like the now-discontinued McSkillet Burrito, which employees seemed to despise making.

The McSkillet may have been a favorite of some patrons (including this writer), but that doesn't mean employees enjoyed making it. Quite frankly, there's a reason why breakfast burritos haven't made a permanent leap to many fast food menus outside of Mexican chains — and it's not a matter of unappealing taste. Fast food chains live and die based on the efficiency of their kitchens, and throwing burrito-making into the mix can gum up the works if the kitchen is primarily set up to make breakfast sandwiches.

The McSkillet was discreetly discontinued not long after it debuted, with nary a complaint from employees over the decision.