The Fresh McDonald's Hack Employees Hate When You Order

Fast food is known for its ease of convenience and quick turnaround times, but depending on the location and chain, that doesn't always ensure you're getting the freshest burger right off the grill. Food and certain ingredients are precooked at some restaurants to ensure optimal efficiency. Some savvy customers have even started asking McDonald's employees to make their orders fresh. It's a fast food hack that has drawn the ire and annoyance of McDonald's employees everywhere.

In one TikTok, a McDonald's cashier shared an expletive-filled, if humourous, response and an exasperated sigh to the constant asking for "fresh food" from customers. Meanwhile, another user who claims to be an employee wrote, "I worked at McDonald's, and anytime anyone told me that, I would just go 'yep' and do nothing." Another person who claimed to be an employee commented, "I don't normally mind when people ask this; it's when they don't want to wait. Like, how do you want something fresh but want it out within a minute?"

As the comment above points out, restaurant workers have to work a balancing act between getting food out that's both fresh and quick. This food hack may create tension between McDonald's employees and customers as it suggests the restaurant's food isn't up to standard and fresh already. As a result, this has led to some angry McDonald's employees, past and present, calling out customers for their poor drive-thru etiquette.

Viral video shows why one should avoid this hack

While McDonald's customers may ask for fresh food, that doesn't always mean that they will get fresh food. In another TikTok, a user who appears to be a McDonald's employee demonstrated how they handle customers asking for fresh food before closing. In the video, the employee takes an already prepared chicken patty and dips it in oil from the fryer before putting it on a bun to serve to the customer. In response, the video has gotten a lot of flack from outraged viewers who questioned why the employee couldn't have cooked a fresh chicken pattie. However, it does showcase the potential pitfalls of asking for fresh food from the establishment. 

It also appears to have happened at more than one location. In an article on Delishably, a former McDonald's employee explained that workers very rarely ever fulfilled customers' requests for fresh food. They wrote, "Demanding that you are served 'fresh food right off the grill' will not really get you fresh food. It'll get you a dried-up hamburger patty dunked in grease so it looks fresh. It's insulting to ask for fresh food at a store where the food is actually fresh."

According to the former employee, McDonald's sandwiches are cooked fresh to order. As one Reddit user who claims to be a former McDonald's employee explained, "When I worked at McDonald's, 4 years ago, our answer to this request was: 'All our food is fresh.'"

McDonald's employees can't accomodate every order

While no one wants an oil-drenched patty, some employees may be fed up with the request for fresh food due to the pressure they're already under. The fast food chain is producing and handing out a lot of food at once. The McDonald's website reports that it takes around 42 seconds to cook one hamburger patty. According to Delishably, the entire drive-thru process should take 90 seconds from start to finish. 

On average, McDonald's receives 69 million customers a day across all of its locations. In addition, individual locations are graded on how quickly they can get customers their food from the time the customer pays. This understandably puts a lot of pressure on fast food employees to keep orders going out, so it's difficult to cater to a customer's request over freshness. It's a high-pressure situation in which McDonald's as a whole is graded on its fast drive-thru times, and corporate puts that pressure on individual franchises to deliver. 

It's not just cashiers and cooks that feel the stress, but franchisees as well. According to CNBC, some franchise owners have blasted McDonald's for its strict grading system, which may dissuade employees from staying at the chain. Some thought the grading system was both inaccurate and too overbearing. In addition to the grading system, McDonald's employees also have to contend with the possibility of getting replaced by artificial intelligence, as the chain moves to being more automated. It's enough to make anyone grumpy. 

Tips for getting fresh food

That being said, there are a few hacks you could use without directly asking for fresh food. If you want to ensure your burger is as fresh as possible, ask for additional toppings, like extra cheese. As a result, employees would have to make the burger fresh to accommodate. On the other hand, you could also request the removal of a topping or sauce like mayonnaise for instance. If you want fresh beef, go with the Quarter Pounder as the establishment doesn't flash freeze the meat. 

Meanwhile, for fresh fries, ask for fries without salt or seasoning  Since McDonald's seasons its fries, these will be made fresh to order. You'll just have to get a few salt packets on the side. However, some McDonald's employees have caught wise to this hack, so it's best to proceed with caution. According to Delishably, some employees may opt to dunk old fries in oil and serve them. Meanwhile, according to Business Insider, some employees would rather you just ask for fresh fries than deal with the hassle of trying to make them salt-free, so it really depends on your local location.

However, there are some McDonald's items you should avoid for freshness. Both breakfast burritos and apple pies allegedly end up sitting for a bit because they're not ordered as much.