The Real Reason McDonald's Employees Are Constantly Making Fries

We know McDonald's makes the food we consume beforehand. The fryers are constantly cooking fries because they need the food ready to order. After all, the entire business logic of McDonald's is that of a quick-service restaurant. In 2019, the fact that they had improved their drive-thru turnover time by 20 seconds was deemed important enough by Restaurant Dive to be headline news.

However, that knowledge may lead to uneasy visions of greased, fried foodstuffs growing clammy. It certainly seems to have bothered Rachelle Martique, who asked McDonald's, "How long do you keep your fries before discarding them?" McDonald's responded in its Q&A section that they only hold their cooked fries for seven minutes "Since quality is at the heart of everything we do at McDonald's, we don't serve any fries that have been held longer than seven minutes. Thanks for asking!" the fast-food restaurant wrote. So, the machine keeps churning up more and more fries, keeping pace with the corporation's need for a breakneck speed.

Also, the fries just don't age well

Of course, the other issue is that a greased up, deep-fried rectangle of potato quickly becomes a subpar starch cube.

In 2019, The Takeout calculated that the fries begin to lose their appeal at about 10 minutes and become rather unappetizing by 18 minutes. They reached this conclusion by setting three staff members to three different McDonald's, where they started a stopwatch as soon as the fries reached the heat lamps. While they did not use the most vigorous methodology, it links well with McDonald's decision to bin the fries after seven minutes.

The real issue that the fry lifespan raises though is for delivery. In March, Reuters covered the soaring of fast-food delivery options. The two issues McDonald's faced in particular was keeping the chicken patty fresh and the fries crispy. "We have a lot of work to do here," a franchisee admitted, referring to the travel time for french fries. Considering that the very appeal of McDonald's french fries comes from straight out of the frier, the way they would make it travel well remains unclear. Perhaps they should have roving fry makers, like a burger joint take on a hibachi.