- The McDonald’s menu has tons of options for customers.
- And McDonald’s crew members themselves have their own frequent picks – as well as orders they tend to avoid.
- Business Insider spoke with numerous current and former McDonald’s employees about the menu items they were not crazy about and why.
The McDonald’s menu has plenty of offerings for fast-food fans and casual customers alike.
But, when it comes to consuming McDonald’s food, the restaurant’s crew members are probably the most insightful of the bunch. They don’t just cook the meals; many of them take advantage of their employee discounts and chow down on the food while on break, according to Quora users who previously worked at the chain.
But that doesn’t mean they’ll just eat anything at McDonald’s.
Business Insider spoke with several current and former crew members to find out what orders they tended to pass on and why. Numerous people claiming to be McDonald’s employees have also shared on Reddit the menu items they’d never order. Most of the preferences came down to nutrition and personal taste.
Here’s a look at some of McDonald’s employees’ least favorite orders:
A famous, fishy sandwich
The McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich has a storied history. It was the first new non-hamburger item added to the fast-food giant’s nation-wide menu in 1965.
The sandwich has since become iconic, and it’s responsible for a whole bunch of piscine imitators. Business Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported that the Filet-O-Fish is a massive hit during Lent, when many Catholics fast from meat on Fridays.
It’s one of President Donald Trump’s favorites, too. He’s known to put away two of the fish sandwiches at a time, along with two Big Macs and a large chocolate shake.
But that doesn’t matter much to two crew members who spoke with Business Insider.
One former crew member from Virginia described viewing the Filet-O-Fish as a meal popular with older customers “because I assume it’s easy for them to chew,” but the crew member personally didn’t like the taste of the sandwich.
Another crew member told Business Insider that they found the fish sandwich “generally gross” according to their personal taste.
Some of the greener options on the menu
A crew member from Minnesota told Business Insider that they steered clear of a batch of the chain’s ostensibly healthier options: the salads.
“I’m not a fan of tons of vegetables, and the caloric count in the items is astronomical,” the crew member told Business Insider.
The Southwest buttermilk crispy chicken salad comes in at 520 calories, the bacon ranch salad with buttermilk crispy chicken boasts 490 calories, and the bacon ranch grilled chicken salad has 320 calories.
For comparison, a Big Mac sandwich is 540 calories.
The chain’s side salad is only 15 calories, however, for customers looking for a leaner, leafy option.
A particularly sugary beverage
One Reddit commenter said the chain’s sweet tea was a bit too sweet for his or her taste.
“Pound. Of. Sugar. Per gallon,” the person wrote in a 2013 Reddit thread.
A pound of sugar per gallon of McDonald’s sweet tea would translate to a quarter pound – or about 113 grams – of sugar in a large, 32-ounce serving. That is much larger than the still-formidable 38 grams of sugar that McDonald’s reports is in a large, 32-ounce McDonald’s sweet tea.
A large Coca-Cola contains 77 grams of sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that men should take in no more than 36 grams of added sugar a day – and that women should consume no more than 25 grams.
The smallest sweet-tea option at McDonald’s, the extra-small cup, has 15 grams of sugar.
A faddish, limited-time-only item
- Jerry Huddleston/Flickr
But two commenters in a 2013 Reddit thread who said they previously worked at McDonald’s were less than impressed with the sandwich based on its appearance.
“The way it looks before we put the sauce on it is absolutely revolting,” one wrote. “It doesn’t look like meat at all, it looks like a scab.”
The menu’s ostensibly healthier chicken sandwich
- Hollis Johnson
“A lot of people choose to be healthy and order our grilled chicken,” a commenter wrote in a 2013 Reddit thread. “Not a lot of people realize that they’re eating at a fast food joint and we will find a way to make anything unhealthy.”
The person went on to say he or she wouldn’t order the chain’s grilled chicken sandwiches because they were slathered in margarine at the time and therefore less healthy than they appeared.
In 2015, however, the fast-food giant revamped its grilled chicken, ditching the margarine and swapping in olive oil, canola oil, and herbs.
Two McDonald’s crew members told Business Insider that they wouldn’t eat the grilled chicken sandwich.
Anything new on the menu
A former general manager told Business Insider that they always avoided “new menu items,” as they preferred to “stick to the basics” at McDonald’s.
Anything that’s not fresh
- Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Want to make sure your fast food is fresh? Just ask for it.
“Some places do a bad job at keeping track of the fresh timers,” one McDonald’s crew member wrote on a Reddit thread. “I’d personally ask for everything fresh, even if you have to wait three to five minutes for it to be ready.”
A McDouble meal — if you want to save money
- Flickr/Calgary Reviews
One Reddit user who said they worked at McDonald’s described the restaurant chain’s children’s meals as “hella value.”
“You can get a McDouble Mighty Kids meal – ask for double fries instead of apple slices,” the crew member wrote.
That essentially will snag you a cheaper version of the McDouble meal.
Extra Big Mac or tartar sauce on a sandwich
“Instead of ordering mac sauce on your sandwich, ask for a side of mac sauce,” a McDonald’s crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit thread. “We don’t charge for sauces when they are on the side. This also applies to tartar sauce.”
That being said, some franchises do, in fact, charge for a side of sauce, according to the Mirror.
A relatively new breakfast item
- Hollis Johnson
When McDonald’s introduced its Egg White Delight McMuffin in 2013, it was viewed as a healthier alternative to the regular McMuffin.
But one person claiming inside knowledge seemed less than impressed.
“The egg white delight is just as unhealthy, if not more so, than the regular round eggs,” a person who described working at a McDonald’s wrote in a 2014 Reddit thread. “The amount of butter – at least in my store – sprayed on the grill must up the calorie and fat count like crazy.”
The person went on to recommend that customers order their breakfast sandwiches with a “round egg.” If you don’t specify, you’ll receive a sandwich with a folded egg patty.
“At least the round egg is the real deal,” the employee wrote.
A sausage McMuffin — if you want to save money
- Hollis Johnson
“You can order a sausage McMuffin and side of ’round egg’ cheaper than you can order a sausage egg McMuffin,” a McDonald’s employee wrote in a 2017 Reddit.
They added that the same logic could be applied to all McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches.
Are you a current or former McDonald’s crew member with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.