6 wild things we just learned about McDonald’s

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‘McDonald’s is transitioning’: 6 wild things we just learned online about Micky D’s

‘They’d much rather have you drive-thru.’


Stacy Fernandez


Love it or hate it, McDonald’s is a fast food staple that’s deeply ingrained itself into people’s everyday lives and memories.

Plenty of people have childhood memories of begging their parents for a kid’s meal and being hit with the classic “We have food at home.” For some it was their first job as a teenager or young adult. And for others its been a consistent guilty pleasure.

While the burger giant was once known for its cheap, quick, and tasty food (though we always knew it wasn’t quite the healthiest choice, especially in its supersize era), it’s recently come under fire for upping its prices. A Finance Buzz study found that the chain doubled the price on its most popular items—like the McDouble, fries, and McFlurry—in the last decade.

McDonald’s seems to be constantly changing, from moving to a self-serve model to possibly taking away soda stations to stopping free refills.

Here are 6 things we recently learned, through the magic of social media, about the burger chain that may surprise you:

1) McDonald’s might be making their burgers ‘bad on purpose’

Man talking(l+r), McDonadl's burgers(c)
Patcharaporn Puttipon4289/Shutterstock @chefmikeharacz/Tiktok (Licensed)

If you’ve ever bought a burger from the Golden Arches, took a bite, and thought that the only way to make it taste so bad was to do it on purpose, then you’re not alone.

Former McDonald’s Corporate Chef Mike Haracz (@chefmikeharacz) has garnered quite the TikTok following discussing anything and everything to do with the popular fast food chain.

Now, he’s stating that he fully believes in a “conspiracy theory” involving the chain’s regular burgers. He believes McDonald’s is intentionally making them taste bad on purpose, despite costing more. This lack of perceived value from customers will only cause them to opt for higher-cost offerings from the retailer, meaning that guests will ultimately spend more cash on higher profit margin items.

“McDonald’s is making their regular cheeseburgers bad on purpose. I’m a former McDonald’s corporate chef and in this conspiracy theory, which I have a variety of information to back up, I think I realized why they made a variety of changes to the bun and burger process,” Haracz claims, “because they want the regular burgers the Big Macs, the double cheeseburgers, the McDoubles, to be bad!”

The former Mickey D’s corporate chef went on to explain his position, remarking that the chain has more than likely decided to put forth a bunch of changes to its lower-cost items as a means of gently nudging consumers towards its higher-priced options.

“I think they’ve made a bunch of changes to their core, cheap, affordable, items so that way when you go there—which you probably are gonna go there anyway—you’re like, man that cheeseburger just doesn’t hit like it used to, I’m gonna get the Quarter Pounder,” he says. “…cause you’re gonna trade up to the more expensive thing, making McDonald’s more money.” —Jack Alban

2) There’s a DoorDash ‘glitch’ that might give you free McDonald’s

McDonald's logo(l), Woman talking(c), McDonald's app(r)
Elena_Alex_Ferns/Shutterstock FellowNeko/Shutterstock @maryah781/Tiktok (Licensed)

As fast-food prices continue to rise, people are eager to take advantage of any deals they can get.

In a viral video, Maryah (@maryah781), who posts different deals from food to beauty items, explains that she can sometimes get meals from DoorDash for as little as $2. If you’ve ever ordered a relatively cheap meal on DoorDash, you’d know that even a $12 combo meal can easily run you upwards of $20, including fees, taxes, and tips.

At the time of the video, McDonald’s was running a deal in which if you spent $15, you’d get a free 10-piece nugget.

“But the glitch is, you do not have to spend $15 plus the 10 piece,” Maryah clarifies.

Instead of having to spend $15 on several food items and then getting the nuggets for free on top of it, you can add the nuggets to make up part of the $15 total, decreasing how much you spend overall.

In her case, since the 10-piece nuggets cost $7.49, that meant spending an extra $8.69 for a Big Mac. The $7 for the 10-piece got subtracted because of the deal, leaving Maryah with a total of $10.08 in fees and taxes.

“So if you’re looking for something quick to eat—that’s a perfect deal,” Maryah says.

She adds that the discount should automatically apply to the cart without having to type in a discount code. While the nuggets deal is over, McDonald’s tends to run a similar promo with different menu items each time. —Stacy Fernández

3) McDonald’s has mystery shoppers, who knew?

McDonald's logo(l), Woman talking(c), Receipt(r)
SUDONG KIM/Shutterstock @kaylalaughsoutloud/Tiktok (Licensed)

Kayla (@kaylalaughsoutloud) uses her TikTok account to share her experiences as a mystery shopper for various fast-food restaurants. This includes McDonald’s.

“I just did a mystery shop at McDonald’s,” she explains. “And this mystery shop is so unacceptable.”

Kayla then points to her double cheeseburger with complaints. She says that “the condiments are all over,” even on the outside of the burger wrapper, the onions have spilled out of the burger, and even the pickle is “almost all the way out.”

The mystery shopper also says the customer service at the McDonald’s drive-thru left a lot to be desired. She alleges that the worker on the speaker box was rude and did not offer her a greeting. They simply asked her what she wanted to order, she says. She says they were also unable or unwilling to provide her with her total before she pulled up to the next window.

At the second window, Kayla says the worker seemed put out by the fact that Kayla needed change. Kayla says the worker threw the coins into Kayla’s hand and told her she could pick up some of the fallen coins if she could get out of her car. 

Kayla says the worker at the third window who handed her the food was the strangest of all. “He was licking his chops at me,” she says, alleging that the man was looking at her in a suggestive manner.

The McDonald’s worker, Kayla says, also asked the mystery shopper if she was satisfied when handing her the order, told her to come back if she wasn’t, and winked at her. —Natasha Dubash

4) Workers prefer when you order at the kiosk instead of the register. The reason might surprise you

McDonald's worker refuses to take customer's order and directs him to kiosk
@n0tworriedbittch/TikTok wolterke/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

If you’ve visited a McDonald’s location in recent years, you’re probably familiar with the idea of ordering from a screen at a kiosk rather than through someone working at the store.

Although many claim to enjoy the experience of ordering from a kiosk, others have reported issues, both on the customer and employee sides. For example, some have cited problems with utilizing the kiosk, while workers have occasionally claimed that they’ve had customers who refuse to use the devices.

Concerning the latter, this action can often be fodder for internet content, as was observed in a recent viral video from TikTok user @n0tworriedbittch.

The video, which is a clip from a longer YouTube video posted by user Jeffrey McKenney, shows an employee explaining to a customer why they will not take their order at the register, instead imploring them to simply order at the kiosk.

“That is way easier than trying to use this,” the worker says, comparing the kiosk to the chains’ POS system. “There are certain things that it can do that that can’t do, and that can do that this can’t. Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect.”

The worker goes on to explain that customers will frequently request items or modifications that can only be done on the kiosk. He further notes that the POS system can still assist if someone wants to pay in cash. While this results in a short and lightly heated discussion, the employee insists that the customer gets used to utilizing the kiosk.

“Unfortunately, this is going to be gone,” he says, referring to the POS system. “And when it’s gone, the kiosk is going to be the only thing that’s going to be there.” —Braden Bjella

5) Free refills might no longer exist

McDonald’s insider warns you’ll soon lose free refills
@chefmikeharacz/TikTok Patcharaporn Puttipon4289/ShutterStock (Licensed)

A McDonald’s expert weighed in on the news that McDonald’s will be phasing out drink stations inside of its restaurants—in part to clamp down on those who want free refills on sodas.

The discussion comes from Chef Mike Haracz (@chefmikeharacz), a former McDonald’s corporate chef whose account is dedicated to demystifying the Golden Arches. He often answers questions about the fast food chain based on his extensive experience working there, and in this case, he’s keying off a report from last fall about the proposed changes to McDonald’s dining rooms.

“They said not only due to reallocating resources—so having more of the crew behind the counter making food, dealing with drive-thru consumers—they said due to theft, due to having to clean that station and whatnot, that they would be removing it,” Haracz said in the viral clip, which has accumulated 158,400 views as of publication.

Today article from last September noted, “McDonald’s is transitioning away from self-serve beverage stations in dining rooms across the U.S. by the year 2032.

Haracz added, “Most of McDonald’s business is through the drive-thru. And it does cost McDonald’s more money to deal with people who come into the restaurant than it does drive-thru. They’d much rather you have drive-thru, you get some food, you get your drink, and you get out of there versus you hanging around and having to deal with people in the restaurant.”

However, Haracz also noted that people are telling him they’ve recently asked for free refills in a McDonald’s and have been refused.

The Today article, conversely, quoted one franchise manager who said the right to a free refill would still be protected, adding, “Free refills are a big draw for people. I don’t see anything taking that away.” —Phil West

6) McDonald’s is now just as expensive as spots like Chili’s and Applebee’s

Woman’s meal at McDonald’s costs $12.29. She gets a similar meal at Chili’s for $11.87
@advicedcoffee/TikTok Ken Wolter/ShutterStock (Licensed)

People have been complaining about McDonald’s rising prices all year, noticing that their go-to items are becoming less and less affordable.

A former McDonald’s corporate chef pointed out that the chain is seemingly moving away from Value Menu items as they started charging sometimes double what an item used to cost (like how a hash brown can now run you $2.50).

In a TikTok with more than 70,000 views, Amanda (@advicedcoffee) explained why it ends up being a better value to eat at a fast-casual spot like Chili’s than at McDonald’s.

“I think I’m swearing off fast food, and here’s why,” Amanda said.

In her area, a McDonald’s double quarter pounder with cheese meal costs $12.29. It’s just the burger, medium fry, and a drink that you can’t refill.

Chili’s, on the other hand, has a 3 for Me meal that lets you choose a beverage (unlimited refills on soft drinks), starter, and main course for $11.87 with tax.

“If I wanna go all out, I can get a margarita for another $4,” Amanda said.

“Fast food just isn’t worth it anymore. If I can go to a casual dining restaurant, get a larger burger, with more sides, free refills, why would I even go to a fast-food restaurant?” Amanda said. —Stacy Fernández

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