Man talking(l+r), McDonadl's burgers(c)

Patcharaporn Puttipon4289/Shutterstock @chefmikeharacz/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘McDonald’s is sabotaging their food items’: Expert thinks McDonald’s is making their burgers ‘bad on purpose.’ Here’s why

‘Nothing at McDonald’s hits like it used to.’


Jack Alban


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.

Whether it’s cursing the operational costs that prevented the hash brown breakfast sandwich from becoming a thing, why using the franchise’s mobile application has become an addictive part of a fast food deal-seeker’s repertoire, or lamenting the death of the dollar menu, Haracz has dished out on his former employer.

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!”

He explains his reasoning behind the McConspiracy, and it all boils down to financial margins.

Is McDonald’s making its burgers “bad” on purpose?

“So we know McDonald’s has been more profitable than ever this year. But has had a drastic dip in the amount of consumers going to the restaurant,” Haracz says. Per CNBC, Haracz is correct regarding McDonald’s profits. The chain’s net income for the first quarter of 2024 was $1.93 billion, up from $1.8 billion the year prior. However, its net sales increased by 5%.

“So they have been making a lot of money by selling the more profitable items. Why would they wanna make the cheaper things better? So that more people would eat them? Because then they would be making less money.”

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. “Arguably the Quarter Pounder is the best thing on the menu, it is better than some fast food burgers when they actually cook it to order.”

His sentiments echo an earlier statement made by McDonald’s, noting that they’re no longer tailoring their menu to working-class consumers. “But this is why I think they are just changing things around and making the regular cheeseburger too expensive for you to buy, not a value, and not as good, cause you’re gonna trade up to the more expensive thing, making McDonald’s more money,” he says.

He capped off his video by asking folks in the comments section if they thought Mickey D’s was “sabotaging their own food item for their benefit?”

Despite Haracz’s theory that the burgers are lowering in quality, McDonald’s announced changes to its product in February, promising its “best burger yet.” While the burger ingredients didn’t change, the fast-food chain altered the cooking and preparation process with the intention of making its burgers more flavorful, per CNBC.

Viewers’ changing McDonald’s habits

Still, in the comments section of Haracz’s clip, many users said they were done with Mickey D’s.

“I solved this whole thing, after growing up eating at McDonald’s I won’t go there anymore,” one person wrote.

Another said, “I go to @Culver’s now. Waaay better burgers and the ‘Ice cream machine’ Is never broken.”

@chefmikeharacz Former #McDonalds corporate chef has a theory about their regular #burgers being bad. #burger #burgertok #burgerlover #cheeseburger #hamburger #mcdonaldshacks #McDonaldsTikTok #mcdonaldssecrets #mcdonaldsccsing #mcdonaldschallenge #FYP #mcdonaldsdrivethru ♬ original sound – Chef Mike Haracz

Someone else pointed out that customers likely have local burger restaurants that serve up better fare for a comparable price. “For not much more money, you can go to a local burger joint and get a much better meal,” they said.

As another said, “I’ve switched over to a local burger place. Cooked to order and always fresh. It was time to switch away from chain restaurants.”

Several users said they’ve opted for other fast-food options over McDonald’s. “I had a Wendy’s Jr. Cheeseburger today and it was so much better (and cheaper) than the last time I had McDonald’s,” one user said.

Someone else referenced fast food inflation as the reason they stopped going to McDonald’s: “Once the diner became cheaper than McDonald’s, I stopped going. Value is non-existent IMO for an OK product.”

“They’re very wrong because nobody goes to McDonald’s for flavor lmao they go cuz it was the cheapest option. I’ll just go somewhere else if I gotta spend more money they forgot who they were,” another user claimed.

The Daily Dot has reached out to McDonald’s and Haracz via email for further comment.

Update 10:10am CT May 28: In an email to the Daily Dot, Haracz shared the following:

“Although I can’t confirm if it is on purpose or not, I do see a variety of comments saying that what McDonald’s calls ‘improvements’ has not made their burgers better. I also feel that sometimes major brands hide cost cutting measures as ‘improvements’ which is what this might be closer to representing.”

“I cannot pinpoint when the changes started taking place, but owner operators are also to blame as they are the ones who set prices at their restaurants,” he continued. “Many operators comment that their costs are increasing and menu prices need to increase, however, none have disclosed if their own profits have been reduced during this same time period, while complaining about their employees wages and willingness to work.”

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