McDonald’s employees share 11 annoying things they wish customers would stop doing

Here's how to avoid annoying everyone on your next trip to McDonald's.

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Here’s how to avoid annoying everyone on your next trip to McDonald’s.
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Petar Kudjundzic/Reuters

  • McDonald’s jobs can be pretty trying at times.
  • And certain behaviors from customers are almost guaranteed to tick off McDonald’s crew members.
  • From slowing down the line to having overly-high expectations about the “secret menu,” here are some things employees wish people would stop doing in McDonald’s.

McDonald’s jobs aren’t always a walk in the park.

And sometimes the fast food chain’s customers are to blame, according to crew members. Business Insider spoke with a number of current and former McDonald’s crew members about their experiences at the store. They shared with us certain things that they said were sure to irritate McDonald’s employees.

McDonald’s employees have also taken to Reddit to share their thoughts on the annoying thing certain restaurant patrons do, from treating the store like a babysitting service to making vague, poorly-thought-out orders.

Here are the annoying behaviors McDonald’s employees wish customers would drop:


Expecting crew members to whip up orders that aren’t on the menu

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Consumerist Dot Com/Flickr

A former McDonald’s crew member from Virginia told Business Insider that “there is no such thing as a secret menu.”

So how is it possible that Business Insider’s Joe Avella and Nathaniel Lee were able to score some “secret menu” items from the fast food giant?

Well, according to a 2015 Reddit post from a former McDonald’s crew member, they just lucked out when it came to the on-duty manager and store location.

“There is no ‘secret menu,’ really,” the ex-employee wrote. “What these are, are ‘menu hacks,’ combinations which aren’t on the menu, but are possible with the ingredients found around… What matters is if the manager on-duty will actually let you do these things. It’s a crapshoot. Sometimes you’ll get lucky. Sometimes you won’t.”

While McDonald’s is famed for the consistency of its food, every store is different when it comes to serving up more avant-garde orders.

“McDonald’s is a franchise and is independently owned and operated by thousands of different companies and owners across the world,” the former crew member from Virginia told Business Insider. “Yes, we get our food from the same place, and we are all more or less designed the same, but there are regional differences between us.”

The ex-employee said they worked at a McDonald’s in Lynchburg, Virginia, that was situated beside a busy highway. They said they often encountered customers from North Carolina and Georgia – even some from as far away as Wyoming.

The former crew member said these travelers would often “order things I’d never heard of before in my life.”

“If it’s not on the menu, we don’t have or don’t know how to make it,” the ex-employee said. “I don’t care if they do it in Pennsylvania, I can’t give you something we don’t serve.”

So, if you’re craving a Land, Sea, And Air Burger or a Big McChicken, you can head over to your local Golden Arches and try your luck. Just be prepared to pivot back to a standard Big Mac if your request gets denied.


Ordering complicated ‘special requests’ in general

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Igor Marusichenko/Shutterstock

Some people love to get creative with their McDonald’s orders. But sometimes, special orders can be a little too out-of-the-box, according to crew members.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread last year, a McDonald’s employee said custom orders could be a pain to make, especially when the store is busy.

“We label it as ‘special request,'” they wrote, so the employees filling the order “have to literally stop working just to come over and ask what the special request is.”

They added that requesting “something fresh” could also count as a custom order, as well as requests that ketchup is squirted between burger patties or for a specific placement of the cheese in a sandwich.

The employee gave the examples of a sandwich that substitutes the bun for lettuce or getting just one pancake instead of the standard three.

“It gets weirdly specific,” the employee wrote.

A McDonald’s crew member from Georgia told Business Insider that, in some circumstances, customized orders can cause issues for employees, like when customers order “so much customized ice cream and McCafé orders in the drive-thru.”


‘Hacking’ the system in order to get fresh fries

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Paul Yeung / Reuters

A number of McDonald’s crew members took to Reddit to complain about people who order French fries with “no salt” for the sole purpose of guaranteeing that they’re fresh.

The thinking is that, by ordering your fries without salt, you’ll be ensuring that they’re freshly made, as crew members will have to whip up a new batch without any salt.

But crew members have said that it makes their lives easier if you just ask to get fresh fries.

“No salt fries are a pain in the a–, and it would be so much easier if people just asked for them fresh,” a crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit post.

“Personally, I hate the people that order no salt fries and then ask for salt packets in their bag,” a different crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit post.

“They think we’re too stupid to put in a basket for fresh fries if they order ‘fresh fries,'” another crew member replied. “That’s why they order it ‘no salt.'”


Drowning everything out with your noisy car at the drive-thru

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Yaoinlove/Shutterstock

At McDonald’s, any successful drive-thru order requires clear communication. And, according to one ex-employee, that’s just not possible if your vehicle is particularly noisy.

“If you drive a loud a– car, put your engine in neutral while you’re ordering at the drive-thru speaker so that people can hear you,” a former McDonald’s assistant manager from Georgia told Business Insider. “This was especially relevant for all the juiced-up diesel trucks that would come by my location.”


Dawdling by the cash register

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DDohler/Flickr

McDonald’s and its competitors are known as fast food joints for a reason. The goal is to keep things moving. So, once you’re finished ordering, one crew member said they’d appreciate it if you didn’t hover at the register.

“Stop standing at the register after your purchase,” a McDonald’s crew member from Minnesota told Business Insider. “We will call your number when your food is ready.”

The crew member added that it’s also annoying when customers fail to pay attention when picking up their orders.

“Stop talking to your friends when waiting for your food, or at least keep an ear out for your order number,” the employee said.


Dumping change when it comes time to pay

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Vincent Kessler / Reuters

Some McDonald’s crew members said they aren’t fans of customers who hold up the line or the drive-thru by “dumping change.”

“Quarters, halves, and dollars in reasonable amounts is okay, but when there is only one order-taker or cashier and multiple cars behind them, the whole store is being slowed down by your pile of pennies and nickles,” one McDonald’s crew member wrote in a 2015 Reddit post.

The same crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit post that they weren’t irritated by “those who hand over a neat stack of quarters.”


Acting condescending toward crew members

It’s not cool to make a ton of snap judgments about people, solely based on their line of work. But that doesn’t stop some customers from behaving in a condescending way when interacting with fast food workers.

A McDonald’s employee named Mike Waite wrote about this issue in a viral Facebook post in 2016.

“Yes, I work at McDonald’s and do it nearly 50 hours a week,” Waite wrote. “Why? Not because I have no aspiration, motivation or intelligence … but for the opposite … because in a few months’ time, like a great number of people I work with, I will be going back into higher education.”

He said he aspired to be like his colleagues at the chain.

“In the past I have known and worked with very rich folks in very high-end jobs, and a few of them could never match the resilience and work ethic of some of the current lads/lassies,” he wrote.

A Reddit user who said they were once a part-time McDonald’s employee described one uncomfortable situation where she overheard a customer speaking with her children.

“I literally hear the mother say to her kids, ‘Remember, if you don’t do well in school, that’s how you’ll turn out,'” the Reddit user wrote. “It took all my effort not to turn and berate her for her ignorance. Not only are half the employees I work with in full-time education like me … but the other half were all upstanding, good individuals (in their own ways) who I respected as much as they respected me.”


Leaving behind a big mess

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Lucas Jackson / Reuters

In a 2015 Reddit post, a McDonald’s crew member wrote that they were particularly irked by “people who make no attempt to clean up after themselves.”

“Sure, an errant napkin or straw isn’t a big deal, but when someone just leaves a massive pile of sandwich wrappers, drink cups, and trays on a table, it doesn’t leave a good impression,” the crew member wrote.


Forgetting to think through your order

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When it comes to ordering at McDonald’s, you’ve got to be clear about what you want.

In a 2015 Reddit post, one McDonald’s crew member spoke about “people who say, ‘I want a number three,’ but neglect to say they only want the sandwich.”

According to the crew member, “people who say they want a ‘regular fry'” were also being too vague.

“Ok. Do you want a small, medium, or large?” the employee wrote. “‘Regular.’ And then they get pissed when you ring up the wrong size.”

The crew member also singled out “… parents who order five Happy Meals and get pissed when I ask the same questions for each one. Like, hello, I don’t know whether your brat wants apples or Go-Gurt unless you f—— tell me.”


Cutting the line at the drive-thru

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a 2017 post on Reddit, a McDonald’s crew member spoke out about “people who try to order at the second window, bypassing the order station and first window.”

They also said they were irritated when people “… make massive changes to their order at the second window. Bonus points if they refuse to pull up into a parking spot.”


Failing to control your kids

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A former McDonald’s crew member told Business Insider that it was irritating to see children running around the restaurant, and that people should “control their kids better.”

In a 2015 Reddit post, a crew member complained about people who treat the store’s PlayPlace as “a babysitting service.”

Are you a current or former McDonald’s crew member with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.