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The 'secret menu' at fast-food restaurants

I've seen several articles like this: "Ask for these secret menu items at your favorite restaurants." There are entire websites like hackthemenu.com, built around the concept of ordering fast-food menu items that aren't on the menu. I just want to say that it's largely horse-pucky. 

Yeah, In-and-Out is famous for allowing customers to vary the amount of meat and cheese on a sandwich, or making a big messy Animal Style Burger, or slopping sauce onto the fries if you ask for it. That's a genuine 'secret menu', because it's not at all a secret, and the staff knows how to prep such orders, even though they're not listed on the menu.

Beyond that, while it's technically possible to get a Barnyard Burger (beef, spicy chicken, and bacon) at Wendy's, or talk the staff at Dairy Queen into making a long-since-discontinued variety of Blizzard if they remember how and have the fight ingredients, in practice, purchasing such 'secret menu' items is such a pain in the arse it's effectively a fictional concept.

Let me 'splain: When I worked at McDonald's, decades ago, there were several items on what you'd call a "secret menu" — they weren't on the menu-board customers stared at and ordered from, but if someone asked, we might be able to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or a tiny burger called an All-American, or a double-cheeseburger (which wasn't on the menu at the time), and maybe a few other 'secret menu' items I've forgotten.

But I'd worked there for two years before I'd even heard of any of those off-menu items.

in reality, if you order a grilled-cheese sandwich at McDonald's, the 17-year-old kid working the counter will say WTF. You'll then have to argue until a boss comes over, who's two years older, and there's a pretty good chance that the boss will think you're nuts, too. Or, maybe he/she will vaguely remember hearing something about grilled-cheese sandwiches, but have no idea how to ring it up. Certainly, the pimple-faced kid working the grill won't know how to prepare one.

These are high school kids making minimum wage. They're trained on the regular menu, and specifically not allowed to be creative with the recipes. They don't know the 'secrets', and if you order a grilled-cheese sandwich at McDonald's you'll be the butt of employees' jokes for the next few weeks. Bub, you're going to eat something off the regular menu, or you're going to leave hungry.



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