McDonald’s workers reveal secrets of what it’s like to work at fast food chain

Two former McDonald’s workers have revealed the secrets of what it’s really like to work at the fast food chain.

The ex employees, who wish to remain anonymous, have spoken about their experiences of working in two separate Grimsby based stores between 2009 and 2015.

Relationships between colleagues – dubbed ‘McRelationships’ – are said to be common and they even get free meals depending on their shifts, they told Grimsby Live.

There are special cleaning procedures put in place to make sure conditions are as hygienic as possible, and hand washing is very regular.

The former crew member and crew trainer also revealed the breakfast changeover is the most stressful part of the job, in their opinion.

‘Time to lean, time to clean’

The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Croc, would say "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean".

This meant that if a worker has time to lean against a counter, then they have time to clean something instead.

Ray’s saying reportedly continues to be used as a motto in stores around the country.

The crew member said: "I remember being told ‘time to lean, time to clean’ in my first week.

"We’d just finished a busy lunch time and it was around 2.30pm, and instead of taking a breather I was told ‘time to lean, time to clean’.

"There’s always someone cleaning something in McDonald’s – it’s probably one of the cleanest fast-food restaurants around.

"Although the saying makes me cringe, I think it’s a good idea because it keeps up high cleaning standards."

Breakfast change over

The breakfast change over is the most stressful part of the job, the former crew member said.

They said: "The change over from breakfast to main menu was always a nightmare.

"Breakfast ends at 10.30am, but you’d always end up with someone coming in at 10.45am wanting a McMuffin.

"By 10.45am, all breakfast equipment has been chucked into the back sink to be washed and as harsh as it sounds, we’re not going to fish it all out the sink, wash it up, and put it all back together again just to serve one customer one McMuffin."


Many employees end up in relationships with other employees, the former workers claimed.

The crew member said: "So many employees end up in relationships with other employees.

"I never went out with another employee, but I can think of five or six examples from my store alone, and I know this was a thing across all the stores in Grimsby and Cleethorpes."

The crew trainer said: "Employee relationships are a thing, and they are very common.

"There was a lot of crew members getting together and even a lot of managers going out with each other."

Broken milkshake machines

The former workers said they’d often get complaints about the milkshake machine not working.

They said: "Customers would always complain when our milkshake and ice cream machine was broken.

"Just to clear things up, the milkshake and ice cream machine is the same machine.

"Sometimes we’d even be accused of lying about it being broken, but the truth is we’d love to serve customers an ice cream rather than tell them it wasn’t working.

"The reason why it ‘always’ seems to be broken is because it has a very complicated cleaning process.

"The machine has to be cleaned every night, then a big weekly clean, and an even bigger monthly clean."

They added: "Sometimes the machines would have a cleaning error in the middle of the night, which would stop its cleaning process. It could happen at 3am when nobody is around to sort it out.

"The morning workers would then have to sort it out and continue it on its cleaning process. The machine does not allow you to cancel a clean – it has to finish it in full before it returns to normal.

"So, instead of explaining this to each and every customer, we would just say it’s broken because it’s much easier and less time consuming."

Break time allowance

Employees are allowed a free meal when working, but what you’re allowed depends on what shift you’re working, according to reports.

The crew member said: "Your break allowance is dependent on what shift you are on.

"If you are on an seven-plus hour shift then you’re allowed any medium Extra Value Meal.

"If you’re on a shift which is less than six hours then you’re only allowed something small like a cheese burger and small fries.

"However this really depended on which shift manager was running the shift. If it was someone more laid back, then they may allow you a medium Extra Value Meal on a five hour shift."

The crew member added: "We were allowed any meal on breakfast shifts, but when it came to main menu, we were not allowed the promotion meals.

"Wraps and Chicken Legends were always a weird one because we were sometimes allowed these but sometimes we were not allowed them. I think it depended on who was running the shift."

Washing hands

There is a reportedly a strict hand washing policy in McDonald’s – with a loud alarm to remind people when it’s time for the next wash.

The crew trainer said: "If you worked on till or on dining area, then you’d have to wash your hands on an hourly basis.

"If you worked in the kitchen or on fries, then you’d have to wash your hands every half-an-hour.

"There is a really loud alarm which goes off every half-an-hour and every hour which beeps until manually turned off. This is the ‘wash your hands’ alarm."

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