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Dec 9, 2012 06:10 PM

What physically happens to a burger in a 21st century McDonalds?

A long time ago, McDonald's burgers were cooked and sold inside 20 minutes.

You don't even have to go into a McDonald's now to know there's been some changes made; you can even see it in their commercials.

Who's worked there lately? What goes on back there?

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  1. I worked the grill at McDonald's in the late 1970s. It's not clear to me what's changed since then as regards preparation of the basic menu. What do you observe now that seems new or different?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bada Bing

      The burger is dead, as if it were flat-topped, and later nuked. The rolls are no longer handled in those steamy "caramelizing" cabinet things either.

      This isn't a minor change; your basic Quarter Pounder today is less juicy, less warm, and less stretchy than the old school stuff.

      If you were really a fanatic for pure McDonald power back then. you'd ask for a Quarter Pounder with no...onions, or mustard, or whatever. That was a "grill" and meant you waited 10 minutes, but got a hot one.

      1. re: knucklesandwich

        I'll be interested to see if anyone here knows current practices. In my time, things were not made to order unless there was a special request ("no mustard" etc). We made burgers in anticipation of demand and threw them in the garbage when they had sat unordered for 20 minutes. I'm supposing that the same would apply now if you ordered a special no onions, etc. Should take 10 minutes, or maybe 8...

        1. re: Bada Bing

          I always order burgers without ketchup or mustard. Back in the day, I remember standing aside waiting for my burger while others just got the regular burgers with whatever was already on it. I recall that Burger King tried to capitalize on this with the "Have it Your Way" campaign. The only reason I can think of why there is no longer much of a wait at McDonald's for a special order is that they either have a bunch of burgers sitting on the grill or a microwave is involved. I do know that BK nukes their burgers.

    2. It was the first fast food restaurant I ate at. You had to wait for your burger.The first week they were open you could get a hamburger for twelve cents.Then they bumped it up to fifteen.Much better then.


        Cabinets like this one are/were used to hold burgers until needed. I last worked for McDs in the early 90s so things have probably changed a bit in the past 20 years.

        1. I apologize for pointing you to another thread (because I myself hate it when people do this -- it seems such an arrogant "know-it-all" thing to do), but you might like to look at:

          1 Reply
          1. Here's a video produced by mcdonalds Canada with information about the process and time limits for patties

            1 Reply
            1. re: westaust

              Interesting video. Back when I cooked there, it was old-school, with a one-sided griddle and no warming trays for patties alone. Of course, we would hold fully assembled burgers in a heated case for 20 minutes. But any special "grill" orders--no mustard, etc.--would be made fresh up.