Without glancing at the menu, you order: four beef patties, four slices of cheese, bacon and special sauce loaded between two sesame-seed buns.
When quick service restaurants such as Burger King promise you can “have it your way,” it’s no surprise that some students may opt to customize their order to create something like the BK Quad Stacker described above. From coffee to pizza to burgers and more, local restaurants and chains may provide what have been popularly described as secret menu items.
On April 5, Business Insider reported its top five secret menu suggestions for McDonald’s. These tips were found through the website hackthemenu.com, which states its purpose to provide, “details, recipes and prices about the most interesting and tasty secret menu items available at all of your favorite fast food restaurants.”
At UCF, several on-campus and nearby restaurants are listed with secret menu hacks, including Burger King and McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Panera Bread.
Marilyn Solorzano, a nursing sophomore at UCF, works for Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble located in Tower 3 of Knights Plaza. At this location, Solorzano said that she had frequent requests in the previous two semesters for non-menu items. She said that while baristas at Starbucks must learn how to make both the hot and iced version of many standard menu items, she enjoys making new creations for customers.
“It’s pretty cool. Sometimes I don’t know how to make something and they’ll look it up on Google, and I’ll make it for them if we’re able to,” she said. “As long as it’s not a Frappuccino, we’re good.”
Solorzano said that because her Starbucks is located in a Barnes & Noble, she is unable to customize certain drinks, including Frappucinos. So if you’re craving a cotton candy Frappuccino — a vanilla bean Frappuccino with extra pumps of raspberry syrup — head to an off-campus location.
Solorzano said that it does take longer to make an unusual request, but she appreciates the creativity.
“It makes it cooler cause you learn new things [as a barista],” she said.
Not everyone agrees that putting a new spin on an old menu benefits the employees.
“Alterations and substitutions like ‘Can I get extra “x,” or can I get it without “y”’ can be one thing, but an entirely different issue arises when asking the worker to make off-the-cuff items that they simply cannot make,” said Charlie Korba, a current Valencia College student transferring to UCF to study premed. “All it seems to do is take up more time for the workers, which isn’t good, especially for a busy location like the campus.”
Korba suggests that students follow his example by ordering the components for his or her specialty order separately to assemble on their own. At McDonald’s, for example, Korba said that he would create what is known colloquially as a “McGangbang” by combining two McDoubles with a McChicken stacked between them.
Katelyn Smith, a psychology senior at UCF about to begin a master’s program in the field, previously worked at McDonald’s on Alafaya Trail. She corroborated Korba’s suggestion and said that asking for unusual orders slows down the staff and may cause a manager to get involved.
Whatever you order, just make sure you clearly tell the staff what you’re asking for, and you’re on your way to enjoying a creative new twist on familiar franchise dishes. And if you need some suggestions to get you started, Business Insider recommends a Pie McFlurry. Blend one McDonald’s pie with the McFlurry of your choice for a unique dessert that’s your little secret.