Burger King meal

Even if you haven’t eaten at a Burger King, chances are high that you’ve at least driven past one before. Known for its Whopper and Chicken Fries, Burger King has served hungry patrons since its inception in 1954. The popular fast-food chain originated in Florida, but nowadays, it can be found in thousands of locations around the world.

Per Zippia, employees don’t usually last long at Burger King — the average duration of employment is two and a half years. The company has over 20,000 employees, many of whom have taken to the internet to share bizarre stories, give insight on strange company rules, and warn people that perhaps they should seek employment (and food) elsewhere. After reading their stories, we get why staff retention is sometimes rather low.

We’ve gathered the information that former and current employees have divulged and we’re here to share some of the highlights with you. Reader beware: You might consider an alternative dining spot by the time you’re finished reading.

There’s a secret phrase for fresh patties

burgers on grill flame

It’s no secret that fast-food restaurants, particularly chains, aren’t always serving customers the freshest of food. Fast-food joints aim for consistency across their locations; in fact, per QSRweb, nearly a decade ago Burger King hired consultants to ensure customers always get the same experience no matter which location they visit. Well, sometimes the end result is that customers receive items that aren’t exactly fresh.

Typically, the problem isn’t with the food’s shelf life but with the procedure that employees are required to follow. According to a former Burger King staff member who made a TikTok video to share his inside tips, after grilling, patties are moved to a warming drawer. If you’re eating a burger, it’s likely been sitting in that drawer for a while. Sure, it’ll be warm, but this will likely affect the texture. Luckily, there’s a way around this quality shortcut. In the video, the ex-employee provides a secret phrase to use to ensure you’re getting the freshest meat possible. According to them, simply by asking for your patty "fresh off the boiler," you’ll get a piece of meat you can guarantee was just grilled.

Burger King employees would prefer guests don’t order Big Kings

Burger King Big King

Fast-food restaurants, particularly those in the United States, seem to be competing to offer the craziest, largest, and unhealthiest menu items. These convenient eateries are constantly pushing the limit of what’s possible to have in a single item… and what customers can fit into their mouths (and their stomachs).

Burger King took this unspoken competition to a new level with its Big King. This burger comes with two patties, two slices of cheese, and loads of toppings. It’s a fan favorite, but according to an ex-employee, it’s one of their least favorites to make. "They’re an absolute pain to make because there are so many layers that can go wrong," the former staff member lamented to BuzzFeed.

It’s easy to see how this is a difficult menu item to assemble. There are loads of components, and we can imagine the stacking only gets trickier when customers order the Big King XL, which has even more toppings, thanks to its bigger size.

You probably shouldn’t order the grilled chicken

Burger King Tendergrill

Everyone love to read confessions from former and current fast-food employees. These people are the heroes of the internet, always looking out for the customer and sharing the menu items we should probably steer clear of.

One brave (albeit anonymous) soul confessed a secret about Burger King’s Tendergrill on Whisper: "Do not get the grilled chicken. Sometimes it sits in the drawers for hours," the staff member revealed. Meanwhile, another employee warned customers about the grilled chicken, but for a much different reason. In a Reddit response to an unhappy patron whose chicken "wasn’t fully cooked, and was raw towards the end of it," the staff member wrote, "We microwave it, I wouldn’t suggest it." A separate employee chimed in to share that their Burger King location broils the chicken, but we still wouldn’t chance it.

Burger Kind isn’t always the best place to work

Burger King windo

Fast-food restaurants, although wildly popular, do not have the best reputation for being positive work environments. Unfortunately, many joints are more known for being toxic rather than exciting and wonderful places of employment. Granted, this can vary from location to location, as much of it depends on management (and the other employees), but according to a Quora thread, Burger King may have a restaurant-wide culture issue. Employees opened up about their experiences, one calling it "an absolute nightmare" and another saying it’s "a living hell." A third noted, "working at my Burger King is horrible." Yikes.

The restaurant has had some legal trouble involving staff, too. A former employee at an Orlando, Florida location was let go due to a disability, per the Orlando Sentinel. Apparently, after suffering a car accident, the employee was subsequently fired for having to wear a trachea tube in order to breathe. The employee sued the company, and the court sided with her, awarding her over $2 million in damages.

There are ways to hack the Burger King menu

Burger King retaurant

Seemingly every fast-food restaurant today has some sort of top secret menu. We see these purported items floating around social media, and it’s easy to wonder whether there’s actual legitimacy to the claims. For Burger King though, it’s real. If you’re dining at the establishment, you just might be able to customize your meal.

A Burger King employee noted some secret ways to make your order truly suit your preferences on Spoon University. For example, instead of having a meaty Whopper, you can order a vegetarian alternative, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. "You get all of the deliciousness of a Whopper minus the meat," the employee disclosed.

#HackTheMenu has also revealed some of these menu items. According to the site, Burger King has BLTs, club sandwiches, and a ham and cheese available to hungry customers. If you’re going to order one of these items, though, make sure you know exactly what goes on it — or exactly what you want on it — because not all employees are familiar with every secret menu item — and if they are, they may not know them by whatever newfangled name is going around at the moment.

Lastly, if for some reason you’re in need of ice in bulk while you’re at Burger King, there’s no need to make another stop — you can order it there. "Burger King has super cheap 10-pound bags of ice," an employee added. The more you know.

Employees have to make small talk with customers

Burger King customer and employees

Ever annoyed with a fast-food employee for making small talk? We get it. We also want to eat our Whoppers in peace. But be patient with Burger King staff — they’re required to converse with you. We’re not talking about niceties common to all places or the extreme friendliness we expect from a select few (we’re looking at you, Chick-fil-A); we’re talking about actual small talk.

Per a former Burger King employee on Reddit, "If a Burger King employee is cleaning the dining room and is trying to make small talk with you, please be nice. We’re required by our job to do this." The user went on to note that "the rule is if they come within ~10 feet or so, we’re required to smile and make small talk," and added that a coworker was reprimanded for their failure to do so. The next time a Burger King employee initiates a conversation, just be nice and maybe comment on the weather.