Secret Menus: What Big Fast Food Chains Don't Want You to Know

June 19, 2012 3:38 PM EDT | By Staff Writer
McDonald's (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

You've heard the rumors: food-savvy patrons going right up to the cashier at one of the big fast food joints, looking him dead in the eye, and, with little more than a wink, ordering an item that isn't on the menu. The cashier, unfazed, punches some buttons on the menu at in a second, an industry famous for streamlining production gives out something that's basically made-to-order, provided you know to order it in the first place.

We're going to show you how to walk into a place you've been going for ostensibly your entire life and, with confidence, order something that isn't on the menu, but that line cooks are dying for you to order.

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1. Red Star - Jamba Juice

Okay, so they can't technically call it a red starburst, but that's what the good folks at Jamba are willing to whip up for you at a moment's notice: the Red Star, a smoothie that tastes just like the coveted cherry-red starburst candy. Jamba Juice, which has branded itself as a healthy little boutique, has a whole menu of secret drinks that are meant to taste like candy. Because it directly interferes with the story of their brand, they hide these options from the public. But if you do a little searching, you'll find the list of all of them.

2. The McGangBang - McDonalds

This one's trickier, because not every McDonalds cashier knows what it is. The veterans do, though, and boy are they ready for you to say the magic words: "A McGangBang, please." It's that simple.

The McGangBang is a combination of their chicken sandwich and their cheeseburger. This may not sound delicious-- in fact, it's as unhealthy as it sounds-- but trust us when we say that if you haven't been naughty for the last six months, this is a really, really good way to get back at your thighs for looking great.

3. Anything You Want - Chipotle

Here's a secret about Chipotle: if they have the ingredients on hand, they have to make you what you order. Don't be a jerk and make them do it during peak hours, or you'll get some dirty looks. But if it's late, and you don't want a burrito or a burrito bowl, ask them to make you a steak quesadilla. They'll do it-- and it'll taste better and be healthier than just about anything from any other Mexican fast food joint.

4. Captain Crunch Frappuccino - Starbucks

Our team already did a big story on all the secret goodies that Starbucks has to offer, but my favorite is far-and-away the Captain Crunch Frappuccino. If they don't know how to make it for you by name, just tell them you'd like a Strawberries and Creme frappe with a pump of caramel, two pumps of toffee, one pump of hazelnut, and two scoops of chocolate chips.

But because that order is basically the length of a David Mamet play, it's obviously much easier if they know how to make it for you right away.

5. Naked Chicken - Popeye's

Gluten-free? At Popeye's, that's no longer an issue. You can order their naked chicken, which is their fast-food-flavorful chicken prepared without any of the fried breadcrumbs. It's all right, but nothing you couldn't prepare at home. Still, if any of your friends drag you into the restaurant, it's good to know that this exists. Get it with some mashed potatoes and shred it into the bowl. How's that for some everyday elegance?

Go forth and conquer, young explorer. We salute your commitment to new experiences and awkward situations with cashiers.


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