Takeaway Truth: McDonald's Quarter Pounder BLT Burger

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: McDonald's Quarter Pounder BLT.

Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we've decided to document the reality of fast food -- it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

For some reason, burgers seem to be the biggest culprits when it comes to inaccurate marketing -- which makes the eating part of this segment a lot less fun than it should be.

In the past, we've cast our truth-seeking spotlight on the KFC Parmy Stacker Burger ("barely any resemblance"), McDonald's Son Of Mac ("someone appears to have sat on our burger"), Nando's 'Little Hottie' Burger ("a limp, soggy pocket of sadness"), Oporto's Chicken And Cheese Burger ("not something we’d be particularly anxious to stick in our mouths") and Hungry Jack's Deluxe Country Burger ("the meat patty looks like a dog poo").

It's got so bad that I've begun to dread the sound of each burger chain's TV jingle, which usually signifies a new product I have to try.

So why are fast food burgers so rubbish? In most cases, the problem comes down to the burger's assembly, although the actual ingredients are often meaner looking too. Now we don't expect the underpaid kitchen staff to painstakingly recreate the masterpiece on the poster but it wouldn't hurt to exhibit a little care.

With that rant out of the way, it's time to look at the latest burger creation to tempt Australia's taste buds. After 40 odd years, McDonald's has decided that the time is nigh to update its signature Quarter Pounder burger. There are two new options on the menu: the Hot Hawaiian (which adds a slice of pineapple and chili sauce to the mix) and the BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato.) Check out the official advertisement for the new burgers below:

I plumped for the BLT as it has more extra ingredients than the Hot Hawaiian. I also snapped off the photos in-store, immediately after receiving the burger.

Here's how the burger looks in McDonald's splendid advertising:

And here's what we got served at a McDonald's Blaxland restaurant:

Here's a side-by-side comparison (the real burger has been swiveled 180 degrees to show the other side):

True to form, McDonald's Quarter Pounder BLT has pretty similar looking ingredients to the advert, with the exception of cheaper lettuce. However, the slipshod construction has turned it into a complete dog's breakfast. Clearly, the fast food giant needs to spend more time training its staff. We'd even be willing to wait a few extra minutes for an order -- just stop being so sloppy!

Truth rating: 5/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


Comments

    Some McD's restaurants (looking at you cnr George and Bridge) should have their staff completely retrained. This is the version (albeit with a bite out of it) of the BLT I was served, which ended up in the bin.

    http://imgur.com/ZA3f1Tr

    Not sure where the bacon was?

      Wow, that's even worse than my one. At least I got bacon.

      My friends didn't have Bacon either... Kind of a key ingredient in a BLT...

      You put it in the bin?

      How precious are you!? It wasn't rotten or anything, it just looked visually unappealing - so you threw it out.

      Unbelievable!

    You do seem to be missing a slice of cheese (not even part of the BLT additions) or is it hiding under the oversized piece of beef?

      It was under the beef. Still a crap burger though.

    The promo picture does have it on both sides of the meat however.

    I noticed McD's and Subway and likely most of these fast-food joints are using pre-cut ingredients now like lettuce and tomatoes - leading to the cut edges breaking down as they are transported and sit waiting to be used.

    First noticed it when I smelled 'cut-grass' as I ate a subway sub - pulled out the lettuce and had a sniff and voila! rotting vegetable smell. Last time I ate fast-food.

      Lettuce is pre-packaged, but tomatoes and cucumbers are cut daily (at McD's at least).

      Last edited 31/10/13 3:32 pm

      I work at hungry jacks, and we do the same as what matt taylor said. Its hard cutting lettuce, as pieces can end up being too big, or having awquard shapes, tomatoes have to be cut in store, the insides would just leak out :p

    I find this pathetic. This is Lifehacker not a food blog. There are no lifehacks here. Just slamming a fast food chain for delivering made-on-demand food in a fast way. Perhaps we should go back a decade to a time where burgers were made hours beforehand to sit and sweat away in a grease-proof paper wrapping.

      You aren't forced to read everything we publish y'know. If you don't like Takeaway Truth, move on to the next free article - problem solved.

    As a (recent) past employee of McDonald's, I can confirm that there really isn't an excuse for sloppily made burgers. It's entirely possible and easy to quickly make a tidy, fresh burger. When you get served a half-assed effort, it's because either a) the person making it doesn't care or b) they're really under the pump. Usually it's a).

      Yea, totally agreed, was working there for over 2 years as a trainer cum manager role and had to always tell the guys off for making sloppy looking burgers.

    Had one today at Mudgee mcdonalds was actually pretty good

    Far out talking about bad food prep...I've tried the new Maccas breakie wraps now and both times they have been squashed in the cardboard container they sell them in. Looks like they wrap is sticky and gets caught as they push the wrap into the container, massive mess.

    Complained both times and they had no idea how they are going to fix the problem...how about just paper wrap it like normal people!

    Had one last week - it was actually very appealing for a Maccas burger and was fresh

    I generally prefer HJ's burgers over Maccas, but the latter does other things better. What I will say for Maccas is their training and set up is generally far better than HJ's, Subway or KFC. At no time is this more evident than when a fast food place is extremely busy. Maccas tend to respond well to busy times, KFC depends largely on the individual restaurant (my local is okay, my previous was hopeless) and HJ's can also vary.

    As for the burgers expectation versus reality, consider for a second that the burgers in the TV & print ads are carefully put together by "burger stylists" and usually barely cooked. Sometimes the chips are hand painted styrofoam.

    The Gruen Transfer season 2 episode 10
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WUhrIOqdCs

    The most relevant section is between 3:50-4:40. For those people not in the know all of the panelists except the guy in the middle are Advertising CEO's.

    Last edited 02/11/13 10:36 am

    As a maccas worker, Honestly, if you really wanted and informed us prior to receiving it I could probably put in a bit of effort in picking the best slice of bacon to cover the whole burger and some lettuce that looks greener than the rest and aligning everything nicely on the burger but it would end up taking a few minutes to accomplish and when we have a max waiting time of 5 minutes, a target time to get the bun from the toaster to the box and served in less than 35 seconds and the box closed and ready for pick up less than a minute only for it to be flipped over, slid down the assembly area and slam into a wall at the end before being picked up and placed in a bag for you, you can't expect miracles when it comes to appearance.

      I don't think there's anything miraculous about a tidy looking burger. It'd take an extra two or three seconds to ensure the bacon and lettuce isn't falling halfway out, like the burger in my picture. I think it comes down to lack of training/care rather than time constraints.

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