Taste Test: We Made Millennials Try A McDonald’s Big Mac For The First Time

Taste Test: We Made Millennials Try A McDonald’s Big Mac For The First Time
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Hayley, Tiffany and Quang are three typical 20-something millennials. In addition to working in the same office, they share something else in common: none of them have ever eaten a Big Mac.

Apparently, this is quite common for their age group and Big Mac sales are suffering as a result. Something clearly needs to be done here. The very existence of McDonald’s beefy mascot could depend on it. So we force-fed our coworkers a bunch of Big Macs, for the greater good.

“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”

This used to be McDonald’s unofficial anthem — disseminated through jingles, poster taglines and freebie promotions. But a move towards premium-style burgers coupled with changing generational tastes could see the Big Mac consigned to the deep fryer of history.

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, a whopping four-in-five millennials have never eaten a Big Mac. That’s like, 80 per cent of everyone aged between 18 and 34.

At first, we scoffed at this story. Who hasn’t tried a Big Mac at least once while growing up? Going from a Happy Meal cheeseburger to a fully-fledged Big Mac is a rite of passage. It’s the unhealthy kids’ version of taking training wheels off a bicycle. However, a quick office poll proved that the report might have some merit.

A sizable portion of our workplace had either never tried a Big Mac or hadn’t eaten one in decades. Most of the lifetime abstainers were millennials. So it’s all true then. Millennials are killing the Big Mac.

I’m really not okay with this, albeit mostly on principle. To be honest, I don’t actually buy Big Macs all that often — I’m more of a Fillet-o-Fish man myself. And yet, I take comfort in knowing it continues to exist.

Having the Big Mac on the menu is like having an old high school acquaintance on Facebook. (The one who never left your home town and is still trying to be a successful DJ.) You’ll probably never hang out with Kirk again, but it’s nice knowing the possibility is still there.

To save the Big Mac, we need to get more millennials eating them, so we don’t have to. This is more important than the decline of traditional theatre or opera. Actual culture is at stake here, guys.

In a bid to do our part, we fed a Big Mac to Hayley, Tiffany and Quang at lunchtime. Hayley and Quang were bona fide first-timers, whereas Tiffany was a reformed Mac fan. Here is the video:

And here are their individual verdicts:

Quang Tran, Account Manager

I came in with low expectations but my first impression of the Big Mac was that it was a sad sight. The burger looked smaller than what I imagined and what I’ve seen in adverts so visually and literally the Big Mac didn’t live up to its name. Taking a look under the hood I stared down at a thin piece of grey, dry looking thing which passed for a beef patty and the unnecessary lettuce looked like shredded office paper.

Taking a bite into the burger it tasted pretty much as it looked. The burger was dry and the famous big mac sauce did not grace my tastebuds until I made my way towards to centre of the burger. The sauce was alright but a more even distribution across the bun would have been nice. Now I’m not one to waste food but 1/3 of the way into the burger I just gave up. I wouldn’t try this again, if I had to get a burger from the Macca’s menu I would go for a cheese burger or the quarter pounder.

Hayley Williams, Social Media & Community Editor

After more than 20 years of eating McDonalds, I finally tried my first Big Mac. It was not exciting at all. Even compared to my usual go-to Maccas burger (the humble cheeseburger) it was really bland. The sauce was barely there, and the only thing really adding any flavour was the pickle. Luckily, I love pickles. But I’d rather just eat a jar of pickles than another Big Mac. With three layers of soft, bland white bun, McDonalds’ particularly uninspiring lettuce and two dry patties, it was a struggle to finish it (in the worst possible way). The Big Mac really just needs to step up its game.

Tiffany Roma, Campaign Manager

I feel like everyone has a McDonalds story, and at a time the Big Mac was a part of mine, but not anymore. It’s not that I don’t like it — I really do, It’s nice, but it’s not just for me.

It’s filling: if you get enough sauce-to-bread ratio, then you’re good. There’s a perfect little dance of cheese and onion and lettuce complementing the two beef patties — and it definitely is big. The middle layer of bread evens everything out and it’s the right consistency. Everything points to a good burger, but I’m just not sure it’s good enough.

So there you have it. We potentially converted one of our four taste testers. Not the best result, but every little bit helps. Stay strong, Big Mac. We got you.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • I think I had one once, if I did it’s impact on me was so little I don’t really remember it.
    Usually go the McChicken, but the Quarter Pounder also gets a bit of love.

  • “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”Argh, now that’s going to be stuck in my head ALL AFTERNOON!

  • I’m a double quarter pounder man myself, although i guess a half pounder doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Although i have never had a big mac before either.

  • I stared down at a thin piece of grey, dry looking thing which passed for a beef patty and the unnecessary lettuce looked like shredded office paper.

    Quang Tran has the makings of an Awesome Taste Test reviewer, Chris.

  • The trick is to get a Big Mac with extra sauce. If you skip that, you’ll end with a dry burger same as these unfortunate test subjects did.

    I’ll get the Mac any time I go to Mickey D’s (unless I’m getting the create-your-taste burger) and really enjoy it. I suggest you try the test again, but with extra sauce. It really makes the difference.

    • Agreed plus basing a decision of the one burger is not going to work as consistency is not a strong point for Maccas (as with many places). Sounds like they had poorly constructed burgers, insufficient sauce and not spread around.

      My wife once received a Big Mac that was missing BOTH beef patties! WTF?! Hopeless…

  • OK, here’s the problem – you bought them from the “restaurant”, then took them back to the office, then chatted about them for a while before eating them. The magic of McDonalds’ food is fleeting, it must be consumed the instant you get it in your hands. For every minute you delay, you are robbing yourself of a significant percentage of the experience. After 10 minutes you may as well just throw it in the bin.

    I think you need to repeat this test next week, only this time you need to take them down to Circular Quay, sit them at a table and let them have at it while the magic is still fizzing.

    I had my first Big Mac in decades a couple of years ago and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. It’s nowhere near as good as a Whopper with Cheese but few things in this life are. Just be thankful you don’t live in India, where they don’t do beef. Instead of a Big Mac you get a Chicken Maharaja Mac, which sounds OK until you find out it’s not a chicken breast fillet, it’s made from chicken mince with the consistency of sausage meat. It is inedible. OTOH, they do these lovely Curry Pans – little pastry trays full of curry – that are great.

  • Rite of passage from the happy meal to the big mac. This made me laugh as never heard that. Also been going to Macca’s for 20 years and never had a big mac due to not being fussed about it and friends who have it say’s it’s alright.

    Also strange seeing Campbell as editor of Gizmodo as thought he left and Rae became editor who then left for Junkee before noticing this is another article from years ago being republished for some reason. The headline should be Years Ago, We made millenials/co workers try a big mac. Seems to be a trend though, get millenials to do things, Watch 90’s shows and see how offended they get. Ask them this and see how offended they get.

  • There is a reason why millennials like me haven’t tried it – because its pathetic looking and tasting burger that no one should really be eating… in a era of Grill’d and many other amazing healthy, tasty and meaty burgers why is McD still around boggles my mind .. agreed with Quang – the burgers are anything but big and there is no meat to speak of and the ingredients look like they have been sitting on the shelf since 1985…

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