13 Fast Food ‘Menu Hacks’ You Need To Try

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13 Fast Food ‘Menu Hacks’ You Need To Try


For lovers of burgers and fast food, the legend of the “secret menu” is a tantalising one, promising a secret club of tasty, cheap and ridiculously over the top food. Only one fast food outlet has openly confirmed having a secret menu – and that’s the infamous In-N-Out, which is sadly not available outside of the US (unless you make your own). So how do we go for secret menus here, in the land down under?

KFC

KFC has really taken the “secret menu” concept to a new level via its mobile app which contains hidden menu items like the ‘Hot Or Not’ burger – a double-fillet concoction with an Original Recipe and Zinger patty, plus spicy sauce, mayo, cheese, bacon and lettuce. However, the only way to get this burger is via KFC’s online ordering app. But what if you don’t have the app?

How To Access KFC's Secret Menu

Secret menus are pretty awesome. You get access to tasty morsels most people don't realise exist, making you part of a culinary illuminati. KFC has a secret menu. As well as the The Nug-a-Lot, there's an entire menu of secret goodness. Here's how to access that menu and join KFC's secret society.

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KFC has a few menu hacks available, but unfortunately their customisation options aren’t as broad as McDonalds. You can’t swap fillets around in the burgers, or add or subtract anything more major than cheese slices or sauce. There are, however, a few things you won’t find on the displayed menu.

Breast Fillet Box
The breast fillet box is an item that used to be on the menu and has since been taken off. I have it on good authority from Lifehacker’s resident fast food expert, Chris Jager, that this box is still entered into KFC’s system, so you are still able to order it. The box should consist of two breast fillets, potato and gravy, small chips and a drink.

Add Bacon, $0.50
Adding bacon is listed on HackTheMenu as their top secret menu item. While bacon at KFC isn’t really a secret, it’s good to remember that you can add bacon to any item on KFC’s menu — burgers, snacks, boxes or more. It shouldn’t set you back more than 50 cents for the extra bacon, and all you have to do is ask to add bacon.


McDonalds

McDonalds has the most outrageous ‘secret menu’ claims of any fast food chain, but it also has the longest history of denying that a secret menu exists. This is potentially thanks to the same laws that require anything on the menu to have nutritional information available for customers to see, which would become problematic if a ‘secret menu’ was officially recognised. The idea of it was resoundingly denied when it came up as part of Maccas’ “Your Questions” campaign:

Extra cost is right. Many of the American secret menu items listed on sites like #HackTheMenu are intended as cost-saving measures, which may be true over in America. Here, however, Maccas will charge you for any extras added, but won’t deduct price if you take ingredients off a burger. That being said, I’ve wrapped up how much some of the most popular secret menu items will cost you here in Australia. Ordering is made even easier with the kiosks that have been installed in each store, allowing you to edit the ingredients on each burger. You can even order these delicacies online for delivery — although the quality of service varies.


The McGangBang, $6.50-$10.60

Possibly one of the most famous McDonalds secret menu items, if the most distastefully named one, the McGangBang is a Double Cheeseburger with a whole McChicken sandwiched between the burger patties on the Double. #HackTheMenu’s instructions tell you to buy both a double Cheeseburger and a McChicken to assemble this, which would come out at the princely sum of $10.60, but if you don’t mind missing out on the bun part of the McChicken then you can assemble the McGangbang for just $6.50.

All you have to do is order a Double Cheeseburger and add a McChicken fillet, McChicken sauce and shredded lettuce. No guarantee your local Maccas staff will put it together in the ‘proper’ order, but it should still taste the same as the real deal.

The Land, Sea And Air Burger, $8.90

Another legendary secret burger, the Land, Sea and Air Burger has beef, chicken and fish in it, as you might expect from the name. It’s a bit of a mouthful to order even by the secret name, however, so you might as well just be asking for a “Big Mac with fish and chicken.”

To make this monstrosity, order a Big Mac and add a McChicken fillet and a fish fillet. Easy! It should set you back around $8.90.

Big McChicken, $10.70


To order the Big McChicken, order a Big Mac, subtract the buns and add three McChicken fillets. It should cost around $10.70, but may require some assembly to put the chicken fillets in the right places.

The ‘Protein’ Burger ($8.95+)
If you’re ordering from McDonald’s Create Your Taste menu, you may have noticed the option to substitute burger buns with lettuce. You can request the same hack at the counter and the result is a light and refreshing garden wrap that’s easy on the carbs. It is, however, fantastically messy.

Grilled cheese burger
Another regular fixture that isn’t on the menu — this is basically a cheeseburger with everyone removed except the cheese. Kids love ’em, but they also make a good snack when you’re after something cheap and light.

Animal Style Fries, $2.20-$3.80

On Californian chain In-N-Out’s secret menu is an item called ‘Animal Style Fries’, which are fries with their special sauce and chopped onions. For a McDonalds style version of this delicacy, try asking for your fries with a side of Big Mac sauce. Apparently some restaurants will just give this to you for free, but if they charge you extra it should be around 40c for a serving of sauce.

Neapolitan Shake, Unavailable

This was another one mentioned on HackTheMenu, which is a shake with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours in the one cup. It seemed a simple enough ask, but when I ordered it in store, they said that the machine ‘didn’t work that way’. Still, I imagine the success rate of this hack largely depends on the employee who happens to serve you.

Images via #HackTheMenu


Nandos

Peri-Tamer Sauce, free
The Peri-Tamer sauce is a mild marinade used at Nandos mainly on the kids menu. You can, however, request to have this mild sauce on any of your adult meals. It’s not listed on the menu as an option, but by all accounts the staff will be happy to accommodate.

Mixed Sauces, free
Not only can you choose the unlisted sauces for your Nandos meals, you can also mix and match. That means if you’re buying a whole chicken you can ask to get half of the chicken marinated with one sauce, and half with another. You can even ask them to mix two sauces together — apparently the Medium and Peri-Tamer is a popular combination.


Hungry Jacks

The Aussie Battler Burger, $2+
This ‘secret menu’ item is based on the knowledge that Hungry Jacks will happily add extra salads to your burger — including beetroot — for free. This means you can cobble together an inexpensive version of the premium ‘Aussie’ burger by buying a sausage omelette muffin and asking to add salad, beetroot and mayo — coming to $2 all up. You can also add bacon for an extra dollar, which will still end up setting you back less than half the cost of a regular Aussie burger. For more variations on this Hungry Jacks secret, check out our round-up here.

“Frings”
Hungry Jack’s offers both French fries and onion rings on its sides menu. If you can’t decide, it’s apparently possible to order half-n-half in a regular fries box. You will be charged the higher amount for this combo, but variety is the spice of life, as they say.


For me, the definition of a secret menu means a name that you can take into a store, whisper surreptitiously into a cashier’s ear, and have them understand exactly what you want without asking for clarification. Testing this concept with Australian fast food restaurants didn’t work out so well. I didn’t find a single store that knew what any of the names I found on various ‘secret menu’ sites were meant to mean.

However, secret menu sites like #HackTheMenu usually list secret menu items with ‘some assembly required’, like our taste test of the bunless beef double at McDonalds. I’d take it more as a food hack than a secret menu — but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the slightly outrageous takeaway experience.

Would you try, or have you tried any of these ‘secret menu’ items? Let us know in the comments!

Additional reporting by Chris Jager.

This story has been updated since its original publication.

Comments

  • No food chain actually has a secret menu, they just allow you to pick and choose what you want on your burgers while using a menu burger as a base.
    At McDonalds, they’ll pretty much do whatever you want providing you’re willing to pay. In my time working there, I’ve seen a whole bunch of weird stuff, such as;

    – Pounders (Double Quarter with two extra patties and cheese, and only twice your recommended intake of saturated fat!)
    – The Bigger Mac (Big Mac made on a Quarter Pounder bun with an extra heel serving as the club and bigger meat patties),
    – The Ark (another name for the Land, Air and Sea)
    – Big Macs with either fish or chicken subbed in place of beef are actually pretty common
    – Double Filet (extra cheese, extra fish – should be a normal menu item in my opinion)
    – Mega Mac (no longer basic menu item, but sometimes advertised)
    – Mixing frozen drinks (half’n’half is quite common)
    – Mixing sundae sauces (once again, half’n’half isn’t uncommon)

    The list goes on and on. When it comes to ordering though, you’re better off just asking for the base burger and add what you want. You could try these so-called secret menu names, but it really comes down to what the workers in the kitchen are aware of.

    Also, on a quick note – as most non-salad items on the burgers have individual prices, taking them off a burger does actually reduce it’s price if I recall correctly. Most salad items (lettuce, tomato, pickles etc.) are free, so removing them doesn’t affect the price.
    I’ll check tonight and update this post.

  • Ordering is made even easier with the kiosks that have been installed in each store, allowing you to edit the ingredients on each burger

    Yeah but what are the odds of that 13 year old burger flipper getting your order right. My local McCrappy store can’t even get their default menu right.

    • I tried it out and it’s always been spot on! Usually takes a bit longer to get the order though.

  • The other day I went to HJ and noticed the Stunner deal was no longer listed on the menu or in-store. I asked the cashier and was surprised to find they still sold it. It’s a cheeseburger meal (at standard cheeseburger meal price) with a free sundae/drumstick.

  • If your subway has all day breakfast – you can ask for an Egg & Cheese sub and add whatever salads, and this is much cheaper than the veggie delite sub despite having egg as an extra.

  • A true “secret menu” item needs to be something that can be ordered but doesn’t appear anywhere in-store or on-line. Making DIY monstrosities from other items doesn’t count.

    My current fav is the Hash Brown Super Stacker. Effectively a Double Whopper with 2 hash browns and BBQ sauce instead of the salad items. It was a promotional item around a year ago and has since vanished from any menus. But still seems to exist in the ordering system … as in I’ve asked for it at a few outlets now with no apparent ignorance or need to explain.

  • If the Breast Fillet box exists, it’s only by swapping breast pieces out of somebody else’s order, since the set combinations they have are set up to balance out the pieces to some degree.

    Basically, if you ask for particular pieces somebody else will suffer. Personally if knew they allowed it I’d probably stop going there altogether (rather than as just the occasional guilty treat).

    • the fillet box is just a fillet box. that’s why it’s called the 2 fillet box on the receipt

  • I have worked at several KFC joints over Sydney and I can tell you we don’t balance out or chicken to the degree you are expecting.you would be surprised by how many orders we get asking for certain pieces and I think as a customer it’s their right, what if they don’t like drumsticks? Of course we give them what they ask for. We have enough of each piece to simply cook more we maybe run out of fillets once every few weeks but that’s usually because of delivery screw ups and even then we sometimes send an employee to one of the less busy stores to obtain a little more. And it’s not just fillets I have had people ask for only the wings or only drumsticks. If we don’t have enough of what they are asking for then we apologise and provide them with a few extra pieces of something else, and not one customer I have dealt with seems to mind in fact they thank us for the extra piece/pieces they get. So if you wanna stop coming to our restaurants simply because we provide customers with what they want then maybe you should know how it really works.

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