Thursday, September 29, 2011
I Cooked Over ONE MILLION Hamburgers
I worked at McD's my sophomore and junior years, got out of school at noon to get there for lunch rush. Everyone at school who spoke to me called me Ronald McDonald. I would work double shifts and close the restaurant, not get home till 1 or 2 in the morning then back to school. Worked weekends. I excelled at grill man especially during rushes so they often put me on grill. I got good enough I could have won the golden spatula if I'd gone to the competitions.
I started tracking how many cases of frozen hamburger patties I personally cooked, and kept track over the course of my five years with McDonald's on and off. I surpassed one million hamburgers cooked in my fifth year. This was arrived at by multiplying the number of patties in a case (both ten to one patties and 4 to 1 patties) times how many cases I had recorded that I cooked.
I could lay down twelve frozen patties, six in each hand, on the 400 degree grill, in two perfect rows in less than two seconds. I could turn them in a few seconds, keeping the sear intact. I could keep the grill full as fast as the burners could reheat, sometimes four dozen patties or more cooking at once. We employed systems back then called pull lay and turn lay. If you wanted to keep burgers coming up continuously, you either told grill man to cook on the pull lay, meaning when you pull one set of done patties, you lay down the next set. Or turn lay, for rushes, every time you turned one set you laid another set.
The Caller/Wrapper, a Crew Chief, decided what to call based on the time and business level. You might be percolating along on a 4 / 2 pull lay on regulars and a 2 / 2 pull lay on quarters. Or in rush you might be 24/12 turn lay on regulars, and 16 / 8 turn lay on quarters. The caller might reassign numbers of the finished regular ten to one patties to Macs or Hamburgers. He'd also call out how many to Cheese. The grill man had to communicate back to the Caller all the time with Turning so many, Laying so many, of what, Pulling so many, asking for Cheese calls etc. and announcing whenever he set a tray of finished burgers up for the Caller to wrap or box by saying stuff like "Nutritious and Delicious Big Macs Up!" or "Hot and Delicious Cheeseburgers Up!"
We had extensive training films that taught you every move, every aspect, right down to how many grains of salt and pepper mixture should be applied and when, the perfect time to turn the meat and remove the meat, how the meat would keep cooking after pull, how to sear, how to turn, on and on. Only the best grill men could keep the grill going full tilt. If you were by yourself in the kitchen, you had to also toast the buns and dress them with condiments and assemble the burgers, and keep everything stocked, the grill cleaned, etc. etc. It was a workout when busy or alone.
I worked my way up to Opening Crew Chief by the time I quit working for them. I worked at various stores around KC. Used it as a fill in job between jobs in seventies.
I despair when I see what the McD crews do nowadays, all the pride is gone, they are sloppy, the food is cruddy and cold, dirty stores, slow, crew doesn't know what they are doing. It's very sad. Back in the day, we had pride in the job we did. I'll tell more stories later. I still love McDonald's food, and it's still one of the premiere American companies. Hamburger U in Chicago turns out managers still, Corporate owned stores and private owned stores are still way different. I miss Mayor McCheese and Grimace and the Hamburgler. Ray Kroc used to send us little flexy vinyl records with his recorded pep talks and latest advertising jingles to our homes. I changed to Jack in the Box my senior year, but went back to McD's several more times. I'd still recommend it to people if they want to get into management. The training is fantastic and translates to all else.
Copyright 2011 VROUK