Secret menus for your favorite chains have been circulating for years. It's fun to change up your order and feel like you're getting something that's, well, a secret. But what you may not know is that these creative items are (typically) insanely difficult and time-consuming to make. 

What Is a Secret Menu?

A secret menu is exactly what it sounds like. It's a special menu that contains creatively mixed and matched ingredients, which make up brand new items. At times, secret menu items can become popular enough to make it to the regular menu.

smoothie, ice, yogurt, juice, milkshake, cream, milk, sweet
Arden Sarner

If you've heard about the infamous pink drink from Starbucks, then you may already know that it began as a secret menu item. However, the drink became so popular that it has now become a regular menu item. McDonald's, Panera, Chipotle, and Taco Bell are a few of the more popular places with secret menus, but it's likely to find a secret menu at practically any restaurant, coffee shop, or fast food chain.

But They're An Inconvenience to Employees

goody, cake, candy, milk, cream, chocolate, sweet
Caitlin Wolper

When ordering from a secret menu, it's especially important to realize that this is a huge hassle for employees. 

1. The employee may not know what the secret item is or how to make it.

Not only is this an inconvenience for you, because you'll likely have a long wait, but it's incredibly difficult for the employee to make the item without having prior knowledge about it.

2. Lines will get backed up.

This puts more stress on employees because now the line is probably out the door, just because someone needed their special item, specially made.

3. The order is going to take longer to ring up and make. Again, this is an inconvenience for both the employee and yourself. Not only is this taking an incredibly long time to take your order, it's going to take even longer to make your order, I promise.

The People Behind You Will Be Frustrated

hamburger, meat, cheese, beef, french fries, lettuce, bread, sandwich
Bernard Wen

While employees are suffering through the secret menu, so are customers. Sure, you may need a special order, but here's how it impacts the people in line behind you.

1. Other customers have to wait much longer.

Perhaps the line was already long, and now it's increasingly longer. This agitates and frustrates customers who need to order and get out the door.

2. It's flat out maddening.

Sure, perhaps someone else's order shouldn't affect mine, but your Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with three hazelnut shots, an espresso shot, and a blended up cake pop is quite annoying.

3. Maybe I've overheard your order, and it's something I'd like to try.

But I decide not to put the employees through hell again, and I stick with my normal iced chai.

Please, Stop The Madness

Overall, secret menus, although they are fun and innovative, are truly just inconvenient for everyone. Please, next time you're at Starbucks, Chipotle, or McDonald's, think about the employees taking your order and the people waiting in line behind you.