General Question

jca's avatar

Why does McDonald's only have half and half as a standard with their coffee? Do you know if they are supposed to accomodate requests for regular milk with their coffee?

Asked by jca (27864 points ) March 12th, 2012

McDonald’s offers little things of half and half with their coffee. They call it (in the area I live) “cream.” I don’t like half and half in my coffee. I like regular milk or low fat.

Usually at McDonald’s when I get coffee, I ask for a little milk on the side, and add it myself. Usually they accomodate my request.

Today, I went to McDonalds, and the clerk told me they don’t have regular milk. He gave me half and half. I wasn’t sure if he was just being difficult and I had no way to prove it, but it seems hard to believe they have nothing except “cream.” I had low fat milk from my child’s Happy Meal, so I used that, but I was annoyed that they couldn’t accomodate my request for something other than half and half, and also confused, as other McDonald’s do have other milk available. Also, if I didn’t have my child’s Happy Meal milk, I would have been SOL (shit out of luck).

Why does McDonald’s only have half and half as a standard for their coffee? Do you know if they are all supposed to accomodate requests for regular milk with their coffee?

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44 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Where do you think you are dining? The Ritz? McDonald’s has no requirement to supply milk. They probably only have milk in small cartons. You could purchase one with your coffee.

creative1's avatar

All you have to do is just ask and they accommodate with milk and they can give you a small courtesy cup of milk for the coffee. At least that is the way it is in my area

john65pennington's avatar

Your problem, I think, has a two-fold answer.

1. The worker there was either too busy or did not care to give you regular milk. They do have it for children.

2. Half and half is made by the millions and is easier to hand you, rather than stoop for milk.

I agree that McDonald’s is not The Ritz, but maybe this is why so may workers are fired each month. Lack of good customer service.

jca's avatar

@marinelife: “requirement to supply milk?” No.

Incentive to please a customer with a simple request? They should.

It’s not a “Ritz” level requirement.

Facade's avatar

I think you’re expecting too much of McDonald’s. Why not get your coffee somewhere else, or make it at home if you don’t like the options at McDonald’s?

JLeslie's avatar

Probably depends on the McDonalds. I travel quite a bit, and when we stay in hotels that have a free breakfast, about half of them don’t have skim milk. It depends on the clientelle, and how often it is requested probably. I assume same with McDonalds. If you are in south FL I bet they have all the choices, if you are in the midwest, maybe not. If the Happy Meal milk is whole milk? I would think they open one up for the day for milk in coffee requests, but they probably are not required to.

The person you asked could be an idiot, or just ignorant that they do it.

seekingwolf's avatar

It may be offered already. When I get iced coffee made at McDs, they ask if I would like it made with whole or non-fat milk. So I KNOW they have it for iced coffee, so they probably do for hot coffee.

If that’s a no-go, I would just buy a small cup of milk separately. My mother does this. She pours out some of the hot coffee and puts in the milk from the carton she bought with it.

JLeslie's avatar

Why didn’t you push a little bit, and ask someone else if it was available? If they offer whole milk for iced coffee, then obviously they must have it handy.

saint's avatar

”...supposed to” as in required by law?

the_overthinker's avatar

I order my coffee from McDonald’s. I’m sure they do have regular milk.. as that’s what I order opposed to cream. It specifically says “milk” when I order (on the receipt) and I have ordered my coffee with cream before as well.

jca's avatar

I decided I am going to write to McDonald’s and complain, and see what they say.

JLeslie's avatar

Let us know what they say.

deni's avatar

It’s easy. They don’t give a shit. It doesn’t matter to them. Plus, they don’t have to accomodate anyones requests if they really don’t want to. If you don’t like it you will stop going there and it won’t matter to them cause they’re McDonalds.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni I think McDonald’s cares. Especially if it is owned by a franchisee, he probably cares.

deni's avatar

@JLeslie Not saying I go to a lot of McDonalds but I’ve really only been to a few that didn’t seem like they were run by total idiots. Literally sometimes you can’t tell if the employees are challenged or not. Do you really think that a company like them, a complaint about such a minor thing, would even get past the manager of the store? Manager tells franchisee maybe, and then what, they change the things they order? I think it would take thousands of people complaining about an issue for them to even think about changing it. Even the way the restaurant I work in operates, it’s locally owned by two dudes….there just isn’t a lot of wiggle room for such minor things like that. And it’s just coffee.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni I think it just depends. The franchise owner I know, well I knew him, would care. He owned some McD’s in PA. I think in a place like Boca Raton, FL they would care. But, to your point they would get a lot of people requesting whole or lower fat milk. I agree some McD’s are run by and employ a lot of not very bright, don’t give a shit people. But, some parts of the country that is not true. Customer service is lacking a lot in America lately. It pisses me off. It starts at the top, if the management doesn’t care the staff is less likely to, especially in places that employ young people.

But, this really could be a case of the particular cashier just being an idiot. I remember once my husband and I went to a bagel pace, and I asked if they have margarine instead of butter, and the girl had no idea what margarine is. How can that be? It’s possible the McD’s cashier just thought they do not have milk in the little containers, just half and half, and didn’t really understand the question.

Buttonstc's avatar

Why didn’t you just request to speak to the manager?

That’s what I always do regardless of which place I’m dealing with. They’re the ones on the front lines, so to speak.

If I don’t get a satisfactory response from the manager, (and that’s fairly rare) then I contact corporate.

Especially at McDonalds. For all you know, the person with whom you dealt only started that afternoon. Let’s face it, they aren’t hiring Rhodes Scholars to work there, so my expectations of them are pretty low to begin with.

But someone had to demonstrate some amount of competence (or been there long enough) to be promoted to mgr. level. THOSE are the ones I deal with if I realize I’ve got a dumbass on my hands.

But to put things in perspective, just be glad that corporate had the good sense several years ago to spring for the bucks to provide an above average grade of coffee to begin with. Plus, there creamers are the real item and not that horrible chemically produced artificial crap that other places use.

When traveling recently, I stopped off for gas in a small town and decided to eat at a charming little real bistro type restaurant with great homemade food. Imagine my shock when the ONLY thing available for my coffee was that artificial crap creamer containers. I was so shocked. Totally ruined everything.

I told them flat out that i’d never eat there again. If even a fast food place like McDonalds could afford to use real half and half, then there was no excuse for them to cheap out with that crap.

jca's avatar

I sent a message through their corporate website, and they, in turn, forward it to the appropriate people. I will tell you all what they say. It will probably take a few days.

@Buttonstc: The cashier did confer with another woman, who agreed, there is no other milk (regular or lowfat) they could give me. I got a refund for something he charged me double for and she did it, so I am guessing she is someone high up at the store. That’s why I like informing people outside and above the store level, if there is a problem, because it gets the attention of a few people. I always feel that by keeping it “in house” then they can cover up any issues they may have. You are right, it’s good they have a good quality coffee now. It just does not make sense that they are so stubborn with the milk issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I think it’s great you sent a note. I sent an email to Delta the other day about a question I had with the boarding process, after I and some other passengers had a disagreement at the gate with one of their employees, and they specifically responded to my question, and supposedly gave me some frequent flyer miles. I haven’t checked my account. Turned out the employee was correct, but Delta’s communication about the policy has been poor in my opinion, so many of us misunderstood.

Chongalicious's avatar

We would have to A) sell you a milk jug for 99 cents plus tax,
or B) if the location has a McCafe machine, we could “prime milk” into your cup.

There’s the only two ways it is supplied at the McDonald’s I’m epmloyed by in Virginia. And to be honest, most employees wouldn’t think of option #2 since we rarely use that function of the machine. So my advice is to purchase the jug, or just bring some milk with you… sorry but at my location we literally can’t give you any other optioins, we just don’t have the supplies.

Side note: It’s much appreciated when people refrain from calling employees idiots just because we couldn’t give them exactly what they asked for. That remark was not aimed at anyone in particular but I did notice people hinting in this thread that the employee was probably stupid for not getting the milk. Be considerate of others…

jca's avatar

@Chongalicious: I would not be bringing my own milk to any place that serves coffee. That’s just making zero sense. Nor would I be willing to pay for milk when coffee should come with milk.

I went back to the same McD’s tonight, and the same employee gave me a half a cup of milk on the side. It was 1%, which was fine. Maybe the complaint got through to them already, I’m not sure, but it was weird that it was the same worker and no hard time today.

Chongalicious's avatar

@jca It all depends on the person and time of day to sum it up. Rush hour? Good luck with that! And obviously you wouldn’t actually bring milk with you. Sorry I didn’t make it clear I was joking on that part. Not many locations carry other options to creamer in smaller packages than Happy Meal milk…Anywho, another big factor would be the manager on duty. Some are stingy (like the ones I work for) and would not allow us (the employees) to fulfill special requests such as a half cup of milk for free when we could have sold it for profit. It’s preference, not policy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Chongalicious You are correct, I apologize for using words like idiots, but I bet you have worked with some people who are not too swift, we all have. I personally was not saying all McD’s employees are idiots, just so you know, just that the one @jca was dealing with might be one.

I find it completely illogical that McDonalds would not open a milk carton and keep it in the fridge for those who want a little milk in their coffee. They sell coffee! Even spend a lot of advertising marketing their coffee. Only one option of half and half does not sound like a good idea to me. All those 65+ people in south FL coming in for their senior citizen priced coffee who are also on heart medicine probably want lowfat milk in their coffee.

JLeslie's avatar

@Chongalicious Why get offended if we are saying some McDonald’s seem to have a stupid policy.

jca's avatar

@Chongalicious: If they told me “you have to buy milk for your coffee” then I DEFINITELY would have spoken to the manager, and if I didn’t get any satisfaction, then there would be a call to headquarters. That’s nuts. “We only have cream, you can buy some milk for your coffee?” Hells to the no!

Chongalicious's avatar

@JLeslie The seniors who come through mine just drink it black or with little to no cream :o I really on’t know how they do it! The coffee is so bitter to me.

Back to the question: You don’t need to apologize, I was not offended because I know I’m not one of the idiot employees referenced. I just wanted to educate a little bit because there seems to be a huge misunderstanding between minimum wage employees and the customers they serve on a regular basis, that’s all. As far as the stupid policy goes, I’m not saying I agree with it, just clarifying that there is a myriad of reasons the employee will/will not give someone that milk. I hope this helps.

And of course I only work there on Saturdays and Sundays now. Monday through Friday I work for the Department of Health and still find myself surrounded by stupid policy. Just do as I’m told, right? :)

Chongalicious's avatar

@jca See now, someone who is decent at their job wouldn’t word it that way. I would say “Unfortunately we don’t have little cups of regular milk but you can get the milk jug for 99 cents” If you had a problem with purchasing it, yes, please do ask for a manager. Not because I don’t want to deal with you, but because I’m not the one being paid to make any decisions on who gets free milk. I don’t think it’s a big deal but a higher-up might see it differently. Get what I’m saying?

Chongalicious's avatar

Then again I know what I’m doing with the McCafe machine so I’d just prime some milk in there for you. problem solved….........

jca's avatar

Tonight the guy poured it from a carton.

I would never pay extra for milk that goes into coffee. That would make no sense.

Chongalicious's avatar

Look. Obviously that Mcd’s is different from mine. I can’t go inside the guy’s head and tell you exactly why he poured the milk one day and not the other. Sheesh…

JLeslie's avatar

@Chongalicious And, I appreciate your expert knowledge on the Q regarding the issue.

Chongalicious's avatar

@JLeslie Haha it’s not very hard to become a McDonald’s expert :P

jca's avatar

@Chongalicious: There must be a company-wide policy that would supercede each worker’s needing to make a decision about it based on their personal opinion. The same way there is, I’m sure, a policy about how many is the maximum number of sauces to go with McNuggets, etc. Otherwise, if it were up to the individual, and they felt like customers should have to pay extra for ketchup to go with their burgers (which is as logical, let’s face it, as having to pay extra for milk to go with your coffee), McD’s would be out of business.

We may not all like McD’s practices regarding factory farming, etc., but it does not grow to be the biggest restaurant chain in the world by not taking the needs of it’s customers into consideration.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca There may not be a company wide policy, it will be interesting to see what answer you get back from McD’s. It might be up to the owner, or at the Manager’s discretion for business according to their market.

FYI when I was in England years ago they charged for ketchup. Not sure if they still do.

jca's avatar

I got a response that said they are forwarding my email to the franchise owner (that’s why I like contacting Corporate – it trickles down and has more chances of becoming effective). I will let you all know if I get a response beyond this one.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I guess either it is their policy to offer milk, or they leave it to the discretion of the particular location.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I have a hard time believing that they do not offer milk of any other type other than half and half (“cream”), unless the customer pays for it separately. That’s why I am pushing the issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Maybe you should write back and ask that one question specifically. Ask what their policy is? Rather than pointing out a particular restaurant. When you get your answer, you can print it off and address it with the particular McD’s if they give you a hard time.

Chongalicious's avatar

Even the sauce policy isn’t company wide. They leave that to the franchise owner, or highest in charge. My location is a franchise, that should tell you why the managers are so stingy haha because it’s actually one man’s money being affected by the profit of that location rather than the company’s wallet, non franchise locations tend to be much more genrous.

jca's avatar

@Chongalicious: I have seen McD’s in bad neighborhoods with signs on the windows at the drive thru that states “Maximum two sauces per six piece nuggets.” However, the milk issue cannot be that milk is not available unless it’s purchased.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I think it easily could be that milk is not available without purchase. Not as a company policy, but could be a store policy. It is stupid to me, but possible. The milk is not a condiment like ketchup. I know it is in your mind, but it is not packaged like that. If they open a carton for you to use, they need to account for that carton not being sold somewhow probably,

Chongalicious's avatar

Exactly, @JLeslie hit it right on the head. The fact that in my “bad neighborhood” location doesn’t order milk in smaller packaging than a Happy Meal jug that they sell for 99 cents is the main reason we don’t have regular milk to give away unless we know how to use the McCafe machine.

Side note: 1 sauce per 4 piece. 2 sauces per 6 piece. 3 sauces per 10 piece. 6 sauces per 20 piece. After that we are required by store policy to charge 10 cents per pack, just a little FYI

creative1's avatar

Why don’t you contact McDonalds Corporate offices to find out what is spose to be served with the coffee.

Judi's avatar

I asked 2 local businesses why they didn’t offer stevia and they both started offering it. It has become more popular than Splenda. Some franchise owners would care without 1000 requests.
I have sent Starbucks several requests for stevia and I think they might require 1000+ requests to change.

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