McDonald's to workers: Don't suggest the salad

"Want a side salad with that Big Mac?" Don't expect to hear this at McDonald's anytime soon.

McDonald's, fresh off a menu revamp, is specifically advising workers against promoting the side salad as an option with its extra-value meals, at least in some locations. (The meal comes with either an order of medium fries or salad.)

"Do not suggest side salad as an option, customer should request it when they order," read an internal memo to workers at one East Hanover, New Jersey location that CNBC visited on Thursday.

In an email, McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb told CNBC that while no particular side is specifically suggested, customers are made aware of both choices based on the menu board and through their own questions and make choices based on that.

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"The chart is simply a quick reference guide that is part of a broader restaurant training tool to assist crew in efficiently taking customers' orders. Customers are made aware of the choice of side via the menu boards so the intent of the signage is to remind crew it's not necessary to recite it as an option so they can focus on accurately and efficiently ringing up the order," she wrote.

While McDonald's may not be aggressively featuring the salad option in its restaurants, the chain has gone to extensive lengths to promote its healthier fare elsewhere, such as its recent addition of Cuties clementines to its kids' meal side choices.

During its latest investor day, McDonald's singled out the West Coast as a place where salads sell well. Historically though, salads have not been a huge sales driver for the chain, unlike its popular french fries.

Outgoing CEO Don Thompson told investors in mid-2013 that salads have ranged from about 2 to 3 percent of sales since the chain introduced them.