Do McDonald’s Employees Get Free Food? | Myth Or Fact

With McDonald’s offering an excellent average pay of $11 hourly, there are many rewards and benefits to their employees, which are all lovely. One such thing that most people believe about McDonald’s is that the company gives employees free food. So, do McDonald’s employees get free food? Let’s find out! 

Do McDonald's employees get free food?

As per McDonald’s employees on Indeed and Glassdoor, most McDonald’s employees get one free meal per shift. Although, for most places, when the employees are off duty, they are instead given 50% off on their meals. This does vary slightly from one store to another. 

Yes, free meals are one of these crazy things that very few people know about McDonald’s. But, since most McDonald’s outlets worldwide, particularly in the United States, are franchise owned, some rules, including employee benefits, could differ from one place to another. 

In this blog, let us dig a little deeper into the whole topic of free food for McDonald’s employees to get a better understanding!

Can McDonald’s Employees Eat Food For Free? 

Can McDonalds employees eat food for free

Yes, McDonald’s employees can eat food for free at some of their outlets. However, this may differ from one franchise to another. 

While applying to get hired at McDonald’s, most people go with big dreams regarding employee benefits. This undoubtedly includes the idea of employees getting free food. 

For a better idea, let us look at what employees who have worked at McDonald’s outlets in the United States have to say. All of these answers are from the source Indeed

One former employee of McDonald’s from Ashland, Virginia, had mentioned, “You get a free meal if you work 5+ hours. You can’t take it home; you must eat it in-store because it’s considered theft. Other locations allow you to take your employee meal home or offer a discount on food items.”

In 2018, a few of the employees mentioned things like, “Yes, you get one free meal no matter how long the shift and it’s on the dollar menu. You can’t get anything over 3$ you get a cheeseburger chicken or a wrap with a small fry and a small drink” and also “Only Managers get a free meal.”

This was, however, back in 2019 and for that particular McDonald’s location. Contrary to that, another employee in 2021 mentioned that “We get one free meal during our meal break, and we can have up to two items to take home. The managers can have two meal breaks, though.“. 

Although most employees have had a positive experience with this whole rigmarole of free meals, one employee didn’t have anything good to say. They mentioned, “Absolutely not, not even on nine to ten-hour days I work without breaks. Meals reserved for those that come in early, have no break, work late, and work on their day off mostly simultaneously.” 

Hence, whether McDonald’s employees can eat food for free depends on a particular restaurant’s owner. If the owner thinks it is feasible, you can surely enjoy a delicious free meal from McDonald’s now and then!

Do McDonald’s Employees Get Free Drinks As Well? 

Do McDonalds empoyees get free drinks as well

Yes, every McDonald’s offers employees free drinks while on shift. This is based on most of the answers given by the employees on Reddit. However, there are a few clauses here and there with the same. 

Most employees have quoted that they are allowed a small free drink while on shift, whereas they are allowed to take a drink of any size home and a medium drink while on break. People have also quoted that this is for fountain drinks, not packaged ones. 

One of the employees also specifically mentioned that this rule does not apply to McCafe drinks and ice creams, and all employees would have to pay for the same. Along with all this information, some people have also mentioned hacks on how to get free drinks!

So, the pattern here remains similar throughout all the answers. Most McDonald’s offer complimentary beverages to their employees; however, the size of the beverage depends on what the franchise owner decides, and so does whether the beverages can be taken home.

What Other Employee Benefits Offered By McDonald’s Other Than Free Food? 

Does McDonalds hold your first paycheck 3

As mentioned before, McDonald’s is well known for its employee benefits since the company offers some of the best ones. Other than free food, McDonald’s offers quite a few other employee benefits, some of which include:

  • Free Lunch and snacks
  • Flexible hours
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Performance Bonus
  • Paid Time Off
  • Occupational Accident Insurance
  • Vacations

However, these are just a few of the lovely benefits McDonald’s offers to their employees.


So, at the end of this article, we can see that McDonald’s does live up to its promises to its employees. Not all McDonald’s employees get to enjoy free food, as some of the outlets don’t offer the same, based on the franchise owner’s decision. 

But most McDonald’s outlets offer their employees free food in some way or another. If not, they offer their employees lovely offers, where they get a 50% discount on their food. 

It does vary slightly from one location to another, as per the franchise. If you would like to know more such things about McDonald’s franchises, like how much a McDonald’s franchise costs and how much a McDonald’s franchise owner makes, don’t miss out on our detailed articles about the same! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does McDonald’s offer free food to their employees? 

Yes, most McDonald’s outlets in the United States do have provisions to offer free food to their employees. 

Does McDonald’s offer free drinks to their employees?

Yes, every McDonald’s outlet offers free drinks to their employees in some capacity or the other. 

Do all their locations have the same rules for food and drinks? 

No, the rules for free food and drinks may vary based on the location and the franchise owner. 

Does McDonald’s offer other benefits to their employees? 

Yes, McDonald’s offers an array of benefits to their employees. 

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