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8 Strict Rules McDonald's Employees Have to Follow

Here's what it's like to work for the #1 fast-food chain.

Like most major companies, McDonald's likely wouldn't be the global megachain it is if it didn't protect its trade secrets and impose certain rules of conduct on its employees.

While following strict guidelines regarding appearance, personal hygiene, and interaction with customers pretty much comes with the territory when you work in the food service industry, McDonald's employees have to abide by several other chain-specific guidelines. Plus, since McDonald's stores are mainly franchised, the rules can vary from store to store.

Here are some of the stricter rules McDonald's workers have to follow.

RELATED: McDonald's Report Reveals the #1 Most-Ordered Item in 2022—& It Isn't a Burger

There's a long probation period


A new McDonald's employee is technically on probation for about 120 days, though time periods vary from restaurant to restaurant. During that time the company is evaluating everything from how hard you work and how you meet the dress code, to your overall interaction with customers. Of course, an employee gets no raises during the probationary period.

Refuse drive-thru service to these customers

mcdonalds drive thru

The drive-thru is one of the most important aspects of McDonald's business, but the chain's workers will not be able to serve you if you show up on foot or on a bicycle. No word on whether a camel will be accepted as one was at a drive-thru in Las Vegas

Play it cool around celebs

kylie jenner

Celebrity love of classic McDonald's grub is well documented—from Kylie Jenner to Adele, everyone has a go-to Mickey D's order. But if a famous face shows up at a McDonald's restaurant, the staff is instructed to stay calm and to definitely refrain from asking for a selfie.

Say no to tips

Ronald mcdonald

In case you missed it, McDonald's has a no-tipping policy. If you do end up leaving behind some change thinking it'll go to the person that served you, you're wrong. All the money left behind by customers goes into the charity box (like the Ronald McDonald House donation box), and according to some employees, keeping those tips for themselves is considered theft.

Act as if your phone doesn't exist

mcdonalds workers

Once McDonald's employees clock in, they better forget they own a phone (or any other electronic device for that matter.) According to an employee handbook, cell phones must not be "used, seen, or heard in any way." This includes taking pictures or videos while on McDonald's premises, too.

You can't prepare your own food

mcdonalds tray

While employees have the right to heavily discounted or free food (depending on location) during their shift, they're not supposed to be the ones preparing their own meals. One employee handbook states that once a staffer clocks out for their meal break, a manager is to take their order and assemble it for them, while the staffer waits in the customer area.

No loitering at the workplace

Colin Temple/Shutterstock

According to the same employee handbook, employees shouldn't be arriving to the restaurant more than 15 minutes before their shift starts or hanging around more than 15 minutes after the shift ends. They are also not supposed to loiter near the manager's desk area, safe, or cabinets.

Be cautious about your social media conduct

mcdonalds mccafe outside

McDonald's staffers are advised to exercise caution when talking about McDonald's on social media. For example, they're asked to clarify that their views and opinions are their own and do not represent McDonald's. They're also prohibited from disclosing the company's trade secrets, including "methods or processes, sales figures, guest counts, business plans, how food or marketing promotions are doing, and any other similar internal business-related confidential information or communications."

A previous version of this article was originally published in January 2022. It has been updated with new information.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura