Skip to content

McDonald's Secretly Made This Frustrating In-Store Change, Customers Say

To the detriment of both customers and employees.
FACT CHECKED BY Joseph Neese

As customers start to return to restaurant dining rooms and in-person ordering, one frustrating feature of the digital menu boards at McDonald's restaurants is coming to light. As you likely know, those digital displays mounted above the counter rotate between different featured items and menu sections. According to one Twitter user, the rotation on these screens now includes something else—frequent ads.

"Wow. McDonald's now blocks out the entire menu to show an ad every minute or so. Great design. Makes it real easy to order." reads the frustrated tweet by user @Gusbuckets. While the tweet itself dates back to 2019, it recently prompted a lively discussion on Reddit, where thousands of users echoed their dismay at the chain's use of digital menu board technology.

RELATED: McDonald's Is Teaming Up With the Most Popular Pop Band in the World

For one, blocking off the menu with ads makes it more difficult to place an order, since customers have to wait longer for the content reel to finally highlight the section of the menu they desire. As some Redditors point out, this is likely to slow down service, especially during busy times.

Another frustration that fans have with the digital menu boards is the fact that they don't always display prices. While McDonald's is known for straddling the lower end of the price spectrum for fast food, the exact pricing of items can vary from location to location. Not to mention, the frequent inclusion of new limited-time offers and featured deals makes it more difficult to gauge how much you're actually spending when ordering.

So what's the deal, McDonald's? Why obscure your menu with ads of your own food? We're already enticed and ready to place an order. Redditors speculate this may be a tactic whose purpose is twofold. For one, McDonald's could be trying to cut down our decision time with the hope that we'll think with our stomachs instead of logically scrutinizing the value of the items. (And here are 7 Sneaky Ways McDonald's Gets You To Spend More.)

Others think the chain wants to turn customers onto other digitized methods of ordering, such as its mobile app or self-order kiosks.

Have you had trouble ordering from the digital menu boards? Or is another change at McDonald's bothering you? Let us know at tips@eatthis.com. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more