Like a bolt of lightning, the urge hits; you need a Big Mac and fries, like now. You even start singing to yourself, “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun”, which means there’s no fighting it. Mouth watering, tummy rumbling, you grab your keys, ignore the fact you are in your pajamas, and speed off to the nearest McDonalds. But wait, are they even open this late? As you drive past two other fast-food restaurants that are clearly closed, you start to worry. What exactly are McDonalds hours of operation? Surely they are open 24 hours in this day and age, right?
Or maybe you just got off the graveyard shift, it’s 5 am, and a cup of coffee with a Sausage McMuffin and hash browns is what’s needed to make the drive home. You know the local McDonalds isn’t open 24-hours, but what time do they open? Should you take the risk of ignoring the always open convenience store and the serve-it-yourself coffee in favor of the genuine article at a McDonald’s location that might not be open?
The good news is more than half of all McDonalds are in fact open 24 hours in one form or another. Other locations maintain these hours only on the weekends while others close around midnight. A lot depends on the region you are in. This also applies to the opening hours when that urge for an Egg McMuffin hits, as may McDonalds that aren’t open 24-hours do open by 4am.
What Are McDonalds Hours of Operation?
There are no set hours every McDonalds is open for. A McDonalds that is open 24 hours is most likely going to have a sign indicating just that. As with any business, a lit ‘open’ sign is also a common sense indicator they can accommodate you. Of course that’s the easy answer. While the drive-thru might indeed be open 24 hours, the dining room might keep different hours entirely. The same goes even for McDonalds locations that are not open 24 hours, with dining room and drive-thru often keeping different operating hours.
For example, here are some McDonalds hours from just one restaurant in the state of Arizona:
Restaurant & Lobby Hours
- Mon – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Tue – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Wed – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Thu – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Fri – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Sat – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Sun – 5:00AM to 10:00PM
- Mon – 4:00AM to 11:30PM
- Tue – 4:00AM to 11:30PM
- Wed – 4:00AM to 11:30PM
- Thu – 4:00AM to 11:30PM
- Fri – 4:00AM to 12:30AM
- Sat – 4:00AM to 12:30AM
- Sun – 4:00AM to 11:30PM
Two miles away there is another McDonald’s that opens later in the morning but closes later at night. It all really depends on the location. Common sense tells you that the McDonalds hours for a location right off an interstate is probably going to be of the 24 hour variety, while one located deep in a small town off the beaten path is probably going to have select hours of operation. Once you find that open location, feel free to make your order of a Big Mac, Filet O’ Fish, Quarter Pounder, french fries, icy Coke, thick shake, sundae, and apple pies, just to make the late night employee’s eyes bug out.
How Are the Operating Hours Selected?
McDonalds hours of operation are decided according to the needs of the region. If many locations exist within a small area, it makes no financial sense for all of them to be open for 24 hours. Even in a busy city this might be the case, where only 6 of the local 10 might maintain those long hours. The reason more than half are open during those hours is because people’s schedules have shifted to more non-traditional patterns, and posting longer hours meets those needs. In some instances it makes more sense to extend the McDonalds hours of one location rather than build another.
Some franchise owners have seen their McDonald’s location thrive while maintaining extended hours. One such story is of a franchisee in North Carolina who saw his location earn $90,000 more per year by being open 24 hours. Others use the late hours to accomplish tasks that would be more difficult to do during a busy day schedule, such as performing maintenance on equipment, cleaning machines, or doing bookkeeping.
It all depends on consumer demand and how many other McDonalds are operating in the area. Don’t let a closed McDonalds put a grimace on your face; another in the area probably keeps different hours to suit the community’s needs.
Do All McDonalds Locations Have the Same Operating Hours?
McDonald’s hours are location-specific. The vast majority are all going to be open between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week, but any time is a good time for the great taste of McDonald’s, right? Only if they are open! Beyond that, your best bet is to go to the McDonalds website and search for locations near you. McDonalds hours will be listed for every location: you simply need to select one. There’s even a McDonalds app for your mobile device that can give you the same information.
There is one thing to note regarding 24-hour locations, and that is that they might not be truly open for 24 hours. Some customers have posted to Redditt that they tried placing an order at a drive-thru at 4 a.m., only to be told
no food could be served until 4:30 in the morning. There could be any number of reasons for this, whether it’s a machine getting cleaned or a lack of on-duty employees, but those are the chances you take going anywhere during abnormal business hours.
As mentioned earlier, a 24-hour McDonalds might also only be for the drive-thru, meaning that you can get anything you want to eat; but only as long as you go through in your car. In some places this is for the safety of the workers; in others it might simply be an issue of not having enough staff to man and clean the main dining area properly.
There is also the chance that not all menu items will be available at all times of the night. Some McDonalds stop serving their daytime menu after midnight and only breakfast foods will be available. Some will serve only daytime menu foods until 4:30am or 5:00am and then switch to their normal breakfast menu. If you’re hunting for something specific, your best bet is always to check online for hours and menus near you.
If you live in a well-populated area, odds are you won’t have to drive far to find another location that will meet your needs. You might also think about contacting the manager of a location to express your desire in seeing extended hours. This obviously doesn’t solve the problem of satisfying a craving in that late night moment, but if enough patrons have expressed similar requests, the location might feel it’s worth their while to hire extra staff and extend their hours.
In this modern era where instant gratification is practically a given, questioning whether a McDonalds is open at all hours of the day seems a bit silly. Society no longer runs on a standard 9 to 5 day with everyone asleep by 11 p.m. each night. Fast-food restaurants are expected to be open 7 days a week, satisfying our cravings whenever they strike. It has gotten to the point where many businesses are even expected to be open on holidays.
Although McDonalds hours vary from location to location, they are indeed open all year round. More than half of all locations have some form of a 24-hour operating schedule, whether it be drive-thru only or the whole restaurant. Many locations will be open 24 hours in some form or another on Friday and Saturday nights, or at the very least later than the rest of the week. Look for a lit sign on the main marquee or in the restaurant window to see if a particular location is open 24 hours.
If you are truly concerned about whether or not a local McDonald’s hours are going to meet your fry guy needs, look up their website and check. If you have no means to do that, it is always safe to assume that between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. your local McDonald’s is open. Beyond that, you’ve a better than 50/50 chance that your nearby McDonald’s is open 24 hours. With as many McDonald’s locations that exist across the globe, you shouldn’t have to travel far to find one that is open no matter the time of day. And with hours like that, who wouldn’t be lovin’ it?