The Complete Expert Guide to McDonald‘s Shift Hours and Work Schedules - 33rd Square (2024)

Starting a new job at McDonald‘s can feel exciting but also raises many questions around scheduling. As a crew member, how long are the shifts? When do you work? How much can you get paid? This definitive 2500+ word guide will break down everything a new McDonald‘s employee needs to know about shift hours, schedules, duties and pay.

As a home improvement expert who has managed large renovations, I understand the importance of planning and preparation. Let‘s explore McDonald‘s work schedules in detail so you can start your new role informed and confident.

Typical Shift Durations at McDonald‘s

The length of a standard McDonald‘s shift for a crew member ranges from 4 to 8 hours. However, some key factors impact how long you‘ll be scheduled each day:

Your Age

If you‘re under 16, shifts by law cannot exceed 8 hours. 16 and 17 year olds may work up to 10 hours per shift. Once you turn 18, there are no restrictions on maximum shift length imposed by McDonald‘s.

Staffing Needs

During peak seasons like holidays, understaffing or high demand, you may be asked to work longer 10 or 12 hour shifts. This helps ensure the restaurant runs smoothly.

Your Restaurant‘s Hours

If your location is open 24 hours, overnight shifts may be 10 hours or longer. At a McDonald‘s that closes by 10pm, shifts run shorter.

Your Role

As a new crew member, you‘ll likely be scheduled for 4 to 6 hour shifts. Shift managers often work 8+ hours.

With all that said, here is an overview of the typical shift lengths:

  • Morning shift: 5 – 8 hours. For minors under 18, no more than 10 hours.
  • Afternoon shift: 4 – 6 hours
  • Evening shift: 4 – 6 hours.
  • Overnight shift: 8 – 12 hours, sometimes longer as needed.

Now let‘s look closer at McDonald‘s main shift times and schedules.

McDonald‘s Primary Daily Shifts

Most McDonald‘s locations are open from around 5 or 6 AM until midnight, if not 24/7. To cover all operating hours, restaurants schedule team members in three major daily shifts:

Morning Shift

The morning shift starts in the early morning and runs through late morning to early afternoon. Exact hours vary by location, but a sample morning schedule would be:

  • Shift start time: 5:30 AM
  • Shift end time: 11:00 AM
  • Total shift duration: 5.5 hours

Duties typically include:

  • Cooking breakfast foods like egg muffins and McMuffins
  • Preparing coffee, juices, and other beverages
  • Restocking supplies
  • Taking drive-thru orders

Afternoon Shift

The afternoon shift covers the midday through late afternoon hours. A typical afternoon schedule may be:

  • Shift start time: 1:00 PM
  • Shift end time: 5:00 PM
  • Total shift duration: 4 hours

Common responsibilities include:

  • Running drive-thru and front counters during lunch rush
  • Cooking burgers, fries, and other hot foods
  • Cleaning lobby, bathrooms, and play areas
  • Assisting managers with inventory or stocking

Evening Shift

The evening shift runs from late afternoon through closing time. Sample hours could be:

  • Shift start time: 4:00 PM
  • Shift end time: 11:00 PM
  • Total shift duration: 7 hours

Evening shift duties tend to involve:

  • Managing front counter and drive-thru during dinner rush
  • Cleaning grills, fryers, and other cooking equipment
  • Restocking paper supplies and packaged foods
  • General closing duties like sweeping, mopping, and taking out trash

Rotating Stations and Responsibilities

Within any given shift, you‘ll be scheduled to work different stations and duties. McDonald‘s cross-trains staff so everyone can fill any role as needed. You could be assigned tasks like:

  • Working the drive-thru window
  • Working the front counter and cash register
  • Cooking foods like fries, burgers or McNuggets
  • Drinks station – making sodas, coffees, shakes etc.
  • Cleaning dining areas, restrooms, and exterior grounds
  • Restocking condiments, cups, and other supplies

Expect to rotate frequently. This keeps things dynamic and ensures shifts stay staffed evenly despite call-outs. It also allows you to gain experience in every area over time.

Hour Allotments for Part-Time vs Full-Time

Depending on your availability, you may be hired for part-time or full-time hours:

Part-Time Hours

Part-time crew members generally work between 10 and 25 hours per week. This includes students, those with other jobs, parents, or others needing a flexible schedule.

You may request set days and times if needed to accommodate school or childcare. Otherwise, your manager will assign varying shifts based on restaurant needs.

Full-Time Hours

For full-time positions, you‘ll generally be scheduled for 35 to 40 hours per week. This provides maximum stability and income.

As a full-timer without availability limitations, expect to work a mixture of morning, midday, and closing shifts. You‘ll also be first in line for extra hours when needed.


During exceptionally busy periods, you may be asked to work overtime exceeding 40 hours per week. By law, overtime hours are paid at 1.5 times your normal hourly wage. These extra hours are optional but appreciated when the restaurant is shorthanded.

Typical Weekly Work Schedules

Your manager will aim to accommodate requested days off and general availability. However, your schedule may vary weekly depending on business needs.

Here are two sample weekly schedules for part-time and full-time crew members:

Part-Time Schedule Example

DayShift TimeHours
Tuesday4:00 – 8:30 PM4.5
Thursday5:00 – 10:00 PM5
Friday4:00 – 9:00 PM5
Saturday11:00 AM – 3:00 PM4
Total18.5 hours

This schedule accommodates a student who can only work evenings Thursday through Saturday.

Full-Time Schedule Example

DayShift TimeHours
Monday7:00 AM – 4:00 PM9
Tuesday11:00 AM – 8:00 PM9
Thursday7:00 AM – 4:00 PM9
Friday11:00 AM – 8:00 PM9
Saturday7:00 AM – 4:00 PM9
Sunday11:00 AM – 8:00 PM9
Total54 hours

This provides a mix of morning, midday and evening shifts totaling 54 hours.

As you can see, full-time schedules involve more hours and weekend rotations. However, the wages earned are substantially higher.

Shift Breaks and Meal Times

During long shifts exceeding 6 hours, you‘re entitled to take one 30 minute unpaid break to eat a meal. An 8 hour shift would have an additional 15 minute paid rest break.

Your manager will assign times for taking breaks to ensure proper coverage. Meals are discounted for employees, but not fully free. Eat before clocking back in and wash hands immediately.

Pay Frequency, Amounts and First Paychecks

McDonald‘s distributes paychecks to crew members every other Friday. You may select direct deposit which is fast and secure.

Hourly wages for most positions start at your state or federal minimum wage. This is typically between $7.25 to $12 per hour based on your local regulations.

Higher pay of $13 – $15 per hour may be offered for overnight shifts given the late hours.

For a sample paycheck calculation, assume:

  • You worked 35 hours total over 2 weeks
  • Your hourly wage is $11
  • In this case:
    • 35 hours x $11 per hour = $385 in gross wages
    • Subtract about 30% for taxes = $270 net pay
    • Your biweekly take-home pay would be approximately $270

For your first paycheck, expect around $200 to $300 depending on training hours worked and your hourly rate. Pay increases based on tenure, rising up to as much as $18/hour for Crew Trainers.

Managers receive a higher salary starting at around $35k per year. Overall compensation is competitive for the fast food industry.

Sick Days, Vacation and Shift Coverage

McDonald‘s understands life happens and encourages open communication about shift changes. While paid time off is limited, you have options if needing to miss work:

  • Arrange a shift swap with another employee
  • Use allotted paid sick days if policy allows
  • Request an unpaid day off far in advance

Having backups like a family member or friend ready to cover you demonstrates professionalism. Avoid no-shows which are grounds for discipline unless due to an emergency.

Requesting Fewer Shifts or Hours

Can you reduce your number of shifts or hours per week? The short answer is yes – but some flexibility helps.

If seeking fewer hours due to school, health issues or family reasons, have an honest discussion with your manager. Highlight reasons the change benefits both you and the restaurant long-term.

Come prepared with:

  • Your specific availability and ideal hours
  • Days and times you can be flexible with
  • An option to pick up spare shifts when possible

With notice and willingness to compromise, most scheduling requests can be accommodated. But also understand the restaurant‘s staffing needs must come first.

Conclusion: Be Proactive in Managing Your Schedule

As you can see, McDonald‘s offers a variety of shifts and flexible scheduling for new employees. The key is being direct about your needs while also remaining open-minded.

Full-time crew roles involve 35+ hours weekly and wide availability. Part-time is 10-25 hours for those needing more flexibility. Both provide job experience and wages.

Shift lengths range from 4 to 8+ hours based on your age, restaurant hours, and staffing. You‘ll rotate duties learning all stations. Lunch and dinner rushes keep things fast-paced!

Questions about the schedule? Talk to your manager openly. With some give-and-take, you can ensure your McDonald‘s job fits your lifestyle and commitments.

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The Complete Expert Guide to McDonald‘s Shift Hours and Work Schedules - 33rd Square (2024)
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