The Reason McDonald's Hours Vary So Much Based On Location

Have you ever pulled up to the McDonald's drive-thru at midnight craving a late-night Big Mac and order of french fries, only to find the restaurant is closed? Did you then take a drive down the street, only to find the McDonald's a few blocks down is still open? What's going on here? We did a deep dive to discover why some McDonald's locations close early, others are open until the wee hours of the morning, and some are busy 24-7.

While there are numerous answers to this question, the main reason some McDonald's locations are open late or 24-7 while others close earlier is mostly due to the fact that restaurant hours are up to the individual franchisees. Visa Franchise says 95% of McDonald's eateries in the United States are franchise owned and only 5% are owned by McDonald's corporate. The owners often make their decisions based on business levels. Stores that see little business at night close during that time to save on staff wages and electricity. Meanwhile, other McDonald's locations (mostly in cities) see business throughout the night, oftentimes due to the fact that many employees of local businesses are getting out of work at all hours and find themselves craving something to eat after long shifts.

But wait, there's more to this conundrum

In addition to franchisees determining hours based on business levels, there are other reasons why McDonald's restaurants' hours vary so much based on location. According to some reports, in a general sense, many restaurants are facing post-COVID staffing shortages. Without the staff to work the counters and kitchens, restaurants like McDonald's can't stay open extended hours.

There might also be something to be said for the fact that some McDonald's locations actually have to file with the city or town they are located in to get permission from the boards to stay open extended hours, which we bet can be an arduous process some might want to avoid. Furthermore, many McDonald's are located within an establishment, like a mall or a Walmart, and have to close when the rest of the building does.

While hours across all McDonald's restaurants certainly vary, Sportskeeda claims 80% of all McDonald's locations are open 24-7, so you're mostly likely to get your favorite cheeseburger or Chicken McNuggets if you visit one late at night. The best way to find out your local McDonald's hours is to visit the chain's website and use the restaurant locator, or, better yet, call up and ask.