McDonald's window with sign and tree with yellow leaves in Autumn

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Is McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving?

Here’s why, for 93 percent of all McDonald’s stores, it’s not really up to McDonald’s.


Phil West


For those wondering whether McDonald’s is open on Thanksgiving, and the question’s more relevant than you might think, the answer is “depends, but probably.”

For many fast food fans, McDonald’s has long been the gold standard for convenience and availability. It’s likely that no matter where you are, there’s a McDonald’s within a short drive of your location and it’s open.

In fact, more and more McDonald’s are moving to a 24-hour schedule, although an article in Eat This, Not That! from 2019 reported that there might be short gaps in the 24-hour cycle when customers can’t order, and part of those 24 hours might be closed to in-store diners but open to drive-thru customers.

But how do you know if McDonald’s is open on Thanksgiving—or if McDonald’s is open on Christmas, or any other holidays? It’s honestly, ultimately up to the people who run each individual restaurant.

Who decides whether McDonald’s is open or closed on Thanksgiving?

McDonald’s mostly operates under a franchising system. According to McDonald’s website, there are more than 38,000 locations in more than 100 different nations, and “approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.”

The chain restaurant includes info on its site about how to become a franchise operator, which typically involves paying money and following the McDonald’s playbook for success, taught through an extensive training program spanning 12 to 18 months.

When is McDonald’s open for breakfast on Thanksgiving?

If you’re looking for a McDonald’s on Thanksgiving, you’re probably not looking to swap out turkey for a Big Mac. You’re probably looking for a McGriddle, a Sausage McMuffin, or some other breakfast option to tide you over without tying up the kitchen. (If Thanksgiving’s happening at your house, you might have preparations underway before the subject of breakfast even comes up.)

According to the McDonald’s site, breakfast is served from 5 a.m. on in 24-hour restaurants, and that tends to be standard in those that have more conventional hours.

According to a Parade article, breakfast typically runs through 11 a.m., with an exception on Friday that takes it to 11:30 a.m.

But is McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving? How can I check?

You might see signage in your local McDonald’s in the days leading up to major holidays pointing to store hours, but your best bet to make sure is to use the McDonald’s online store locator before you venture out.

That tool gives you the location of all the stores near you, and a clear, bold type indicator of whether that store is open right now. It’ll also give you the run down of lobby hours and drive-thru hours for that location throughout the week, as well as nearby locations in case there’s something not working out with the one you chose.

If you’re braving the drive-thru, be prepared for anything. Past Daily Dot coverage on the McDonald’s drive-thru includes a Tesla that died in the drive-thru line, a TikToker who attempted to create a viral video by dancing, a worker who ignores customers’ hellos, and a worker getting revenge on a rude customer by splitting out combo orders into their individual menu items.

The Daily Dot