Trackers on Drinks; McDonalds Restaurant Front

ATIKAN PORNCHAIPRASIT/ShutterStock @taylorswiftskarmaa/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Calm down McDonald’s nobody’s gonna steal ur cups’: Customer allegedly finds ‘GPS trackers’ on McDonald’s containers

‘I’ll bet 20$ that those trackers cost more than the cup itself.’


Braden Bjella


A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after claiming to have discovered GPS tracking devices on various pieces of their McDonald’s order.

In a clip with over 258,000 views as of Sunday, TikTok user Ellen (@taylorswiftskarmaa) shows various reusable containers from McDonald’s, each one featuring a sticker that appears to have a small circuit inside.

“why r there gps trackers,” she writes in the caption. In the text overlaying the video, she adds, “bro calm down McDonalds nobody’s gonna steal ur cups.”

@taylorswiftskarmaa why r there gps trackers..#mcdonalds#mcdonaldatracking ♬ da Bluetooth dewice is rweedy to pear but slow – My favorite is: firey & floppa

Ellen is correct that there is a circuit on each of her items. However, they are not GPS trackers but RFID (Radio frequency identity) chips.

Ellen’s video appears to have been recorded at a McDonald’s in France. Earlier this year, the country moved to ban single-use items, requiring “restaurants that can serve more than 20 customers at a time” to provide their customers with reusable tableware.

As McDonald’s fits this requirement, they are required to use reusable tableware, hence why Ellen’s video shows multiple plastic containers not found in McDonald’s locations outside of France.

The chips come into play to make sure that McDonald’s does not lose this reusable tableware while also keeping track of other data.

“The project is designed to help McDonald’s reduce waste by providing real-time visibility of its reusable tableware stock, delivering fast and efficient inventory management, optimizing replenishment and ensuring the restaurant’s stock lines are protected for long-term security and usability,” writes Marianne Wilson for Chain Store Age.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s France confirmed this in an email to the Daily Dot, writing, “We have fitted RFID chips to track the rate of re-use and assess the environmental impact. In no way does this serve to geolocate our customers. These RFID chips also enable us to count the number of plates or cups used during each service, and to assess stocks in real time using appropriate readers.”

Despite this, some commenters proposed their own theories as to why McDonald’s was keeping such a close eye on its reusable inventory.

“Because it’s in Paris and USA tourists take literally EVERYTHING as a souvenir,” wrote a user.

As reported by French outlet TF1, some McDonald’s are already having a problem with customers stealing items—not only American tourists, but locals as well.

Multiple videos on French TikTok show various items stolen from McDonald’s, and some McDonald’s employees have even made their own videos explaining why it is wrong to steal the reusable items.

On Ellen’s video, numerous users in comments admitted to stealing the dishes.

“I have been to paris and I just simply took off the stickers and took what I could,” confessed a commenter.

“My little brother stole one before they put these thing inside,” echoed a second.

The Daily Dot reached out to Ellen via TikTok comment. 

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