When are McDonald’s drive-thru restaurants opening?

McDonald's drive-thruMcDonald’s has announced plans to reopen its UK restaurants – including the drive-thru service.

All McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland were closed down two months ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic. From today (Wednesday 13 May), the company begins a gradual return to business. 

The process begins with 15 pilot sites in the south-east of England, which will offer delivery via Uber Eats. There will be a £25 order cap (to support smaller teams and social distancing), while seating areas, car parks and drive-thrus will remain closed.

McDonald’s plans to add a further 30 outlets from Wednesday 20 May – the date drive-thru lanes will also start to reopen. 

“Moving in step with government guidelines, we plan to reopen all our drive-thrus by early June,” says the company. “We will keep the restaurant locator on our website updated as our drive-thrus reopen over the coming weeks.”

McDonald's drive-thruFrom 20 May, there will also be a £25 spending limit for drive-thru customers, with customers encouraged to use contactless payment.

However, it’s worth noting that paying via your smartphone in a drive-thru is illegal – and could land you with six penalty points and a £200 fine. Police advice is to switch off your car’s engine and engage the handbrake if you wish to pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland, said: “When your local drive-thru does reopen, it will be different. Our service will not be as quick as you might be used to. We expect there will be some queues for some of our busier sites and our restaurants will look different, with Perspex screens at our drive-thru windows and employees wearing protective equipment.”

As McDonald’s sites – usually at motorway services – are the unofficial offices of Motoring Research, we look forward to decent coffee and wi-fi again. But the point where restuaurants fully reopen is still some months away…

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