McDonald’s to reopen UK restaurants - updated 14 May

Nicola Knight
Senior Analyst - Food-To -Go

Date : 14 May 2020

McDonald’s have announced plans to gradually reopen their UK restaurants:

  • 13 May - 15 sites in the South East of England opened for delivery only - drive-thrus and car parks remain closed
  • 20 May - 30 more restaurants open including drive-thrus
  • Early June - all drive-thrus open

The food-to-go operator closed its UK stores on 23 March in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Behind closed doors” trials successful

At the beginning of May company ran controlled tests to explore the safest way to reopen restaurants, incorporating feedback from employees. Having proven successful, McDonald’s has outlined the ways in which it will slowly, but safely, begin to resume serving customers. 

New safety measures in place

Building on existing high standards of cleanliness, McDonald’s will increase how often procedures are completed and provide all employees with updated training on restaurant cleanliness and sanitisation. All restaurants will be deep cleaned before reopening. 

Restaurants will introduce the following measures to help keep staff safe:

  • Perspex screens and floor markings will be introduced in specific areas
  • Additional protective equipment including non-medical grade face masks will be issued to staff
  • All employees will be asked to confirm they are fit and able to work; contactless thermometers will be used to take temperatures on arrival at work for every shift
  • Fewer staff in the kitchen and service areas
  • Social distancing measures will be introduced for all delivery and service partners

Limited menu and hours

Restaurants will be staffed by reduced teams and as a result will offer a limited menu. This will support social distancing in kitchens, whilst still providing many of McDonald’s iconic menu items. Full details of the limited menu can be found here.

To reduce the complexities in kitchens at menu changeover, restaurants will temporarily not be serving breakfast and will open from 11am to 10pm. The company hopes to reintroduce its breakfast menu as soon as possible, once the safe changeover of menus has been explored.

Orders will also be limited to a value of £25 or less to ensure teams can cope with demand whilst following new safety measures.


McDonald’s is working with its delivery partners Uber Eats and Just Eat to ensure the wellbeing of delivery drivers as well as employees. Perspex screens, sanitising stations and new social distancing procedures will be introduced to support the contact free collections and drop offs in place before stores closed in March. 

Serving the community

To date McDonald’s has distributed over 400 tonnes of food to charities and food banks around the UK and Ireland and will continue to support communities as it reopens.

Seeking rent cuts

In parallel to its reopening programme, McDonald's is in talks with UK landlords about cutting rent payments, prior to the next round of quarterly rent bills which are due across the industry on 24 June. 

McDonald's told BBC News it has paid in full for the current quarter, however “given the unprecedented situation” it was in talks with landlords about how they could “offer support” on rent. 

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We have opened dialogue with some of our landlords to discuss how they might offer support on rent and service charges for a short period due to our restaurants not trading.” 

For more on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Find out what food-to-go operators and suppliers can learn from China - read our report here
  • Latest news and reports click here
  • How IGD is working with the food and consumer goods industry during coronavirus - visit our dedicated webpage