Fact Check

Did McDonald's Announce 'Huge Changes' to Their Restaurants Due to COVID?

If customers truly didn't see this coming, it's only because they're not paying attention to anything.

Published Nov 24, 2020

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McDonald's announced in Nov. 2020 they were making 'huge changes' to their restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Nov. 21, 2020, the SheFinds website, which is home to clickbait stories with misleading headlines about fast food restaurants, struck again with an article titled "McDonald’s Just Announced This HUGE Change To Its Restaurants For COVID -- Customers Did Not See This Coming!":

What "huge" alteration was the golden arches chain planning to make to its restaurants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that patrons failed to anticipate? Was the chain about to install individual, Plexiglass-enclosed booths in its dining rooms? Was the chain going to require all walk-in customers to wear hazmat suits?

In fact, according to the SheFinds article, the "huge change to its restaurants" that McDonald's announced in mid-November 2020 was ... nothing at all.

First off, what the SheFinds article referenced was not an "announcement," but rather a McDonald's internal memo that was discussed in another publication's story. Second, that memo didn't outline any changes to McDonald's restaurants themselves, but merely the mundane and predictable information that the fast food giant would be maintaining social distancing procedures and implementing a plan to ensure that their outlets were "complying with safety measures":

In an internal memo viewed by Business Insider, McDonald's said that the company is responding to the recent surge in COVID cases in the US with new "Safety Reaffirmation Visits," to ensure restaurants are complying with safety measures.

These Safety Reaffirmation Visits will involve McDonald's inspecting one restaurant per every franchise organization, as franchisees own and operate roughly 95% of all McDonald's locations in the US. Each franchisee will be responsible for visiting all the other restaurants that they own and operate.

The internal memo also said that the company and franchisees will be doubling down on contactless payment and social distancing.

Contrary to their clickbait headline, SheFinds described no COVID-related changes to McDonald's restaurants themselves, much less a "huge" one that "customers did not see coming."

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994 as a creative outgrowth of his wide-ranging interests in a variety of subjects (particularly folklo ... read more