McDonald’s under fire for setting customer time limits

Some McDonald’s locations may be redefining the term “fast food.”

A McDonald’s location in Queens, New York is one of a growing number of locations with a strict rule for customers who eat inside the restaurant:  Eat up and get out.  You have twenty minutes.

Some franchisees say customers who linger way too long are hurting their business, and have forced them to put a time limit on how long anyone spends inside their restaurant.

Some say they’re battling loitering youngsters, and others say it’s senior citizens who linger for hours to chat with each other while nursing a cup of coffee or sharing a bag of fries.

Those lingering customers “prevent other customers from enjoying the restaurant” according to one New York franchisee interviewed by WPIX.

Employees of the Queens location have reportedly called police on those loitering seniors on more than one occasion.

Several other New York franchisees said they, too, had time limits of about a half-hour at their stores.

A similar problem was reported in Kentucky, where a franchisee posted a sign limiting customers to 30 minutes spent inside their McDonald’s location according to WFIE.

It’s a battle that is not necessarily recent or isolated to the U.S.

Residents recently complained that a McDonald’s in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada established a 30-minute time limit for customers.

One blogger questioned why McDonald’s offered premium drinks and free WiFi  after seeing a 30-minute time limit sign at a McDonald’s in Michigan.

A Colorado girl was reportedly arrested after police were sent to get groups of teenagers out of a McDonald’s that had a posted time limit.

McDonald’s reportedly targeted “seat hoggers” in 178 locations in Thailand.  Customers in the UK were reportedly fined for lingering too long in McDonald’s parking lots as they ate in their cars.

14 comments

  • Just Sayin

    For cryin out loud—its not like McDonalds has a waiting list for people who want to sit down & eat. Soon eating there will be reservation only and they’ll set a timer on your table!! Its a sad world we live in

  • laura

    FOr pity’s sake they can’t let Seniors who might be lonely and on a fixed income sit and chat with each other

    • USMC1989

      I have been in a McD’s at 5am to grab a sandwich and come back at 1 for lunch and the same group is there talking and then go back in at 7pm to grab a drink on the way home and the same group is there. So yes sometimes it is an issue. 20 mins I don’t agree with but maybe an hour and a half or two hours is reasonable

  • Brian Hand

    limiting folks on how long they can sit and eat and visit after buying there food this sounds like a joke what kind of world or should i say country do we live in i guess were lucky they dont charge you a dollor to use there restroom to …but its funny how they can take there time when ordering your food or going through the driveup next it will be you have to make a 5 dollar purchase or more to use thier seating areas ..talk about not living in a friendly family enviroment its beginning to be more like living in controled camp of some sort..

  • Charlie

    It’s time to boycott Mickey D’s and shut them down, They’ve gotten way to big for their britches, Besides, the F’n service hasn’t gotten any better and half of their employees are lucky they can even write their names or pronounce the words to the National Anthem. WALMART employees are just as bad. I even met a cashier at a casino buffet who didn’t know what the word ‘VOMIT’ meant when I told her about a guy puking at his table. And Brian is a good example of what I just said. Brian, it’s – ‘THEIR’ food (as in they own it until you or I buy it). Not there food. And it’s – WE’RE (as in WE ARE), not were. What’s dragging this country down the crapper are lazy workers, illiterates and politics. Who ever said you were supposed to make a living at a fast food chain asking if you wanted fries with your order.

  • Terry Waldron

    The way I see it if they want to be that way people should quit going to Mcdonalds, see how they like that when there business drops off.

  • Maria

    Im never eating at mcdonalds again. They dropped my fries on the counter and put them back trying to give them to me. If they do that in front of my face wonder what they do behind my back I made them return my money

  • Jill

    Won’t be stopping at McD’s any longer; there are a lot of other places from which to choose where a person won’t be made to feel unwelcomed after spending their money for food/drink.

  • Alicia Perry

    It shouldn’t matter how long someone is in a restaurant. (with the exception of those who are open part of the day) Besides I didn’t see anything posted the last time I was at a restaurant how long you should be there. Do these places not understand that maybe some of their patrons use public transportation and maybe their bus doesn’t get there for a while yet and that is why they are waiting? We will not be going to a McDonald’s. I would rather go someplace where there is a family-style atmosphere. Besides their prices are too expensive anymore.

  • David Corson

    I’m going to put it like this. While I agree, the restaurant should be more family oriented, I don’t think they are purposely trying to just shoo everyone out because they stayed over 20 minutes. I think they are trying to get individuals out that aren’t buying anything, or just a cup of coffee, but staying and taking up space. Besides, at the Birmingham area McDonald’s restaurants, a lot of the senior citizens only stay for an hour to 90 minutes and then leave. I have never seen them staying half a day or even a full day for that matter.

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