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How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonald’s?

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonald’s

The rise of the fast-food chain hasn’t been all that much of a surprise to those of us who go back a few years. After all, we had the Wimpy Bar when we were young. And although it didn’t have its drive-thrus, where I lived anyway, it was a very similar thing.

McDonalds, though has become something different. It has created a feeling about what it is all about as a restaurant. Some of it good, some of it bad, it must be said. But it is now a very visible marker on virtually every town and in multiple numbers in cities.

They employ a vast number of staff, which in many ways is a good thing of course. But are there lower age limits?

So, let’s find out how old do you have to be to work at McDonald’s?

how old do you have to be to work at mcdonald's?

It Can Vary

I say that because there are two types of McDonald’s restaurants. There are those that are owned by the company, and there are those that are franchised out. The criteria for hiring staff is different for each situation, and hiring policy and practices may be different.

You will usually find that you need to be a minimum of 16 years. However, in some places, that can be reduced to 14 or 15 years. You will, though, need a local work permit. The best thing to do is to contact the particular store you have in mind and ask them.

Those ages refer to ordinary members of staff or Crew members, as McDonald’s like to call them. To work as a Shift Manager or someone responsible for locking up, you will need to be at least 18.

So, Let’s Take A Closer Look at the Age Requirements and the Jobs

Crew Member

Minimum Age -16

These members of staff are divided up into three separate operational groups, kitchen, counter, and maintenance. As such, they are jointly responsible for ensuring the restaurant runs smoothly. They all work together to make sure that sales goals for that shift are met.

Kitchen Staff

These are responsible for preparing and packaging the food and ensuring whatever quality control standards are in place are met. The area must be kept clean for obvious reasons, and you will need to abide by sanitation and safety rules.

Counter Staff

The front line, if you like, and the person the customer will see most of. You will greet them, fill the customer’s order, cash up money, and give change when required. Also, you will be required to ‘upsell’- the ‘do you want fries with that’ question. And you may have to make recommendations from the menu.

As a counter person, it will be you that the management will be relying on to a certain extent to see that sales targets are met.

You could be working in either the main restaurant or the drive-thru if there is one.

To find out more, take a look at our in-depth Fast Food Cashier Job Description.

how old do you have to be to work at mcdonald


This job at McDonald’s could involve just about anything that does not require technical expertise to undertake. That could be cleaning the floor, keeping surfaces and tables and chairs clean, and also the restrooms and toilets.

If there is a kid’s playground, that will have to be checked regularly to ensure that all is working fine.

Shift Manager

Minimum Age -18

Being a McDonald’s Shift Manager carries with it some responsibilities and a variety of tasks. I am therefore surprised that they seem to think an 18-year-old would have the life experience to deal with it. Nevertheless, that is what they say.

The role will include managing staff and staff performance. Ensuring that the shift meets its designated goals and taking action if they fall behind.

You will be responsible for the safety of customers and staff and the security of the building during your shift hours. Also, maintenance, cleaning, staff scheduling, and staff training.

A Closer

Minimum Age – 18

An interesting job title. It means you will stay late and be the last to leave the building. You will therefore be responsible for locking up, closing, and security at night. The job will involve cleaning floors, the kitchen, and all equipment and getting the restaurant ready for opening in the morning.

Self-motivation will be an important requirement, as will the ability to turn your hand to a variety of jobs.

Back to Your Age Again

You will note that the jobs listed have either a minimum age requirement of 16 or 18, depending on the position. But as I have already mentioned, that can depend on the location where you apply.

In some places, you might find some of the more menial tasks are delegated to younger people. These might be to 15 years olds or, in some cases, 14 years olds. It will depend on the location of the shop and the young person applying.

At age 16, you will be able to apply without age considerations.

how old do you have to be to work at the mcdonald

Do You Need Previous Experience?

For the vast majority of fast food and similar chains, experience is not a requirement. If you have past experience, that will obviously count in your favor and probably be reflected in what you are paid.

Mcdonald’s is what is known as an ‘entry-level’ company. Simply put, you are quite likely to be hired even with no experience in food retail at all. All you need to know will be taught in-house.

What Will You Be Paid?

You can expect to be on an hourly rate. This will vary from place to place because the minimum wage laws can vary from place to place. It is possible to give you a range of what you might expect.

Shift Manager

This will have quite a wide range. It will be determined by any previous retail management experience you have, especially in the food industry. It can be up to $20, but the average is about $10.

Crew Members

As we mentioned earlier, these members of staff fall into three categories, Counter, Kitchen, and Maintenance. They all fall under the same heading for pay considerations. This might be anything from minimum wage to $15, depending on experience. The average is about $8.


This will usually be paid at between $8-10 per hour. The average is about $9.

Remember, these amounts will vary from place to place depending on minimum wage laws.

If You Get An Interview

The important thing to remember about interviews at companies like McDonald’s is how they view themselves. They see their operation as fulfilling a necessary food requirement in a pleasant way. They will therefore expect you to be clean, well-dressed, and be enthusiastic and a ‘smiley’ person.

Well-dressed at the interview means smart casual. Shirt, trousers, and shoes. Jeans, T-shirts, and trainers probably won’t impress them.

Read more: $75,000 a Year is How Much an Hour?

Are There Extra Benefits Working At McDonalds?

Every employee, whether casual or a full-time worker, gets a free meal for each shift they work. Full-time staff get extra benefits.

These will include:-

  • Paid sick days.
  • Paid time off.
  • Annual Vacation.
  • Health Insurances that also cover dental And vision.
  • Maternity or Paternity leave.
  • Flexible Working Hours.
  • Performance bonuses.
  • Stock purchase opportunities.

Some may consider the basic hourly pay rather low, and they would have a point. But there are some things to consider. One of which is that there is a reasonable set of benefits that are given to full-time staff.

If this is going to be your first interview, it’s well worth taking a look at Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview and My first interview.: Keys to getting that first job.

A nice shirt will also help; I personally recommend the Dockers Men’s Long Sleeve Signature Comfort Flex Shirt.

Looking for More Information about Working at McDonald’s?

Then check our informative articles on the McDonalds Interview Questions, Does McDonalds Run Background Checks?, and Does McDonalds Drug Test?. And when you’re ready to apply, all the info you need can be found in our overview of the McDonalds Application.

Or, if you’re thinking of applying to other fast-food chains, take a look at our Burger King Interview Questions, KFC Interview Questions, Wendy’s Interview Questions, Chuck E Cheese Interview Questions, the Arby’s Application, the Rally’s Application, and the Panda Express Application.

Or, if you’re looking for some great memorabilia to add to your McDonald’s collection, check out the McDonald’s Hat Vintage 1980s Official Employee Uniform, the Funko Pop! Ad Icons: McDonald’s – Ronald McDonald, the Funko Pop! Ad Icons: McDonald’s – Hamburglar, and the Funko Pop! Ad Icons: McDonald’s – Birdie.

It may also be worth reading McDonald’s: Behind The Arches to get some background information on the company.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a fan or not, it must be acknowledged that McDonald’s offers young people an early foot on the work ladder. They provide work experiences that may well help people in later life. And they expose young people to responsibility at work, which is no bad thing.

And with a decent level of extra benefits paid to full-time staff, young people leaving school, with little or no qualifications, could do a lot worse.

All the very best with your McDonald’s interview.

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