People Safety

Why It Matters


At McDonald’s, safety is paramount. We are committed to keeping everyone safe – whether it’s the employees in our corporate offices, the team members in our restaurants or the customers who are visiting to eat.

Nearly 2 million people work within a company-owned or franchised McDonald’s restaurant globally across approximately 39,000 locations worldwide. We have a responsibility to protect the safety, health and wellness of everyone who enters one of our restaurants. We’re committed to customer and crew safety, promoting robust health and safety measures in our restaurants and helping employees make more informed decisions to support their own well-being.

Our Strategy


As the global community is faced with new and evolving safety risks, we know that we must continue to adapt and enhance our approach to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers and people.

Living by our core value of putting our customers and people first means that we must continue to provide a safe and clean environment in McDonald’s restaurants around the world. Our international markets and Franchisee partners implement safety programs, set goals and provide access to well-being resources and training to support healthy working conditions. In 2021, McDonald’s announced Global Brand Standards to further advance a culture of safety for everyone working under the Arches and McDonald’s customers worldwide.

Cleanliness has been one of the hallmarks of the McDonald’s business for over 65 years. Our elevated practices during the COVID-19 pandemic were informed by guidance from health ministries in most of the countries where we operate, as well as by recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). We continue to leverage our long-standing relationships with experts in health and science in an ongoing effort to elevate the hygiene and safety standards and procedures for our restaurants.

Informed by health authorities around the world, we implement practices to foster an environment where crew feel safe and supported, and customers have a variety of choices for contactless order and payments. This is our Safety+ commitment. Our measures included:


  • Taking wellness and temperature checks for crew.

  • Providing equipment designed to reduce spread, like gloves, face coverings and protective barriers.

  • Adjusting our restaurant operations to better allow for appropriate social distancing between crew and customers.

  • Expanding our contactless ordering and payment methods, and sealing bags for delivery.

  • Promoting a timed handwashing system to ensure employees wash their hands with approved soap for at least 20 seconds and on every hour at a minimum.

  • Increasing the frequency of cleanliness and sanitization/disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as counters, door handles and kiosks.

  • Providing hand sanitizer in dining rooms in most of our markets.


McDonald’s also puts a strong emphasis on well-being and access to benefits and resources for company-owned staff and crew, something we have expanded during the COVID-19 crisis. We created a cross-functional team to get relevant information out as quickly as possible.

The team implemented several new resources, including:


  • BeWell@McD – an internal webpage dedicated to the well-being of our U.S. staff and employees at Company-owned restaurants and organized into five pillars: Physical, Emotional, Financial, Social and Workplace.

  • A toolkit to equip markets around the world with resources to create well-being material relevant in their jurisdiction and a well-being cross-functional team.

  • A weekly BetterTogether newsletter, sent to around 4,000 staff, which features relevant benefits, and highlights new offerings and resources.

  • Regular additions and enhancements to McDonald’s benefits, offerings and resources for staff and company-owned restaurant employees.

  • An interactive PDF resource featuring well-being offerings for company-owned restaurant crew and managers. Content is updated monthly.


These efforts build upon the work McDonald’s has been committed to for decades. In addition to our global efforts, several of our markets have led the way in developing a robust approach to helping keep people safe.


Helping Support the Sustainable Development Goals

Through our efforts to create safe workplaces, we aim to help support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, in particular:

Our Actions


Adjusting Operations and Processes to Help Protect  Crew and Customers

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 99% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants remained open, providing Drive-Thru, McDelivery® and carryout. Safety measures were kept under review and quickly bolstered as required, including increased training for crew.

We introduced over 50 process changes in all 14,000 U.S. restaurants, from increased frequency of cleaning and sanitization to at least hourly handwashing routines for all employees.

As restrictions began to ease, the U.S. market continued to move carefully, using guidance provided from local authorities. A 59-page “playbook” was produced, outlining the minimum standards and elevated processes all U.S. restaurants must implement, in addition to state and local laws, before reopening a dining room.

McDonald’s restaurants around the world have also adopted significant measures and procedures in accordance with local health and safety guidelines, ranging from contactless operations to providing equipment like gloves, face coverings and protective barriers. There have been inspiring examples of best practice, including fun, informative videos about social distancing in the Netherlands, and plans for restaurant reopening celebrations in Portugal.


Responding to COVID-19 in Our Communities

As part of our ongoing efforts to support communities and local neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald’s recently announced a partnership with the Biden Administration to make access to information on vaccines even easier for the millions of customers who enjoy McDonald’s each day in the U.S.

As part of this partnership, McDonald’s hot McCafé® cups and McDelivery® seal stickers will lead customers to, where they can learn more about how they can protect themselves and the people they love from COVID-19, as well as where to find vaccine appointments near them. The new packaging and ads feature art from the national We Can Do This campaign, setting the campaign’s slogan against a map of the United States.

This partnership builds on McDonald’s continued efforts to provide for the safety of customers and restaurant crew throughout this pandemic. McDonald’s remains committed to being as safe as possible for crew and customers and has enhanced more than 50 safety processes at restaurants over the last year.

Additionally, our Franchisees have stepped up to offer use of McDonald’s restaurants as vaccination centers. As an example, Owner/Operators in Flint, Michigan and Nashville, North Carolina worked with their communities to use their McDonald’s locations as vaccination sites for – offering free COVID-19 vaccines and, in some cases, free McDonald’s meals with their shots.

In the U.S., we remain committed to leading by example as an organization, which is why we’ve donated one million N95 masks to Chicago and the state of Illinois and donated $1 million to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to ensure nonprofits in our home state have the supplies they need during this time. McDonald’s has always been a home base for our communities, and we’re proud to provide calm and comfort to them throughout this crisis. 


Engaging Expert Advisors in Ongoing Cleanliness and Safety Practices

McDonald’s has been proactive in ensuring our standards for cleanliness are as robust as possible during the pandemic. In July 2020, McDonald’s engaged Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to provide counsel and expertise in infection prevention and control. Learn more about how McDonald’s works with Mayo Clinic.

Market Focus: Promoting Health and Safety in Canada

In Canada, McDonald’s has aligned the provincial and territories health and safety regulations with national health and safety policies/procedures. As a result, the business developed a cross-functional team to execute an annual business plan to improve health and safety management, supporting incident reduction and continuous improvement. Quarterly reporting is provided to senior management to inform on progress against key performance indicators. The market wants everyone to be involved in taking ownership for their safety. That is why crew, managers, maintenance people and department leaders are trained on personal safety, with annual health and safety audits to ensure compliance.

The Canadian market is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve its health and safety measures. Market-level Health & Safety Notice Boards are available to restaurant staff. Through these portals, staff can access information on how to raise issues related to health and safety, including how to submit a Personal Action Letter for any concerns.


Market Focus: Leadership as Champions of People Safety in Australia

Our commitment to people safety starts at the top in our Australian market. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) plays a key role, proactively promoting a positive safety culture among employees and customers and engaging with operators and contractors to instate similar standards in their own operations.

Safety is on the agenda at every SLT meeting and included in formal presentations to McDonald’s management, staff and Franchisees. The Strategic Plan is reviewed and updated annually, with targets set against numerous safety metrics. Donesafe, the digital workplace safety reporting database, has greatly improved the market’s visibility of hazard and incident reporting, and audit and inspection results. Donesafe allows the market to identify safety and security trends and proactively act to reduce injury potential and maintain compliance.  

Additionally, a general personal safety module is included in every new employee’s orientation program. Managers also receive numerous training sessions on safety and our Safety Squad (crew members) participate in Development Program as safety champions. We also deploy programs for franchise businesses to upskill them in general safety awareness and McDonald’s safety systems, as practices continue to evolve. In 2021, McDonald’s management, staff and Franchisees collectively tackled the challenges of managing aggressive customers, including developing a suite of materials and strategies to ensure that everyone feels supported and is aligned on safety.