This Is the Worst Time to Visit McDonald’s, According to a Former Cook

A former McDonald's corporate chef says this is the worst time to go to the fast food restaurant. Here's why.

When you visit any fast-food establishment, it’s assumed that you’ll get your food fast. McDonald’s has thrived on this concept—their average drive-thru wait time was around 284 seconds from order to pickup, according to a 2018 study. But is McDonald’s clocking in record times at breakfast, lunch and dinner? Is there a prime time to order those famous McDonald’s french fries or their legendary Big Macs? According to a former corporate chef, not all times at the McDonald’s window are speedy. Here’s what he had to say.

The worst time to visit McDonald’s

In a recent TikTok video, McDonald’s corporate chef Mike Haracz said the worst time to hit the fast-food monolith is around 10:30 a.m. While it may seem like an odd time to be slammed, it’s when the fast-food chain is in the middle of switching between their breakfast and lunch service, which can have an affect on the speed, the food and the staff.

“The issue is all of the equipment is all the same, and things are switched over from the breakfast menu to the lunch menu,” says Haracz. “That means the fryers are no longer cooking hash browns, they’re cooking french fries. The grills have a different time and temperature. [And the] crew are switching over sometimes.” Additionally, he says the breakfast items need to be removed from the holding cabinets and lunch items need to be added.

Longer wait times occur because it takes a lot of effort to transition between food menus and machine temperatures to prepare for the next offerings. All these moving parts are happening while it’s also getting busier at the restaurant. And while that may take extra time, some commenters pointed out that this is also when lunch offerings are at their freshest.

@chefmikeharacz Replying to @miquelwhitcomb Former #McDonalds corporate chef explains why 10:30 is the worst time to go to McD. #mcdonaldssecrets #mcdonaldsdrivethru #mcdonaldsworker #mcdonaldslife #mcdonaldsbreakfast #mcdonaldsbreakfastallday #mcdonaldslunch #BigMac #QuarterPounder #McMuffin #McChicken #McNuggets #McGriddle #McRib #McRib #FiletOFish #fastfoodworkers #FastFood #FastFoodLife ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Breakfast-to-lunch transition at McDonald’s

The breakfast-to-lunch menu transition requires a lot more coordination than you might think. One YouTube video posted by user Stephen Patula shows the level of effort and organization it takes to transition to lunch. Beyond turning over warmers and fryers, workers are also doing quick math to tally the breakfast items they have left—eggs, sausages, ham, pancakes, McMuffins, biscuits, burritos—so they know what they can still sell to customers out front.

At the same time, shifts are often starting or ending for crew members. The video shows the process looking like a well-oiled machine, but it does require a good amount of communication among the staff, all while still serving customers.

Does McDonald’s serve breakfast all day?

While there are a few select McDonald’s locations that offer a limited all-day breakfast menu, not every McDonald’s location is required to. Across the country, McDonald’s serves their breakfast menu between 5 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., but depending on how many breakfast items they have left, some restaurants may keep selling until 11 a.m. or even noon.

And the same goes for the lunch menu. McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers in the morning because the demand simply isn’t high enough to warrant running the burger grills in the a.m. There isn’t enough room to cook all the foods needed (such as eggs, sausages and hash browns) and also have room on the griddles and fryers to cook burgers and fries as well.

What happens to the extra breakfast food?

While some McDonald’s restaurants will sell what they can past 10:30 a.m., if there is extra food, the restaurant is likely to toss it. Some McDonald’s workers on Reddit have confirmed that the restaurant throws it away, a common practice to ensure that there is no risk of contamination or health hazards.


  • QSR Magazine: “The 2018 Drive-Thru Study”
  • Reddit: “What do y’all do with leftover breakfast food when y’all switch to lunch?”
  • YouTube: “McDonald’s POV: Breakfast to Lunch Transition”

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That! and more.