Everything You Want to Know About Being a McDonald's Manager

Updated on July 7, 2016

What Makes a Great McDonald's Manager?

A career in fast food manager is extremely stressful. Here's what you need:
• Patience (and lots of it).
• Assertive, not aggressive, attitude.
• A thick skin when it comes to unhappy customers.
• Endurance to stand on feet for hours.
• Confidence to manage and direct employees.
Will you be lovin' it as a McDonald's Manager?
Will you be lovin' it as a McDonald's Manager?

Considering a management career at McDonald's? Getting hired at McDonald's might seem easy enough, but working at McDonald's long-term is not something just anybody can handle. Keep reading to find out what being a McDonald's manager is really like.

Job Duties

Depending on the management level, you will perform a variety of tasks each day including:

  • Counting drawers and preparing deposits.
  • Taking inventory.
  • Creating a weekly schedule for crew members and a monthly schedule for managers.
  • Cleaning.
  • Handle customer complaints (and trust me, you'll get a lot of them).
  • Paperwork, orientation, and training sessions for new employees

You will also often be expected to do the same things the crew does, although technically your job is to supervise. You'll make sandwiches, cook meat and chicken, take orders at the front register or drive thru window, cook fries, and wash dishes.

Manager Work Schedules

Managers at McDonald's are required to work on weekends and holidays. Weekends are the busiest time for many McDonald's restaurants; some stores make more on Saturday and Sunday than they do for the other five days of the week combined. If you are a person who doesn't like to work evenings or weekends, a career as a McDonald's Manager is not right for you. Some stores are open for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means that you might be expected to work 10pm to 7am one day and 4am to 2pm a few days later.

Don't be fooled by promises of flexible schedules; those are usually only offered to crew members. Managers are often expected to have a 24 hour availability. Keep in mind that managers are often called in early or asked to stay late, and that if the next manager doesn't show up for his or her shift, you have to stay until a replacement is found.

Salaries and Benefits

How much do managers at McDonald's make? Well, it depends on a variety of different factors: your position (hourly or salaried), the length of time you've been with the company, availability (are you flexible with your work schedule, or do you require set hours?), and whether you work for the corporation or for a franchise.

Generally, if you work for the McDonald's corporation (as opposed to a franchise owner), you will make more money. However, more than 70% of McDonald's are franchised, so finding a corporate store in your area might be difficult.

Here are the average salaries for managers:

  • Hourly: $9.77 per hour
  • Assistant Managers: $27,732 per year
  • Store Managers: $35,586 per year

Remember, this is only the average salary for each position. Many hourly managers are offered overtime, which means they have a chance to make as much, if not more, than their salaried coworkers. I have met store managers who made almost $60,000 per year, and hourly managers who made $13 per hour.

Just like pay rates, benefits vary widely depending on whether you work for a franchise or corporation. A manager working at a corporate store is likely to receive one or two weeks of paid vacation, as well as monthly or quarterly bonuses based on sales. They are also usually offered health insurance and a 401K Plan. A manager at a franchise might not receive the same benefits.

I spent seven years as a manager at a franchised location (which switched owners three times during my time there), and was offered the same insurance as the crew people: McCrew Care. I was personally told by the operator that McCrew Care was a joke, and that no doctors in the area accepted it. I will say that one of my franchise owners offered Blue Cross Blue Shield, and even said he'd pay for me to take Spanish courses at the community college (we had a lot of employees and customers who did not speak English). Unfortunately, he sold the restaurant store to another franchise owner, and she took away all of our benefits.


A degree is usually not required to become a McDonald's Manager, although many Assistant Managers and Store Managers have a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited university. In this economy, it never hurts to finish college and get your degree.

Even if you don't have a degree, expect to frequently attend seminars, training classes, and conventions. Most states also require all restaurant managers to get their Food Safety Certificate.

Working Conditions and Job Security

Can you handle standing on your feet for long periods of time? Managers work incredibly hard, and a career in restaurant management is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining at times. There will be days when most of your co-workers will call in sick, which means you will be expected to pick up the slack. That means you might work for hours without a bathroom break or drink of water, and rarely, if ever, will you actually find the time to sit down for an unpaid lunch or dinner break. In fact, if you're the only manager scheduled for that shift, you will probably not be allowed to sit down at all (and if you try, you will be badgered with questions from angry customers and tired crew members).

If you're working in the grill, it will be hot. If you're working in the drive thru, it will be hot in the summer and painfully cold in the winter. No matter where you're working or what season it is, your feet will probably hurt at the end of the day.

Having said that, fast food manager jobs aren't going anywhere, especially if you work at McDonald's. Despite the numerous protests that McDonald's is causing Americans to become obese, sales keep increasing and the restaurants can be found on every corner. Even if you lose your job at one location, it's easy to go down the street and apply to for another one. I've seen it happen more times than I can count.

Final Thoughts

A career as a fast-food manager is not for everybody. The wages are decent; however, you will often go home physically and mentally exhausted. You will end up working most weekends and holidays; if you are raising a family, this might take its toll after awhile. If you're looking for benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation, you might not get them.

It's not all bad, though. After being screamed at by the 14th customer of the day because the fries aren't hot enough, you'll bond with your co-workers over how amazingly rude people can be. You'll celebrate together each time you achieve goals for drive-thru times. You'll work with high school students, middle-aged moms, and senior citizens, and you might even start to treat each other like family. It could be a lot worse, right?

Would you ever be a manager at McDonald's?

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    • profile image

      Amanda degrande 5 weeks ago

      I have work at union lake McDonald for 2 years now and I am very happy that they treat me like every one else and not just for my disability

    • profile image

      bony 5 months ago

      i have work for McDonald for 3 year already. i haven't had a job besides and don't plan on getting a different job i love it!

    • profile image

      Bonnie 6 months ago

      Yes, I too, love working at McDonalds always have and always will. I haven't worked for 10 years. At McDonalds. I just went back been there 5 shifts. Boy, the registers have changed, some of the sandwiches. Boy was I surprised, but I was hired back as a manager. So the job is coming back to me really fast....I'm loving It! Thank you McDonalds

    • profile image

      Anna 13 months ago

      Thanks! this was an amzing site!

    • profile image

      Brian 18 months ago

      I have worked for mcdonalds since 2008 . Started as crew and have worked my way up to a department manager about to head to hamburger university this fall. I can say with at least my store after you go to classes your pay gets substantially better and we are a franchise. Yes scrubbing toilets can happen and hard shifts happen but 14.50 isn't too bad for a department manager. I have a lot of responsibility as well though and if something doesn't happen right it comes back on me but work hard and mcdonalds can be a great company to work for.

    • profile image

      Dylan Matthews 2 years ago

      Im just a crew member and ive been working there about a month and i already got everything down they put me on drive thru and front counter i guess im that good

    • profile image

      Jody 2 years ago

      Great article!

      I want to be a mcdonald's franchisee

    • profile image

      linda marie welling 2 years ago

      wow after reading all the information on becoming a Mcdonald's manager i so ready for new goals and challeges of life..and pay..

    • profile image

      Tdowers 3 years ago

      I would love to be a manager. I am working at a corp mcdonalds and i have heart and passion for what i do.

      Im 27 right now and my dream is to be an owner operator.

      i just hope the store im at will push me in the right path.

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace

      Cole, most McDonald's will transfer you. It depends on a few different factors. My advice is to contact the owner of the new store and make sure they're hiring, then explain your situation to them. I know that I transferred to a new store when I moved with no problems. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Cole Webb 5 years ago

      I work at a McDonald's at in Martinez, Georgia (Two hours from Atlanta). I have been there for over two months. I'm moving to Myrtle Beach, SC in a couple weeks. I was wondering, do they do transfers, or how does that work? Thanks!

    • profile image

      Susan 5 years ago

      McDonald's is not a bad company to work for. Yes you work hard.... yes you have to work your way up the ladder...yes you work weekends....yes you get yelled at (That is part of dealing with the public). But.... I guess because I worked hard and stuck with it I GOT THE ULTIMATE REWARD that most companies do not offer their employees who excel and work hard and yes make some sacrifices I after working for a Franchise for 20 years(Age 16-36) was given the opportunity to become A McDonalds Owner Operator. At age 49 I sold my Restaurants and RETIRED. Not to bad for strting out as a 16 Year Old Kid in McDonalds. Oh and I might also mention that I was 1 of 4 employees that worked for that same McDonalds Franchise Owner that became an Owner. That's 4 of us... And 3 of us were able to Retire before Age 49...

      Not too bad I must say!!!!

    • profile image

      Jamie 5 years ago

      I have been working as a manager for about 4 months now and everything this article says is so true! But I love my job and I don't think I will ever be looking for. New one. McDonald's really is a great company to work for

    • profile image

      cdude200 6 years ago

      Great story i been working at this burger joint for 7 months crew members do not treat you like family they are there for that piece of paper that comes every 2 weeks and that's it im there because it keeps me out of trouble a job to tie me over until im done with high school and job security so if i ever move out of state i can most likely work at one while in college I look at this job as a lesson as a reminder what would happen if don't do well in school the work is skilled labor up to a point of 3 months TOPS you don't have to have a perfect way with people if you have a pulse and somewhat of a memory your good

    • profile image

      Smiley 6 years ago

      i been working at mcdonalds for 8 years i like working there i would like to come a manger but its hard to come a manger at my mcdonalds

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 6 years ago from Cyberspace

      Thank you, Sortapundit. Is a career as a McDonald's manager right for you? :)

    • sortapundit profile image

      sortapundit 6 years ago from Copenhagen

      Nice, informative article :)

    • profile image

      Yoketah 7 years ago

      I have to agree that I almost never get to sit down and eat during my shift. I almost always eat at the end, usually of a 9 hour shift. If your running the shift, you don't clock out anyways though, as it's a 20(or less) min paid break. Has good college benefits though.

    • cronos22 profile image

      cronos22 7 years ago

      never actually thought fast foog store management could be this stressful. i like a challenge but what you are describing seems like a nightmare. great post.

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      Pcunix, I could never do it again for any price. I'm not sure how I survived 7 years in fast food.

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

      Sounds like a very demanding job. I honestly couldn't do it, not even at three times the pay. Heck, not even at ten times!

    • Sunnyglitter profile image

      Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

      Thanks, Awesome77! McDonald's can be fun at times, but it's definitely stressful. Did you know that all drive thru orders have to be handed out in 90 seconds or less, whether you order 1 cheeseburger or 15 Big Macs? Things can get crazy!

    • profile image

      awesome77 7 years ago

      Very well put together! Now i know why some of the workers lose the bright smile after a while! Great hub!