How to Get Free or Discounted Food at McDonald's

McDonald's states that it serves more than 69 million customers every day, in more than 100 countries. Some of those customers get free or discounted food. You can be one of them, if you know where to look.

Discounts Vary by Location

Approximately 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants are operated as franchise. This means private owners purchase and operate the restaurants. While franchises typically must take part in national marketing campaigns and discounts, participation in some promotions may vary. You local McDonald's franchise may also offer its own promotions for free or discounted food. Visit your nearby restaurant and pay attention to local mailers, radio and television ads to see if local deals exist.

I'm Lovin' It Promotions

McDonald's discounts certain food items periodically in its ongoing I'm Lovin' It promotion. You'll find these discounts noted on the menu board, or on its I'm Lovin' It site. As of this writing, McDonald's doesn't tell customers how long the discounts on food items last -- only that the promotions are offered for a limited time

Download the McDonald's Mobile Application

McDonald's mobile application offers location finders, daily deals and a free sandwich when you download the app to your mobile device. As of June 2015, offers associated with the McDonald's app only are available in a few cities:

  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Santa Fe, N.M.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Fayetteville, N.C.
  • New Bern, N.C.
  • Washington, N.C.
  • Greenville, N.C.

The company states that it will add availability to more sites soon. Check the app daily for new discounts and free food.

Senior Discount

If you're 55 years of age or older, you can enjoy discounts on coffee and beverages at McDonald's The American Associated for Retired Persons states that the typical discount is 15 percent, and that you'll need to ask for the discount.

Work at McDonald's

If you really love McDonald's food and you're looking for employment, consider working for the company. Restaurants offer free or discounted meals to employees. With 36,000 locations all over the world, there's probably a restaurant near you that's hiring. In addition to free or discounted meals, some employees are eligible for medical and dental insurance, retirement plans, free uniforms, paid holidays and vacation time and education assistance. Check your state for restaurant opportunities or learn about the company's corporate opportunities.