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Have you ever wondered what walking through a drive-through restaurant lane meant for cars and trucks would be like? Have you wondered if this maneuver would even be legal? Don’t worry; you don’t need to try walking a drive-through restaurant yourself because your friendly correspondent has already tested it out. Read on for a full report.

Craving post-prom McDonald’s

Walking man orders from a McDonald's restaurant drive-through lane.
McDonald’s drive-through | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

My story starts after my high school prom. My friends and I had rented a limousine. As we all returned to the car after the dance, my date said, “I could go for some McDonald’s right now!”

Though just a lad of 16, I already knew that what your date wants, your date gets. So I asked our driver to find the nearest McDonald’s drive-through restaurant. But no sooner had the golden arches come into view than he rolled down the divider window and said, “Sorry folks, there’s no way I can fit the limo around that corner and into the drive-through lane.”

Ever the gentleman, I volunteered to take everyone’s orders and walk into the restaurant. After everyone waffled and debated whether McDonald’s serves onion rings for five minutes, I finally got out of the car. I clutched a list of orders–ranging from Big Macs to breakfast sandwiches–jotted on a napkin from the prom. I tucked it into my tuxedo pocket. I was ready. My brother volunteered to come with me, and we strode up to the front door. But it was locked!

We stared into the bright dining room, plastic chairs set on the tables, and an employee with headphones blasting mopping the tiles. I imagined disappointment on my date’s face and said, “Let’s just walk through the drive-through.”

Walking through the McDonald’s restaurant’s drive-through

My brother and I immediately realized we had a problem: Walking amongst a row of moving cars at night is dangerous on its own. But worse yet, we were wearing black suits. We decided to take off our suit jackets, and while I kept a lookout ahead, he kept an eye on the car behind us.

We also made eye contact with all the nearby drivers to ensure they knew what we were doing. Luckily, they all smiled at us. A touch of road rage, and any of them could have chosen to object to our shenanigans.

When we reached the drive-through restaurant speaker, I read all the orders off my napkin. Then we shuffled along as the row of cars moved. Then, the attendant opened the window. She did a double-take. Instead of a car, she found two grinning teenagers wearing tuxedos. She actually walked away from her station without a word.

We stared at each other. I wondered if we’d broken some law and were about to be arrested.

Then, a middle-aged man with a manager’s badge waddled up to the window. He clutched all of our food in front of his chest, and handed it over with a smile. We grabbed our loot and raced back to the limousine.

Is walking through a drive-through restaurant illegal?

There is no law against walking through a drive-through. Why? Because restaurant drive-throughs are on private property. But restaurants might refuse to serve you. And walking through a drive-through is far from a safe move.

I’m honestly surprised McDonald’s didn’t have a corporate rule to prevent shenanigans like mine. In fact, it appears on the fast food joint’s website that it does have a general rule against it now. In addition, the manager would have been well within his rights to refuse to serve us. Whether or not you can actually pull off a drive-through walk will depend on your local restaurant and its staff.

Generally speaking, for safety reasons we cannot serve pedestrians and vehicles at the same outdoor service point.


Next, find out whether drinking a cocktail from a drive-through is actually legal or see more MotorBiscuit shenanigans from when we drove a rally-spec race car through a McDonald’s drive-through in the video below: