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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman March 26, 2020

Some fast-food chains turn away truckers at drive-thru windows. One has offered a solution

If Your Time is short

  • Truck drivers are having issues getting meals at some fast-food chains with shuttered dining rooms. Their rigs can’t fit in drive-thru lanes and they aren’t allowed to walk up and order at the window.

  • McDonald’s responded to complaints and created a curbside trucker ordering service at some of its locations.

  • Other fast-food chains haven’t yet implemented a solution.

As truck drivers across the country provide an essential service, delivering food and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, complaints have surfaced about some fast-food chains turning them away. 

In response to the epidemic, many restaurants are offering only drive-thru service. But Facebook posts, like these, chronicle story after story of truckers attempting to get meals at popular fast-food restaurants only to be turned away when they attempt to walk up and order at these drive-thru windows:

"***Glenshaw***This McDonalds is Refusing to serve truckers, because they can’t drive through the drive-thru. The manager was disrespectful. They are out supplying (sic) are stores with food for all of us. They are out all night and can’t eat or get a coffee?"

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) But in this case, there's more truth to the claim than not.

Fast-food restaurants including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC and Taco Bell recently announced they were shutting down dining rooms amid the coronavirus outbreak and switching to a to-go model, emphasizing delivery and drive-thru orders. 

Social media posts say truckers can’t maneuver their rigs through drive-thru lanes, so their only option is to walk up to the windows.

Trucking news website Transportation Nation reported that one trucking group reached out to McDonald’s on March 18 asking for changes to be made to allow truckers easier access to food.

"Truckers are having a difficult time finding food on the road due to various closures because of the national emergency," wrote James Lamb, president of the 15,000-member Small Business in Transportation Coalition. "We are told they are being refused service when they walk up to your drive thru windows because they are not in sedans and their 80,000 lb. big rig trucks do not fit through your drive thru driveways."

Lamb asked the company to make temporary accommodations for trucker customers.

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McDonald’s responded by creating a curbside ordering system. The fast-food chain pointed PolitiFact to a March 23 statement that addresses the issue:

"As the world continues to address the quickly changing landscape, we are in this together with you, our valued friends in the trucking and transportation industry. Thank you for everything you are doing to keep essential parts of our economy going.

"However, at some locations, only Drive-Thru and McDelivery are available. We realize that you can’t bring your rig through the Drive-Thru and for safety reasons, we cannot accept walk up orders at the Drive-Thru window."

McDonald’s instructed truckers to use its mobile order and pay app and then walk to "the designated Trucker curbside sign on the sidewalk outside our designated door." An employee will bring the order out when it’s ready.

But it’s not just McDonald’s. Reports of similar incidents at Wendy’s and Burger King have also surfaced. We reached out to both, but only heard back from Wendy’s. A spokesperson sent a statement saying Wendy’s is "particularly appreciative of the nation’s truck drivers who are a vital part of our supply chain."

It continued: "We are continuing to explore options to continue to make Wendy’s food available to as many of our loyal customers as possible during this difficult time, but of course we must continue to focus on safety and security at our restaurants as a top priority."

Our ruling

Social media posts claim truck drivers are being turned away from fast-food restaurants with shuttered dining rooms since they can’t fit their rigs in drive-thru lanes.

This is really happening. It’s worth noting that McDonald’s has responded with a curbside ordering app at some locations to help accommodate truckers. And Wendy’s says they are exploring options. 

These reports are accurate but need additional, updated information. We rate them Mostly True.

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Some fast-food chains turn away truckers at drive-thru windows. One has offered a solution

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