The Bizarre Rules Behind Playing the Role of Ronald McDonald

It’s not as easy as being a regular party clown!

Remember Ronal McDonald, the iconic—somewhat creepy—mascot that you always saw in McDonald’s commercials? The bright red hair and yellow jumpsuit mean a delicious meal and PlayPlace fun to most kids. But the role isn’t as simple as slapping on some makeup and learning how to juggle. There are actually some pretty bizarre rules that the character is required to follow. Check out these mind-blowing facts about McDonald’s.

One of the most important rules of playing the McDonalds mascot is that Ronald is never allowed to reveal his true personality. When he’s in costume, the only name he goes by is Ronald McDonald. The company also likes to pretend that there is only one Ronald, but they tend to keep a lot of secrets. How does Ronald appear in multiple countries at the same time on the same day? How are these secret menu items created? These are secrets we may never know. But, because of the image that McDonald’s likes to uphold, no two Ronald’s are ever allowed to be spotted together.

Ronald’s rules and regulations don’t end there, though. McDonald’s has a slew of other rules that the people representing their company must follow. In 1972, McDonalds “Boss Clown” named Aye Jaye—who was in charge of overseeing the hiring and training of Ronalds—created a guide called Ronald and How to easily train new employees on the rules.

These bizarre rules include:

  • Ronalds are never allowed to hug kids. They’re only supposed to pat the children on the back.
  • They have to sign numerous waivers saying that they’ll never reveal what they learned working for the company
  • They have to promote the idea of fun to their customers, they shouldn’t directly promote the food
  • If kids ask, you can’t tell them that burgers come from cows
  • When in character, they’re not allowed to eat McDonald’s food; it could smudge their makeup
  • They have to be fit, or at least have a body that appears to be fit
  • They have to follow a script when answering questions asked by customers. If they don’t have an answer that fits, they are instructed to say, “ask someone wearing normal shoes.”

It’s not easy being a clown, so if you were thinking about applying for the job of Ronald McDonald to get free fries for life, you might want to rethink your career path. Next, read about the secrets McDonald’s employees won’t tell you.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan Cutolo is a former senior production editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine, where she lives, and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.