What the symbols on your McDonald's drink really mean

Yahoo News Staff
·3-min read

If you have ever wondered what the symbols on the top of a McDonald's drink lid mean, you aren't alone.

Social media is filled with people quizzing McDonald's employees on what each symbol stands for and why certain raised buttons are pressed when receiving an order.

The symbols on the lids seem to vary by country but there does seem to be one similarity - the button to identify the different varieties of Coke.

McDonald's drink lid symbols and what they mean
Social media is filled with people quizzing McDonald's employees on what each symbol stands for and why certain raised buttons are pressed when receiving an order. Source: Getty

It turns out that the most common reason for staff pressing the buttons was to let the customer know which drinks were diet or had less sugar, especially if a customer had ordered more than one drink.

While some countries have a button labelled 'diet', other countries have several buttons with no label.

"We press one button for Diet Coke and either two or four buttons for Coke Zero," one employee of a UK McDonald's wrote on a Reddit forum about the subject.

In American McDonald's the buttons were also used to identify other similar coloured drinks such as iced tea and Dr. Pepper.

"The intention was to have those buttons be pushed down so that the car full of customers would be able to tell the difference between soft drinks quickly without having to taste/open," a former employee explained.

Other employees claimed to have no knowledge of what the symbols were for and never received any official training.

Another eagle-eyed McDonald's fan said they thought the small indentations around the lids were so that the lid could be used as a coaster if turned upside down.

McDonald's drink lids
From coaster to diet drink id's, the internet is obsessed with finding out the secrets behind the McDonald's drink lid. Source: Getty/Reddit

A TikTok user also recently claimed to have discovered a 'hack' for those who dislike paper straws.

In a video that has gained over 200,000 likes user melnewtotown showed how she pushes down on one of the indentations on the outer rim of her lid and uses it to drink from like a disposable coffee cup.

In February, Hungry Jacks recently introduced a similar lid to exclude the need for straws all together.

A McDonald's Australia spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia the symbols on the lid refer to the drink selection and recyclability category, but did not go into specific details.

And despite the clever thinking of social media users, the lids were not designed to be used as coasters or to be drunk directly from.

"We can confirm the tabs are not designed to drink out of, and the lids are not designed to be used as a coaster," a spokesperson said.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.