Ad spend of selected restaurants in the U.S. 2018

In 2018, McDonald’s spent more on advertising in the United States than all other widely recognized restaurant chains. With 761 million U.S. dollars in ad expenditures, the chain was way ahead of brands such as Domino's (next in line, with a 418 million ad spend) and Taco Bell (415 million). Subway and Burger King both spent more than 300 million on measured media that year, thus closing the list of top five spending restaurant chains.

Quick service restaurant chains brand value

In terms of brand value, McDonald’s also leads the pack by a margin of roughly 82 billion U.S. dollars, far surpassing Starbucks and Subway. Fellow fast food chain KFC ranks fourth with a value of 15 billion dollars, while Burger King is second to last. Taco Bell did not make it to the top ten list in 2019.

QSR industry and consumer behavior

When it comes to consumer opinions, McDonald’s is not faring that well. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the chain had the lowest index score among other limited service restaurants in the country – at 69 points it was well behind Burger King’s 76 points, Subway’s 80 point-score and even Taco Bell, which earned 74 points.

Advertising spending of selected restaurant chains in the United States in 2018

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Release date

June 2019


United States

Survey time period


Special properties

measured media only

Supplementary notes

Measured media from WPP's Kantar Media based on spending in 19 media: consumer magazines, Sunday magazines, local magazines, business-to-business magazines, local newspapers, national newspapers, free-standing inserts, broadcast network TV, broadcast spot TV, national syndicated TV, network cable TV, network radio, national spot radio, local radio, Spanish-language media (magazines, newspapers, TV networks), outdoor and internet (display advertising; excludes paid search, video and other forms of internet advertising). Unmeasured spending figures are Ad Age DataCenter estimates including direct marketing, promotion, internet paid search, social media and other forms of spending not included in the 19 measured media. For more information, see the methodology.

Figures have been rounded.

Figures for the period 2009 to 2013 come from Advertising Age's earlier publications.

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Statistics on "Food advertising in the U.S."

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