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McDonald’s - statistics & facts

McDonald’s is a quick service restaurant (QSR) chain based in the United States. It was founded in California in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. Eventually, it was transformed by a production line system that rolled out burgers in a quick service style. This was the start of the company’s “McDonaldization”, a phrase coined by sociologist George Ritzer, meaning that the company prioritized efficiency, calculability, predictability, standardization, and control. Today, this type of system is not only used in many QSRs but also for a variety of other institutions and organizations. Ultimately, this method of operating has allowed McDonald's golden arches to become a familiar spectacle in towns and cities all over the world. In 2020, there were a total of 39.1 thousand McDonald’s restaurants globally a figure that has grown year-over-year for the past decade.

Where are McDonald's biggest markets?

The quick service behemoth operated and franchised by far the largest proportion of restaurants in its home country. In 2020, the number of McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. reached 13.6 thousand. When looking at the countries with the most McDonald’s in Europe, France (including Monaco) took the top spot, accounting for almost 1.5 thousand units. Meanwhile, China had the most McDonald's restaurants in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. The United States was also one of McDonald’s biggest markets in terms of revenue. In McDonald’s regional revenue breakdown, the U.S. accounted for nearly eight billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020. Meanwhile, internationally operated markets such as Australia, France, Canada, and the UK made the largest overall contribution to McDonald's total revenue, with a sum of 9.46 billion U.S. dollars. In total, McDonald's revenue reached 19.21 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.

Is McDonald's the biggest fast food brand?

Given its global reach, large number of units, and high revenue it is perhaps no surprise that in 2020 McDonald’s placed in the Forbes top 100 largest global companies in terms of market capitalization. Furthermore, when looking at a ranking of the biggest global QSRs by brand value McDonald's came out on top. With a brand value of almost 130 billion U.S. dollars, McDonald’s surpassed other QSR chains by a large margin. Coffeehouse chain Starbucks was its closest competitor. However, Starbucks’ brand value was significantly smaller than McDonald's at approximately 48 billion U.S. dollars. Despite this, McDonald’s did not feature in the 2021 rankings that showed the biggest global companies by revenue and employees.

Digitization of McDonald's

McDonald's has more than a couple of famous menu items, some of which are the "Happy Meal", the "McFlurry", and the "Big Mac". The price of the "Big Mac" is also used as an indicator for the purchasing power of an economy through the "Big Mac Index" - published annually by the Economist since 1986. Not only does McDonald’s provide the option of buying these items in-store and via the drive thru, it also provides home delivery. The company initially rolled out its service “McDelivery” in 1993. This has since developed into partnerships with online delivery services such as UberEats and DoorDash. In recent times, the food delivery market has moved increasingly online and in 2020 the global revenue of the online food delivery market reached 111.32 billion U.S. dollars. This online market became essential to restaurants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where lockdown and social distancing measures meant people were unable to order in-store.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "McDonald's".

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