The golden arches of McDonald’s are a ubiquitous sight all over the world. From humble beginnings, it has become the number one fast food chain not just in the US, but globally. A quick look at these McDonald’s statistics will show you the scale of the brand’s success since its inception in 1940.

At Business2Community, we understand how frustrating it can be to access and collect the McDonald’s facts you want. That’s why we’ve scoured the internet for the most interesting and up-to-date information about this restaurant chain and pulled it together into this curated list.

McDonald’s Statistics Highlights

  • McDonald’s global revenue for 2022 was $23.18 billion.
  • McDonald’s and its franchisees employ 2.2 million people globally.
  • 95% of McDonald’s restaurants in the US are owned by franchisees.
  • 1 in 8 Americans has worked at McDonald’s at some point in their lives.
  • McDonald’s serves 65 million customers each day.

Who Owns McDonald’s? 

As a publicly traded company, McDonald’s is owned by different shareholders. The majority of shareholders are institutional investors, making up 70.61% of the outstanding shares in the company, which is the highest rate of public ownership in the restaurants sector.

According to CNN Business, of these investors, The Vanguard Group, Inc. has the largest stake; 9% of shares valued at over $19 billion. The next largest is BlackRock Fund Advisors, with 4.82%

Top 10 owners of McDonald's Corporation

Individual stores can be owned by McDonald’s Corporation or by a franchisee, but McDonald’s usual business model is to purchase the land a store is built on and rent it to the franchisee.

McDonald’s Corp (NYSE:MCD) went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1965. By July 1966, the shares were trading around $0.25.

McDonald’s shares hit an all-time high of $302.39 per share on January 21st, 2024, giving the company a market cap of just under $218 billion.

McDonald's share price 2003-2024

The stock plummeted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping from $216.15 on February 18th, 2020 to a low of $124.23 on March 18th, 2020. This represented a dramatic fall of almost 43% in value.

However, by August 2020 shares were trading above $200 again and the price has been on a steady upward trajectory ever since.

The company’s current market capitalization puts it just within the top 50 most valuable companies in the world.

Who is the McDonald’s CEO?

The current President and CEO of McDonald’s is Chris Kempczinski. Chris joined the company in 2015 as Executive Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and Innovation and was promoted to President of McDonald’s USA in October 2016.

In 2019m he was promoted to President and CEO of McDonald’s worldwide. The current President of McDonald’s USA is Joe Erlinger.

The following table shows all past McDonald’s CEOs and the dates they held the position.

Name From To
Chris Kempczinski 2019 Present
Steve Easterbrook 2015 2019
Don Thompson 2012 2015
James A. Skinner 2004 2012
Charlie Bell 2004 2004
Jim Cantalupo 2003 2004
Jack M. Greenberg 1999 2002
Michael R. Quinlan 1987 1999
Fred L. Turner 1973 1987
Ray Kroc 1967 1973
Harry J. Sonneborn 1959 1967

The most recent change of CEO came as the result of some controversy. Steve Easterbrook was fired by the board when it was discovered he was in a consensual relationship with an employee, something he later admitted was “a mistake”.

McDonald’s 608,000-square-foot headquarters is located in Chicago. Prior to moving there in 2018, it was located in Oak Brook, Illinois.

McDonald’s Business Statistics

McDonald's statistics

  • McDonald’s Corporation operates over 40,000 restaurants worldwide, either directly owned or through franchisees.
  • McDonald’s brand value was estimated at $191.11 billion in 2023, down almost 3% from $196.53 billion the previous year, according to Statista.
  • 95% of McDonald’s restaurants in the US are franchised, compared to 93% globally.
  • McDonald’s restaurants serve more than 65 million customers each day in 115 different countries.
  • 95% of restaurants in the US have a Drive-Thru, compared to around 60% globally.
  • McDonald’s Delivery operates in around 100 (85%) of its markets worldwide.

McDonald's restaurants opened 2019-2022

The company has sustained a net unit growth of between 1.3% and 2.7% in the four years to 2023, even during the pandemic.

1,900 new restaurants were expected to open in 2023, representing almost 4% net unit growth.

McDonald’s holds a 25.48% market share of the quick service restaurant industry as of Q3 2023, according to data from CSI Market. This represents a slight increase from its market share of 25.35% in Q2 2023.

mcdonalds opens first mccafe in australia

History of McDonald’s

The first McDonald’s restaurant as we know it was opened in April 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois, by businessman (and milkshake machine salesman) Ray Kroc.

However, the history of McDonald’s began in 1940 when the McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald, opened a small barbecue restaurant in San Bernadino, California.

By 1948 they had developed a Speedee Service System that resembled the quick service restaurant industry we are used to today: a limited menu of items that are pre-prepared and served quickly to customers.

Back then, a hamburger cost just 15 cents!

The McDonald brothers opened another 10 restaurants in the following years. The third McDonald’s opened by them, located in Downey, California, is the oldest McDonald’s restaurant still standing today (along with a museum and gift shop).

Neither the first McDonald’s restaurant opened by the McDonald’s brothers in Des Plaines, nor the first location opened by Ray Kroc in San Bernardino remains open today.

In 1954, Ray Kroc visited one of the McDonald brothers’ restaurants in San Bernardino, California, and was amazed by the effectiveness of their systems. By focusing on just hamburgers, french fries, and beverages, they were able to provide customers with delicious food served quickly.

Ray Kroc founded the McDonald’s System, Inc. in 1955 – this later became the McDonald’s Corporation. This is when the first true McDonald’s restaurant was opened.

The company sold its 100 millionth hamburger in 1958.

In 1961, six years after Kroc first became involved, he bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system for $2.7 million.

The iconic golden arches were originally part of the building design for each restaurant. They first appeared in McDonald’s logo in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1968 that the golden arches became the ‘M’ that we recognize today.

early mcdonalds building

In 1967, the Mcdonald’s Corporation opened its first stores outside of the US, in British Columbia, Canada, and Puerto Rico. By 1970 there was a McDonald’s restaurant in every US state.

Number of McDonald’s Restaurants Worldwide

The number of McDonald’s locations in the US at the end of 2022 was 13,444.

There are now over 40,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide, but the US is still by far the largest market in terms of number of McDonald’s restaurants. In second place is China, with 4,978, followed by Japan in third place, with 2,968.

In Europe, the country with the most McDonald’s restaurants is France, with 1,536.

Which US state has the most McDonald’s locations? California leads the way with 1,492, according to data from Statista.

Next comes Texas, with 1,224, and Florida, with 986 total locations.

McDonald's restaurants per state

The US states with the fewest McDonald’s restaurants are North Dakota (29), Vermont (30), and Alaska (31).

In 1996, a McDonald’s restaurant in a Swedish ski resort opened the world’s first “ski-thru”. The McSki window allows people to grab something to eat without having to remove their skis or snowboard. The restaurant does have indoor seating as well, for those who want to stop for a proper break.

Statistics About McDonald’s Menu Items

The first item to be introduced to the national menu was the Filet-o-Fish in 1965. Here’s a look at the dates when other classic menu items first appeared on the regular menu:

  • 1965: Filet-o-Fish
  • 1965: Double Cheeseburger (after being a promotional item in the 1950s)
  • 1968: Big Mac
  • 1968: Apple Pie (the first dessert)
  • 1973: Quarter Pounder
  • 1975: Egg McMuffin
  • 1979: Happy Meal
  • 1983: Chicken McNuggets
  • 1987: Salads
  • 1993: First McCafe launched in Melbourne, Australia
  • 1995: McFlurry
  • 2004: Apple slices in fruit bags
  • 2015: All-day breakfast

Besides french fries, The Big Mac is the most-ordered menu item in 31 states, according to data reported by NBC Chicago, and the second favorite choice in 17 of the 19 remaining states.

The recipe for the famous burger hasn’t changed since it was first launched.

exterior of a mcdonalds

McDonald’s doesn’t publish sales figures for individual menu items, so any McDonald’s statistics on this matter are usually calculated estimates, at best. However, the number of Big Macs sold every year is around 900 million, according to CNN. That works out at a whopping 28.5 Big Macs sold per second around the world.

The global reach and popularity of the burger led to The Economist creating the Big Mac index back in 1986. Originally intended as a lighthearted way of measuring the purchasing power of one currency against another, it has now become a global standard and the topic of numerous academic studies.

As of 2023, Switzerland has the most expensive Big Macs in the world, costing $7.73, and Taiwan has the cheapest, costing just $2.39. The US comes in 7th place at $5.58. This is according to Big Mac index data published on Statista.

Big mac index prices 2023

Despite McDonald’s trying to market their salads as a healthier menu option since they launched in the US in 1987, CEO Don Thompson admitted in 2013 that they only made up 2-3% of sales.

Salads were dropped from the US menu during the COVID-19 pandemic and are yet to be reintroduced. In the UK and other markets, however, salads and snack wraps still hold a significant place on the menu.

How Much Does McDonald’s Pay?

Hourly wages paid by McDonald’s vary according to your age, location, and position.

McDonald’s employees often start on minimum wage, which can be between $7.25 and $17.00 per hour, depending on the state.

Indeed reports that the average wage in the US for a McDonald’s Crew Member is $12.83 per hour, while Cashiers earn $13.04 on average.

Meanwhile, a McDonald’s supervisor’s salary ranges between $32-49k, a restaurant manager can earn between $48-71k per year, and a business analyst makes $63-104k, according to reported salaries on Glassdoor.

How Many Employees Are There at McDonald’s Restaurants?

2.2 million people work for McDonald’s Corporation or its franchisees, according to company documents published in 2023. If these staff were all counted as McDonald’s employees, this would make it fifth largest workforce in the world.

1 in 8 Americans has worked for McDonald’s at some point in their lives, according to the company.

McDonald’s statistics published on Statista show that the number of staff directly employed by McDonald’s has been steadily declining over the past decade:

McDonald's worldwide employees

This decline in employees comes in part from the shift towards franchises over company-owned restaurants. In fact, between 2012 and 2017, the number of McDonald’s restaurants owned by the company fell from 6,600 to 3,100 – a drop of 53%.

Mcdonalds statistics for percent of franchised restaurants

More recently, digital innovations such as self-service kiosks with touchscreens and mobile ordering have led to further workforce efficiencies.

McDonald’s Franchise Statistics

McDonald’s relies heavily on franchising, as do many of its competitors in the fast food industry. McDonald’s owns just 7% of its restaurants globally, and only 5% in the US. This is why McDonald’s is often called a real estate company, not just a fast-food business.

Restaurants in China, Japan, Brazil, and the Philippines are 100% franchised, compared to just 24% in South Korea.

McDonald's franchises by market

Data from QSR Magazine for 2022 showed how McDonald’s compares to other large fast-food chains in terms of the percentage of restaurants that are franchised:

  • McDonald’s: 95%
  • Chick-fil-A: 97%
  • Wendy’s: 93%
  • Subway: 100%
  • Taco Bell: 94%
  • Burger King: 99%
  • KFC: 99%

Anyone wanting to become a McDonald’s franchisee in the US is required to make a downpayment of 40% when purchasing a new restaurant or 25% when purchasing an existing restaurant. The exact amount varies depending on the restaurant’s value, but the company typically requires a minimum of $700,000 in unencumbered personal funds.

The fees to operate a McDonald’s franchise are:

  • A one-off license fee of $45,000 to operate the franchise for 20 years
  • Monthly rent, as a fixed amount and/or percentage of sales
  • A royalty fee of 4-5% of gross sales

In the UK, the average cost of purchasing franchise rights and the equipment for a new restaurant was between £350,000 and £1.85 million in 2018.

McDonald’s Controversies

Of course, a fast food restaurant of this size can’t escape a few controversies over the years.

In 1992, for example, McDonald’s faced the famous “coffee lawsuit” when customer Stella Liebeck suffered severe burns after spilling a hot cup of coffee on herself.

Despite the media portraying Liebeck v. McDonald’s as a frivolous lawsuit, the court case found that McDonald’s had been aware that its coffee – served 30-40 degrees hotter than other quick service restaurant chains – had already caused burns to 700 other people, including children, but had taken no action to reduce the temperature. Liebeck was awarded $2.9 million by the court for her troubles.

newspaper story about McDonalds coffee lawsuit
Source

Another significant piece of bad publicity hit McDonald’s in 2004, with the release of the film Super Size Me. The documentary follows Morgan Spurlock as he eats nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days, during which time he gains 18 pounds and suffers from depression and increased cholesterol.

Two months before the release of the film, McDonald’s announced that it was phasing out its Supersize options for fries and drinks. This move was “nothing to do with that (film) whatsoever”, the company said, but more about “menu simplification”, NBC reported at the time.

Featured in the film was Don Gorske, who in 2016 went on to become the Guinness World Record holder for the most Big Macs eaten. His total stood at 28,788 when he broke the record, but as of January 2023 his total was at 33,400.

McDonald’s also takes heat for offering almost entirely unhealthy menu options. Most of the food they sell is extremely calorically dense with lots of saturated fats and sugars. Critics argue that the combination of cheap, unhealthy food like McDonald’s is a major cause of the US’ obesity epidemic.

Obesity is now the second leading cause of death in the US, behind only tobacco use. It kills about 300,000 Americans every single year. It’s impossible to tell exactly what part McDonald’s has in this crisis but it’s hard to imagine that the 28.5 Big Macs (and many other unhealthy items) that it sells every second isn’t contributing to the problem in a significant way.

More recently, McDonald’s has come under criticism for concerns about the environmental impact of its Happy Meal toys. Well over 1 billion McDonald’s Happy Meals are sold each year globally, and that means over 1 billion small plastic toys being distributed as well, most of which are quickly thrown away.

mcdonald's petition

In 2018, two young girls in the UK started a petition on change.org asking McDonald’s and Burger King to stop distributing plastic toys with their kids’ meals. The petition received over half a million signatures.

Burger King has already phased out toys in some markets, including the UK.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, has pledged to make all its Happy Meal toys from renewable, recycled, or sustainable materials by 2025, representing a 90% reduction in the amount of virgin plastic used. Customers in certain regions also have the option to swap their toy for a book or a bag of fruit.

The fast food chain has also committed to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs to use in products like the Egg McMuffin by 2025.

McDonald’s Sales and Revenue Data

McDonald’s reported global revenue of $23.18 billion in FY22, with $24.19 billion forecast for 2023.

The largest drop in revenue in the past decade was recorded in FY20, falling by 10.09% YoY, largely as a result of the pandemic.

McDonald’s annual net income for FY22 was $6.17 billion, down 18.16% from the previous year.

Fiscal Year Revenue from company-owned restaurants ($USD billions) Revenue from franchised restaurants ($USD billions) Other ($USD billions) Total ($USD billions)
2022 8.75 14.11 0.33 23.18
2021 9.79 13.09 0.35 23.22
2020 8.14 10.73 0.34 19.21

McDonald’s Corporation’s revenue comes from three main areas:

  • Rent paid by franchisees on land owned by McDonald’s
  • Royalties and fees paid by franchisees
  • Sales from company-operated restaurants

Revenue growth in recent years is credited to McDonald’s Accelerating the Arches growth strategy which has focused on, among other things:

McDonald’s global business is split into 3 segments:

  • U.S. Market
  • International Operated Markets (IOM): 20+ markets or countries including Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Italy
  • International Developmental Licensees & Corporate (IDL): 75+ markets or countries including China, Japan, Brazil, India, Mexico, and South Africa

This is how McDonald’s annual revenue was made up over the past three years:

Fiscal Year US revenue ($USD billions) IOM revenue ($USD billions) IDL revenue ($USD billions)
2022  9.42  11.16  2.27
2021 8.71 12.09 2.07
2020 7.66 9.46 1.75

McDonald's statistics for FY22

The US market accounted for the greatest share (41%) of systemwide sales for FY22, despite having only a third of restaurants (13,444 as of year-end 2022).

The IDL market underperforms for its size, with 42% of total restaurants but only contributing 25% of systemwide sales. In terms of revenue, though, the IOM segment has taken the largest share for the past 3 years.

IOM Segment

In 2022, IOM accounted for 49% of global revenue, US for 41%, and IDL for 10%.

McDonald's statistics for IOM segment FY22

Within the IOM segment, the UK contributes the greatest percentage of revenue (20%), followed by France (18%) and Australia (13%).

In the IOM segment, the top 10 countries according to number of McDonald’s restaurants are:

  • France (1,536)
  • Canada (1,462)
  • Germany (1,425)
  • United Kingdom (1,397)
  • Australia (1,028)
  • Italy (669)
  • Spain (580)
  • Poland (517)
  • Switzerland (176)
  • New Zealand (168)

As of 2022, 89.1% of IOM restaurants were franchised. This jumped from around 84% in previous years due to the company selling its Russian operation in 2022, where 84% of its 847 restaurants were company-owned.

Percentage of franchised McDonald's restaurants in IOM segment

Australia has the highest percentage of Drive-Thru restaurants, with 85% having this feature. Next is France, with 80%, Canada and Germany, both with 75%, and the UK, with 70%.

80% of franchised restaurants in the UK make between £1.5 and £4.3 million in annual revenue, with a typical ROI of 20-25% over a 20-year term.

IDL Segment

McDonald's statistics for IDL segment FY22

The greatest percentage of revenue in the IDL segment comes from Latin America (13%), followed by the Middle East (12%) and Europe (10%).

From the IDL segment, the top 10 countries according to number of McDonald’s restaurants are:

  • China (4,978)
  • Japan (2,968)
  • Brazil (1,084)
  • Philippines (705)
  • South Korea (399)
  • Taiwan (409)
  • India (512)
  • Saudi Arabia (371)
  • Malaysia (341)
  • Hong Kong (250)

98% of restaurants in this segment are franchised. The majority of countries operate as 100% franchised, with South Korea the main anomaly at only 24% franchised.

Drive-Thrus are much less common in this segment. 50% of McDonald’s restaurants in Japan have a Drive-Thru, with 40% in Brazil and only 15% in China.

McDonald’s Charitable Work

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974, pioneered by Jim Murray, general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles. He partnered with McDonald’s to open the house after hearing about one of his players, Jim Murray, and his wife having to sleep on hospital chairs while their daughter received treatment for leukemia.

Ronald McDonald houses:

…allow parents who are far from home to stay close to their hospitalized child and benefit from the comforts of home without incurring hotel and food costs.

RMHC now operates over 380 of these programs in 48 countries, accommodating almost 10,000 families each night, as well as 269 family rooms and 39 mobile care units.

In 2022, over $182 million was donated to the charity by McDonald’s, its franchisees, and its customers.

Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources (HACER)

The McDonald’s HACER scholarship program has awarded over $33 million to more than 17,000 Hispanic students in the US since it launched in 1985.

In 2023, the program supported 31 Hispanic students with combined scholarships of half a million dollars.

The Future of McDonald’s

McDonald’s has become a mainstay of modern global culture since its inception and development in the 1940s and 50s. The famed Golden Arches appear on high streets and highways across the globe, selling a menu of food recognizable the world over.

The company aims to have 10,000 restaurants by the end of 2027. Along with the restaurant growth, the company aims to connect staff and restaurants through the adoption of Google Cloud technology, demonstrating its commitment to harnessing trending technology. McDonald’s also expects to see growth in its loyalty scheme, from the current 150 million members to 250 million users by 2027, making it one of the largest loyalty programs in the world.

The company’s mix of a tried and tested franchise model, a well-known menu and brand, and the ability to move with the times with work on ESG initiatives and digital updates, makes it resilient going forward.

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