Number of McDonald's Restaurants Worldwide

McDonald's Q4 Same Store Sales Growth Rises To Highest Level In 6 Years
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According to the McDonald's Corporation website as of January 2020, McDonald's has locations in over 100 countries. More than 38,000 restaurants around the world serve 69 million people every day. However, some of those locations listed as "countries" are not independent countries at all, such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which are United States territories, and Hong Kong, which at the time of establishment was under British control, before its handoff to China.

On the flipside, there is a McDonald's on the island of Cuba, though it's technically not on Cuban soil—it's on the American base at Guantanamo, so it qualifies as an American location. Regardless of country definition, more than 90% of restaurant locations in the U.S. are owned and operated by franchisees. Approximately 210,000 people worked for McDonald's at year-end in 2018, according to the company's 2019 SEC report. In 2019, consolidated revenue for the fast-food restaurant amounted to $21.1 billion.

In 1955, Ray Kroc opened his first location in Illinois (the original restaurant being in California); by 1958, the company had sold its 100 millionth hamburger. Just two years later, the company officially went international, opening in Canada (Richmond, British Columbia) and Puerto Rico in 1967. Canada now has 1,400 McDonald's restaurants and these locations are the biggest restaurant buyer of Canadian beef in the country.

Different McMenus Worldwide

Besides buying their ingredients where they operate, McDonald's restaurants around the world adapt their menus to local tastes; Japan serves a pork patty teriyaki burger and "Seaweed Shaker", or chocolate-drizzled fries; Germany serves a shrimp cocktail; Italy's burgers are topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; Australia offers a guac salsa or bacon cheese sauce as a topping for fries; and French customers are able to order a caramel banana shake.

Available only in Switzerland is the McRaclette, a sandwich of beef that includes slices of raclette cheese, gherkin pickles, onions, and a special raclette sauce. But forget the beef in India. There, the menu includes vegetarian options and cooks in the kitchen specialize—people cooking meat don't cook the vegetarian dishes. 

Historically Significant Worldwide Locations

During the Cold War, some of openings of the countries' McDonald's restaurants were seen as historic events, such as the first ones in East Germany shortly after the Berlin Wall fell in late 1989, in Russia (then the U.S.S.R.) in 1990 (thanks to perestroika and glasnost), as well as in other Eastern Bloc nations and China during the early 1990s. 

Is McDonald's the Largest Fast-Food Chain in the World?

McDonald's is a huge and mighty fast-food chain but it is not the largest. Subway is the largest with more than 40,000 stores in 112 countries. Again, many of these "countries" are merely territories, and Subway's restaurant count includes those that are part of other buildings (as half of a convenience store, for example) rather than only standalone restaurant locations.

The third runner-up is Starbucks with more than 30,000 stores in 80 markets. KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) can be enjoyed in 23,000 locations in more than 140 countries, according to its official website. Pizza Hut is another widely spread food chain that began in the United States and it has more than 16,000 restaurants in over 100 countries.

View Article Sources
  1. "McDonald's Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results and Quarterly Cash Dividend." McDonald's Newsroom. McDonald's Corporation, 29 Jan. 2020.

  2. "U.S. Franchising." McDonald's Corporation.

  3. Ozan, Kevin M. "McDonald's Corporation Form 10-K." United States Securities and Exchange Commission, 22 Feb. 2019.

  4. "Our History." McDonald's Corporation.

  5. "Our History." McDonald's Corporation.

  6. "History." Subway.

  7. "Starbucks Company Profile." Starbucks.

  8. "What Made Us Great Is Still What Makes Us Great." Kentucky Fried Chicken.

  9. "Our Story." HutLife.

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Rosenberg, Matt. "Number of McDonald's Restaurants Worldwide." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, August 27). Number of McDonald's Restaurants Worldwide. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "Number of McDonald's Restaurants Worldwide." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 25, 2021).