Source: McDonald's Financial Information Workbook; Statista 2020
The fastfood industry is not safe from the impact of COVID-19. In 2020, 200 McDonald’s locations in the United States permanently closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50% of the closed units were categorized as “low-volume restaurants” located in Walmart stores. Despite its status, McDonald’s still felt the weight of the pandemic as operational changes in its restaurants were implemented to minimize health risks.
In this article, we will not only look into the number of McDonald’s restaurants pre- and post-COVID-19, we will also examine how the world’s leading quick-service restaurant adapted to the drastic changes, as well as its future plans.
The country with the highest number of McDonald’s not just in North America, but worldwide, as expected, is the United States. As of 2019, McDonald’s is the leading quick-service restaurant chain in the United States in terms of systemwide sales, accounting for approximately $40.41 billion.
If you go to the United States, it seems like there’s a McDonald’s on every corner. So it’s normal to assume that whichever state you go to in the US, you’ll find a McDonald’s. It’s true for the most part. Forty-nine out of the 50 states in the US have McDonald’s. The odd city out? Montpelier, Vermont.
To be fair, Montpelier is the smallest capital in terms of population size, with only about 7,500 people. Furthermore, Montpelier tends to favor local businesses over large chains. For what it’s worth, it doesn’t have Burger King as well.
As of June 2020, McDonald’s reported revenues of $8,475.9 million, a decrease from the $10,433.9 million reported revenue for the same quarter in the previous fiscal year. Globally, the comparable sales declined by 23.9% and the consolidated revenues also declined by 30% during the first six months of 2020. Despite the decline in revenue, McDonald’s remains the most valuable quick-service restaurant brand in the world in 2020 followed by Starbucks and KFC.
McDonald’s might definitely not confirm the exact number of how many big macs have been sold worldwide since the iconic sandwich launched, but the restaurant reports that they serve roughly 550 million Big Macs every year in the US alone.
This equates to more than 1.5 million Big Macs sold in the US every single day of the year. A website named Every Second is a dedicated counter that shows the number of Big Mac and other signature McDonald’s items sold every second.
The Big Mac Index is regarded as an indicator of the purchasing power of an economy. It’s been published by The Economist since 1986 and is rated as a simplified gauge of a country’s individual purchasing power. For context, the Big Mac debuted at just $0.45 back in 1967 in Uniontown, PA.
The first McDonald’s restaurant was established in 1948 in San Bernardino, California by brothers Maurice (Mac) and Richard McDonald. They bought appliances for their small burger place from salesman Ray Kroc, who got curious as to why the brothers needed the eighth malt and shake mixers.
When Kroc visited the brothers in 1954, he discovered a simple, efficient format that allowed the brothers to produce huge quantities of food at low prices. Kroc saw great potential in their restaurant concept so he offered to start a franchise program for the McDonald brothers. On April 15, 1955, he opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, and eventually launched the McDonald’s corporation the same year, then bought out the McDonald’s brothers in 1961.
Spoon University reported the top 10 best-selling McDonald’s items in North America. And as expected, their french fries is still the most popular item on their menu. It’s been so since they first opened their doors in the 1940s. Their french fries have a distinctive flavor that comes from the addition of beef flavor.
A Zagat survey conducted in 2007, ranked McDonald’s fries as the best tasting one according to 63% of those surveyed. Burger King and Wendy’s were tied in second place at a measly 10% each.
As of February 2021, the average hourly pay for McDonald’s cashiers in the US is $16.27 per hour. ZipRecruiter reported that the salary of McDonald’s employees can go as high as $30.77 and as low as $6.97, the salary in the cashier category ranges from $9.86 to $21.88.
San Jose, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Source: ZipRecruiter 2021Designed by
During the first half of 2020, almost all of McDonald’s locations worldwide remained open despite the pandemic. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and strict regulations mandated in some states (limited operating hours, reduced seating capacity, etc.), McDonald’s reported a decline in guest counts in the first six months of the year in the US.
This, however, is not the first time McDonald’s experienced financial decline. In fact, in 2017, McDonald’s experienced its first uptick in four years through the introduction of all-day breakfast, which helped drive customer traffic by 1%. Then CEO Steve Easterbrook believed that the key to turning around the once-stumbling chain, with 14,000 restaurants across the US, included a generous dose of modernizing its outdated restaurants and adding healthy options on their menu.
The plan seemed to work—until it didn’t. McDonald’s was losing customers in the US compared to a year ago. Easterbrook explained this is partly because more people opt to have breakfast elsewhere.
McDonald’s feeds 25 million people per day, which is about 7.5% of the US population. That equates to more than 75 hamburgers every minute globally. According to company estimates, one in every eight American workers has been employed by McDonald’s. For the next three years, McDonald’s is going to open one restaurant every day in China.
McDonald’s is undeniably the world’s leading quick-service restaurant with more than 15,000 locations in North America. The majority of the restaurants are located in the US, and Canada has the second largest number of McDonald’s restaurants in the region. Guam and Saipan both have less than 10 locations, while Cuba only has one known McDonald’s restaurant.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile ordering tripled in 2020 and this number does not include orders for delivery. For 2021, McDonald’s announced the “Accelerating the Arches” strategy plan, which focuses on maximizing marketing efforts and operational improvements, such as drive-thru speed and its in-demand items. One of the main focuses of this new strategy is the digital transformation aimed at providing customers with a faster and more convenient drive-thru and online delivery experience.
With this technology-driven initiative, it’s safe to stay that the fastfood chain is here to stay and keep up with the demands of the ever-changing world, industry, and customer behavior. Although 2020 had been a challenge and the future remains uncertain, McDonald’s is banking on its modernization to continue its dominance in North America and the world.
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