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Who Owns McDonald’s?

The McDonald’s logo, with its golden arches, is one of the most recognizable logos around the world. Hungry guests of all ages have loved this fast food joint since brothers Maurice (“Mac”) and Richard McDonald opened their first drive-in location in 1940.

However, it’s been over 80 years since then, and things have changed quite a bit. So who owns McDonald’s now?

Let’s dive in and look behind the scenes of this multi-billion dollar Happy Meal-selling business.

The Story of McDonald’s? 

McDonald’s is arguably one of the most popular fast-food chains in the industry. There are more than 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. You can find a McDonald’s on every continent, excluding Antarctica. You can find a McDonald’s within the city limits of 49 out of the 50 state capitals in the United States. Seriously, Montpelier, Vermont?

The brand was the first to launch a designated kid’s meal, which they call the Happy Meal. This launched in 1977 and had a regular-size burger, fries, Keebler cookies, a soda, and a Cracker Jack surprise toy. Other fast food chains adopted the concept, but McDonald’s has leveraged their Happy Meal to create partnerships with big-time movie productions and toy companies. 

Who Owns McDonald’s?

While Richard and Maurice McDonald started the restaurant in 1940, Ray Kroc bought the duo out in 1961. Institutional investors own most (69.44%) of the McDonald’s Corporation. However, local business owners in the community own 93% of 38,000+ McDonald’s locations worldwide. These local owners and operators take pride in their locations and are responsible for upholding specific standards.

Pro Tip: Can you guess where McDonald’s ranked among the 5 Best (and 5 Worst) Fast Food Burgers?

Woman eating McDonalds burger and fries
Nothing beats a burger and fries from the famous Golden Arches franchise.

How Much Is a McDonald’s Franchise Fee?

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a McDonald’s, it’s possible. However, you’ll need deep pockets. The franchise fee for McDonald’s is $45,000. However, that’s not all that it takes.

To start a McDonald’s franchise location, you’ll need a total investment of approximately $1 to $2.2 million. You’ll also need roughly $750,000 readily available as liquid capital. This can make starting a franchise from the ground up feel like too much of a gamble. Many owners and operators find purchasing an existing restaurant easier than establishing a new one.

How Much Does McDonald’s Make a Day?

With more than 38,000 locations open seven days a week and only closed a couple of days each year, it’s no surprise that McDonald’s makes a tremendous amount of money. In 2021, McDonald’s generated $23.223 billion in revenue. To determine their daily revenue, we’ll divide this total by the 365 days in 2021. This gives us an average of $63.625 million per day. That’s a lot of Happy Meals and Big Macs!

McDonalds burger with a bite out of it
From breakfast to dinner, McDonald’s has quick and easy meal options to enjoy.

How Much Does It Cost McDonald’s to Make One Burger?

While McDonald’s doesn’t state how much it costs to make a burger, many estimates exist. Typically, a standard cheeseburger costs around $1.05 to produce. As a result, when McDonald’s runs the $1 cheeseburger promotion, many stores lose money on these cheeseburgers. However, the sales of french fries, beverages, and treats typically more than make up for any lost revenues.

The cost of making a burger is challenging to pinpoint because it’s not only the supplies that go into the costs of making the sandwiches. Stores must pay their workers, utilities, and other expenses, which can drive costs. The more burgers, fries, and treats a store sells, the easier it is to pay those expenses and take care of the facilities.

What Items Does McDonald’s Make the Most Profit On?

You might be surprised that McDonald’s doesn’t make the most revenue from its famous Big Macs or Happy Meals. McDonald’s makes the most profit from its beverages. Despite already having the cheapest soft drinks among fast food restaurants, McDonald’s still makes big bucks from them. They sell their drinks for $1 and profit $.90 on each transaction. Their most significant expense is the cups they use. Ice and soda are inexpensive, with only a few pennies per soda.

McDonald’s also greatly profits from their Big Mac sandwich and Ranch Crispy Wrap. Some estimates are that McDonald’s makes approximately $1 in profits on every Big Mac they sell and $.57 on every Ranch Crispy Wrap. However, prices vary by location, and some areas offer region-specific items that could be more or less profitable.

Pro Tip: Go on a road trip to The World’s Largest McDonald’s for a burger and fries.

Is McDonald’s Food Worth It?

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, McDonald’s is one option to consider. With so many locations, there’s bound to be one near you. You may even pass multiple McDonald’s locations when driving from one place to the next. It seems everywhere you look; there’s a McDonald’s. They have some classic items on their menu, like the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Unique, limited-time menu options like the McRib appear now and then.

What’s your favorite fast food place to eat? Tell us in the comments!

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