The first McDonald's restaurant opened in 1948 in San Bernardino, California. Fast forward to 2020 and McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is a $150 billion company with more than 38,600 locations in over 100 countries, and 1.9 million total workers around the world. The United States is home to the most McDonald's locations, but there are plenty of other Big Mac lovers worldwide.

McDonald's first entered international markets in 1967 by expanding into Canada and Puerto Rico. Since that time, the iconic fast-food empire has established restaurants across more than 100 countries. Here are the countries with the largest McDonald's presence, as of data compiled at the end of 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • McDonald's is a household name for fast food, with its iconic golden arches recognized all over the world.
  • The company brings in tens of billions of dollars of revenues each year with more than 38,000 locations in over 100 countries.
  • Here we look at the countries with the most locations where the U.S. dominates.

1. The United States: 13,486 locations

While some sources claim that there are closer to 16,000 McDonald's outlets in the United States, the official figure is a little lower at 13,486. The most McDonald's locations can be found in states with the largest populations, such as New York, California, and Texas, but the states with the highest concentration of restaurants are Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Maryland, and Louisiana. 

Only around 37% of McDonald's revenue comes from the United States, which is less than from their international operated markets, which include several European countries, Australia, and Canada. Additionally, McDonald's has more locations than any other fast food restaurant in both the United States, having regained the lead from Subway over the last few years, and Europe. 

2. China: 3,383 locations

While the golden arches reached Japan in 1971, Hong Kong in 1975, and the Philippines in 1981, China did not allow McDonald's until 1990. Growth has been strong since, and now China has more locations than any other country in Asia. In 2018, high growth markets, which include China and a few other countries, combined for roughly 19% of McDonald's total revenue.

In a highly publicized release, McDonald's said in August 2017 that it plans to nearly double its Chinese outlets.

3. Japan: 2,909 locations

McDonald's first and most important Asian marketplace is Japan, where there were nearly 3,000 locations as of 2020. This is a shrinking or consolidating market, as there were 3,746 open McDonald's restaurants in Japan during 2007.

In 2015, the company was closing a location in Japan on average every 2.4 days. Store closings continued as McDonald's struggled with higher input costs and a health-conscious consumer base, but the trend seems to be slowing. 

4. France: 1,485 locations

This densely populated country, well known for its fine dining, has embraced the novelty of McDonald's. In 2019, France was the largest European market for the hamburger chain.

5. Germany: 1,484 locations

Germany has the second-largest McDonald's presence in Europe, operating almost 1,500 outlets across the country. Given the German propensity toward speed and convenience, it is no wonder the fast-food model of McDonald's has thrived in an otherwise very healthy-conscious country.

6. Canada: 1,478 locations

Canada technically has more McDonald's than every European nation outside of Germany and France. The first Canadian McDonald's opened in Richmond, British Columbia, in June 1967. Canada may be nuzzling the United States, but it looks like the massive country isn't taking the same approach to cuisine, having only about one-tenth the locations of its Southern neighbor. 

7. The United Kingdom: 1,323 locations

Europe seems to love McDonald's. International operated markets, which includes the U.K., France, Germany, several other European countries, Australia, and Canada, boasts the restaurant chain's greatest amount of revenue, as well as its highest margins. In fact, McDonald's is the largest fast-food chain in virtually every European nation, with odd exceptions such as Iceland, where McDonald's closed in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis.

Together, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom account for more than half of the European McDonald's. It is doubtful that Brexit will affect this specific consumer habit. 

8. Brazil: 1,023 locations

The largest South American market for McDonald's is found in Brazil, which is home to 1,023 locations. Brazil's government opened an investigation into McDonald's in 2015 after complaints from unionized labor, regarding franchise owners. This fizzled out, and Brazil remains a strong satellite outpost for McDonald's.

9. Australia: 999 locations

McDonald's in Australia remains a highly profitable market, crossing over the $4 billion sales mark year after year. For a country so sparsely populated, it has developed a McDonald's habit that is a steady revenue producer for the company. 

10. Russia: 732 locations

McDonald's managed to get into the Soviet Union just as the Iron Curtain was crumbling in 1990. It now operates almost 732 restaurants in Russia, opening 50 during 2017.

11. Philippines: 669 Locations

McDonald's Philippines, known locally as McDo, was introduced to the country in the 1981 under the supervision of Chinese-Filipino businessman George Yang, who secured exclusive franchising rights. By the 1990s, there were more than 375 locations, with 150 of those operated by sub-franchisees.