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, 420,000 full-time employees, 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 in end of year 2019.[cite]

Key Takeaways

  • McDonald's is a household name for fast foot, 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 - 14,146 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 14,146. 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 31% of McDonald's revenue comes from the United States, which is less than from Europe overall. Additionally, McDonald's has more locations than any other fast food restaurant in Europe, but this is not the case in the United States, where the location leader is the sandwich giant Subway.

2. Japan - around 2,975 locations

McDonald's first and most important Asian marketplace is Japan, where there were nearly 3,000 locations as of 2018. This is a shrinking or consolidating market, as there were 3,700 open McDonald's restaurants in Japan during 2007. In 2015, the company was closing a location in Japan on average every three 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. 

3. China - around 2,700 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 only Japan has more locations in Asia. Japan and China combine for roughly 20% of McDonald's total gross revenue. In a highly publicized release, McDonald's said in late 2017 that they plan to nearly double their Chinese outlets. 

4. Germany - 1,480 locations

Germany has the 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. 

5. Canada - 1,472 locations

Canada technically has more McDonald's than every European nation outside of Germany. 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 less than one-tenth the locations of its Southern neighbor. 

5. France - 1,419 locations

The densely populated country, well known for its fine dining, has embraced the novelty of McDonald's. In 2017, France was the second-largest European market for the hamburger chain.

6. The United Kingdom - 1,274 locations

Eurozone loves McDonald's. This region 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, which banned McDonald's to protect local restaurants. 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. 

7. Brazil - 1,000 locations

The largest South American market for McDonald's is found in Brazil, which is home to 1,000 locations. Brazil's government opened an investigation into McDonald's in March 2016 after complaints from unionized labor, regarding franchise owners. This fizzled out, and Brazil remains a strong satellite outpost for McDonald's.

8. Australia - 920 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, they have developed a McDonald's habit that is a steady revenue producer for the company. 

9. Russia - 649 locations

McDonald's managed to get into the Soviet Union just as the Iron Curtain was crumbling in 1990. It now operates almost 650 restaurants in Russia, opening 45 during 2016.

10. Philippines - 640 Locations

McDonald's Philippines, known locally as McDo, was introduced to the country in the 1970s under the supervision of Chinese-Filipino businessman George Yang, who secured exclusive franchising rights. By the 1990s, there were more then 375 locations, with 150 of those operated by sub-franchisees.