The first McDonald's restaurant opened during 1948 in San Bernardino, California. Fast forward to August 2016 and McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is a $100 billion company with more than 37,241 locations, 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 115 countries. Here are the countries with the largest McDonald's presence, as of data compiled in October 2018.
Most McDonald's Restaurants
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 - 1,450 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.
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. Brazil - 812 locations
The largest South American market for McDonald's is found in Brazil, which is home to over 800 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.
10. 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.