Mcdonald’s Business Model | How Mcdonald’s Makes Money?

McDonald’s is one of the world’s most successful fast-food chains, with more than 36,000 locations in over 100 countries. It has long been a leader in innovation and business model development for the industry.

This article will explore how McDonald’s makes money through its global operations and evolving strategies.

In order to understand McDonald’s financial success, it is important to review its core revenue sources. These include restaurant sales from franchised and company-owned restaurants; other income such as royalties paid by franchisees; rent payments made by franchisees; and miscellaneous revenues generated through various partnerships or investments.

The analysis presented here provides an overview of the different streams of revenue that contribute to McDonald’s profitability.

Franchised Restaurants

McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading franchises, operating more than 37,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. The company has established itself as a leader through strong branding strategies and menu customization that appeal to customers from all backgrounds.

Most McDonald’s locations are owned and operated by franchisees who pay an initial fee for the rights to use the name and logo along with ongoing royalties based on sales volumes. This business model allows McDonald’s to expand rapidly while managing costs associated with owning and operating its own stores.

Franchisees benefit from being part of a well-known brand that provides marketing support, standardized product recipes, menus prices, packaging design, point-of-sale systems and training programs.

This franchised restaurant system enables McDonald’s to maintain global consistency across their operations while giving individual owners flexibility when it comes to localizing certain elements such as menu items or services offerings.

By leveraging both centralized and decentralized approaches, McDonald’s has been able to be successful worldwide while expanding into new markets quickly and efficiently.

Company-Owned Restaurants

McDonald’s business model relies heavily on company-owned restaurants, which make up around 60% of the 36,000 McDonald’s locations worldwide. These establishments are owned and operated by McDonald’s Corporation itself as opposed to franchises that are independently owned by individuals or entities.

The flow of money through these corporate stores is an essential part of how McDonald’s makes its profits. This starts with employee wages, which account for a portion of operating expenses. Employee salaries vary depending upon location and experience level; however, they are typically competitive in comparison to other fast food chains within their respective markets.

In addition to employee wages, supply chain costs also factor into the equation; this includes purchasing goods such as food ingredients and kitchen equipment from suppliers who provide those materials at various prices based on market conditions and demand.

Finally, the remaining revenue generated from sales made at each individual store goes back to McDonald’s Corporation in order to pay for overhead expenses such as rent/lease payments, utilities, advertising costs and more. The combination of all of these factors helps contribute to the overall earnings potential for each establishment under the control of McDonald’s Corporation.

McDonald’s Corporation has a board of directors that oversees corporate operations.

Royalties From Franchisees

McDonald’s business model relies heavily on its franchising operations, which account for the majority of their global revenues. According to a recent report by MarketWatch, McDonald’s has more than 38,000 locations around the world and generates over $40 billion in annual sales from these restaurants.

The company earns much of its profits through royalty payments collected from franchisees based on a percentage of gross sales. These royalties have grown steadily as McDonald’s expands into new markets and increases advertising expenditure to promote its brand globally. In 2018, they spent $2.45 billion dollars on advertising alone and invested an additional sum in supplier costs.

This money is used to cover operational costs such as rent and food purchases at individual restaurant outlets. As a result, total royalties received by the parent company reached approximately 5% of overall revenue in 2019. The franchising system also allows McDonald’s to spread out investments across multiple parties rather than taking financial risks themselves.

By sharing startup capital with franchise owners who are responsible for daily operations and ongoing maintenance, McDonald’s is able to reduce overhead expenses while still maintaining high levels of control over product quality standards worldwide.

Rent Payments From Franchisees

McDonald’s business model is based primarily on rent payments from its franchisees. The company collects a significant portion of its profits through these rent payments, and as such it has become an integral component of the chain’s profitability.

In order to ensure continued success, McDonald’s negotiated leases with all its franchisees that are mutually beneficial for both parties. This allows McDonald’s to maintain control over their supply chain while allowing franchisees to operate independently within the parameters set by the parent organization.

The lease agreements provide franchisees with the ability to have flexible terms, such as when rental or service fees are due and how long they last for. This provides a level of stability for McDonald’s in that it can receive regular income from its locations without having to heavily invest upfront capital in them and risk financial losses if there is less-than-ideal performance at any location.

At the same time, this flexibility benefits franchisee owners by giving them freedom to adjust operations depending on local conditions and customer preferences which may not be mirrored across multiple franchised locations.

Product Sales

McDonald’s is a fast food chain with restaurants located around the world. It makes money primarily through product sales, which include burgers and fries. The company has developed various marketing strategies to expand its customer base and increase revenue.

To maintain high food quality standards, McDonald’s uses premium ingredients in all of their products. All foods are made following strict guidelines that ensure consistency across all locations. This ensures customers have a reliable dining experience every time they visit one of McDonald’s locations. Additionally, McDonald’s offers value meals at low prices to give customers more options when ordering from the menu.

In order to promote its product offerings, McDonald’s relies on aggressive advertising campaigns featuring popular sports personalities, movie stars, and other celebrities as well as traditional media outlets like television and radio commercials. Moreover, it utilizes digital platforms such as social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to reach out to younger audience segments. These efforts help create awareness among potential new customers who may not be familiar with the brand otherwise.

By taking advantage of both traditional and modern marketing approaches while providing consistent quality food products at affordable prices, McDonald’s continues to remain competitive in the global market despite competition from similar fast-food chains.


McDonald’s has long employed various marketing strategies and branding tactics to ensure that its products remain relevant, recognizable, and successful in the marketplace. The company’s most recent initiatives have included:

  • Developing a comprehensive digital platform for customers which allows them to order food through mobile devices or computers;

  • Utilizing social media channels as avenues of communication between McDonald’s and their customers;

  • Investing in television advertising campaigns that feature current popular culture elements such as celebrities or sports teams.

In addition to these modern approaches, McDonald’s also engages in traditional marketing such as promotional items like toys given away with Happy Meals, billboards along major highways, radio advertisements and even print ads. These methods are used to increase brand recognition, attract new customers and maintain loyalty from existing ones.

Merchandise is another way McDonald’s attempts to reach consumers. From t-shirts and hats featuring the iconic golden arches logo, to special edition mugs that promote seasonal drinks — there is something for everyone at any age group who may be interested in collecting memorabilia related to the fast food giant.

By employing innovative technology solutions alongside classic merchandising techniques, McDonald’s strives to stay ahead of competitors while simultaneously connecting with customers on multiple levels. With an expansive list of services offered both online and offline, McDonald’s has created an impressive network of support for its global operations.

Digital Services

  1. McDonald’s has adopted mobile ordering as an integral part of its business model, allowing customers to order and pay for their food from their smartphones.

  2. McDonald’s also makes money through digital advertising, using targeted ads to reach customers through social media and other digital platforms.

  3. The restaurant chain has also increased its focus on delivery services, partnering with delivery companies such as Uber Eats and Grubhub to bring their food directly to customers’ homes.

  4. The digital services offered by McDonald’s have allowed the company to reach more customers and expand its market share.

  5. The efficiency of the digital services has allowed McDonald’s to reduce its costs and increase its profits.

  6. McDonald’s has seen a significant increase in sales since implementing its digital services strategy, demonstrating the effectiveness of the business model.

Mobile Ordering

The mobile ordering revolution is enabling McDonald’s to expand their digital services. Through the use of apps, customers can now order and pay for meals in advance – all through their phone! The convenience of delivery, takeaway or drive thru service means that customers don’t have to wait in lines anymore and they can get their meal quickly and easily.

By providing these digital services, McDonalds has made it easier than ever before for customers to access its products while at the same time increasing the overall customer experience.

McDonald’s also offers online coupons and deals via its app which incentivizes more people to purchase from them instead of competitors. These discounts are often distributed exclusively on the platform as a way to reward loyal customers who continue coming back.

As such, mobile ordering helps increase engagement between customers and McDonald’s. Not only does this create a better user experience but it also encourages loyalty amongst consumers which drives up sales figures significantly.

In addition, with many new technological advancements making their way into the food industry, McDonald’s was quick to jump onboard in offering additional features such as virtual reality tours inside restaurants across different countries or augmented reality games available on select menu items – allowing users to engage with content in an exciting new way.

This demonstrates how important digital innovation is becoming within fast-food chains today and how much impact technology is having on business models like those of McDonald’s around the world.

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising has become a key factor in the success of digital services offered by McDonald’s. Through online marketing, McDonalds can target customers with ads tailored to their interests and needs. This helps them maximize the return on investment for each advertisement they put out.

Additionally, data analytics allow McDonald’s to track customer behavior across different platforms which gives them better insight into what works best when it comes to engaging customers. For example, using this data they are able to measure how effective certain campaigns have been and adjust their strategies accordingly.

By leveraging these tools strategically, McDonald’s is able to reach more people who may be interested in their products while also driving up sales figures significantly. As such, digital advertising provides great potential for any fast-food chain looking to increase its presence in today’s competitive market place.

Delivery Services

In recent years, delivery services have become a popular way for customers to enjoy their favorite fast food without leaving the comfort of their home.

McDonald’s offers takeout options through a variety of different platforms such as its own website and mobile app, as well as third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash.

By utilizing these various methods, McDonald’s is able to offer its customers more convenience when ordering from them.

Furthermore, by partnering with major online delivery services, McDonald’s has been able to reach even more potential customers who may not be aware of their offerings otherwise.

The company has also used this opportunity to expand its presence in new markets around the world.

Ultimately, offering flexible delivery options allows McDonald’s to keep up with shifting consumer preferences and stay competitive in today’s digital landscape.

Licensing Agreements

McDonald’s business model relies heavily on its licensing agreements. These agreements allow the company to provide specialized services, such as food delivery and marketing campaigns. By obtaining these licenses, McDonald’s can offer quality products that meet customer demands while making profits from the arrangement.

Furthermore, franchisees benefit by having access to a large network of resources and customers. The terms of each license are tailored to the specific needs of both parties. For example, some may require McDonald’s to pay rent or other fees in exchange for permission to operate within another organization’s premises. Additionally, they might include provisions related to product supply, sales targets, and advertising costs.

As part of their agreement with franchisors, McDonald’s also offers incentives such as discounts on equipment rental and menu items when certain conditions are met. Through these partnerships with local businesses, McDonald’s has been able to expand into new markets more quickly than if it had done so alone. This strategy has allowed them to increase overall revenue and reach a wider audience with fewer upfront investments needed from traditional expansion methods.

In addition, the relationships built through these arrangements have enabled McDonald’s to gain valuable insight into regional trends in consumer tastes and preferences which helps inform future decisions about product offerings and pricing strategies.

Property Leases

McDonald’s business model relies heavily on property leases. The company has been able to acquire prime real estate locations in many countries, which helps them maintain a competitive edge over their rivals. McDonald’s spends considerable resources in its branding strategies and media marketing campaigns that are designed to create a positive image of the restaurant chain among consumers.

These efforts help lure customers into the restaurants located at these premium sites, providing them with an opportunity for increased sales. In addition to property leases, McDonald’s also uses franchising as part of its business model. Franchises allow entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to purchase rights to use the company name and logo and open up their own stores with minimal start-up costs compared to traditional businesses.

The cost of opening a franchise is significantly lower than it would be if they were required to lease or buy properties outright. This allows any entrepreneur who wishes to invest in the McDonald’s brand access without having large capital investments upfront. The combination of leasing property as well as utilizing franchises gives McDonald’s global presence without having ownership stakes in every location where food services are provided under their banner.

It enables them to expand rapidly while keeping overhead considerably low compared with other companies that rely exclusively on purchasing land and buildings for operations. As such, this approach continues to pay dividends for McDonald’s worldwide success in the fast food industry even today.

Investment Income

McDonald’s has long been a leader in the fast food industry, and its business model is based on strategic partnerships with suppliers, franchisees, and other stakeholders.

Through these relationships McDonald’s is able to ensure that it makes money from every aspect of its operations.

For example, McDonald’s owns many of the buildings where its restaurants are located, which enables them to receive rent payments from their tenant-franchisees.

Additionally, McDonald’s engages in financial analysis to identify opportunities for improved profitability. By leveraging its network of partners and utilizing sophisticated financial modeling techniques, McDonalds can maximize returns while still providing value to shareholders.

In order to generate additional revenue streams, McDonald’s also invests in real estate development projects as well as securities such as stocks and bonds.

This investment income helps offset operating costs and gives McDonald’s an edge over competitors who do not invest in similar ventures.

Through careful management of operational costs and investments, McDonald’s has maintained strong growth across all areas of their business.

The company continues to focus on building partnerships that allow it to diversify its revenue sources while continuing to provide high quality products at competitive prices.

By doing so they have positioned themselves as one of the most profitable companies in the world today.


McDonald’s has maintained a successful business model for decades. Its combination of franchised and company-owned restaurants, royalties from franchisees, and rent payments have all contributed to its success.

In addition, product sales, digital services, licensing agreements, property leases, and investment income also play a role in their revenue streams.

It is clear that McDonald’s understands the importance of diversifying their income sources in order to maintain strong profits. This strategy allows them to continue thriving despite economic fluctuations in any one sector.

Overall, McDonald’s smart fiscal planning serves as an example for other companies to follow.

Leave a Comment