Toronto Star ePaper

■ McDonald’s announced an ambitious expansion plan, looking to add 10,000 new restaurants in four years.


McDonald’s expects to open nearly 10,000 restaurants over the next four years, a pace of growth that would be unprecedented even for the world’s largest burger chain.

At an investor update Wednesday, the Chicago burger giant said it aims to have 50,000 restaurants in operation worldwide by the end of 2027. McDonald’s had 40,275 restaurants at the start of this year.

It plans to open 900 new stores in the U.S. and 1,900 in international markets with company operated and franchised restaurants like Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia. McDonald’s plans another 7,000 stores in international markets that are operated by licensees. More than half of those stores would be in China.

McDonald’s said the explosive growth of delivery demand makes it critical to get restaurant locations even closer to customers so food can arrive faster and hotter. McDonald’s delivery made up $1 billion (U.S.) in global sales in 2017; that has grown to more than $16 billion.

CEO Chris Kempczinski said new restaurants will likely have dedicated pickup areas for delivery drivers to ease restaurant congestion. But he said it’s important to open actual restaurants and not just delivery-only kitchens.

Kempczinski said he’s not concerned about cannibalizing sales from existing McDonald’s locations. In the U.S., he said, population shifts have left many parts of the country underserved. McDonald’s also wants to prevent competitors from snatching up good real estate, he said.

Manu Steijaert, McDonald’s chief customer officer, said it took 33 years for the company to open its first 10,000 restaurants; by comparison, it took 18 years to grow from 30,000 to 40,000.

The company is feeling pressure to keep up with fast-growing peers. Starbucks said last month it plans to open 55,000 stores globally by 2030, up from 38,000 today.

The company is focused on core menu items like Quarter Pounders and fries which, according to McDonald’s, make up 65 per cent of sales systemwide.





Toronto Star Newspapers Limited