Dick and Mac McDonald moved to California to seek opportunities they felt unavailable in New England. Failing in the movie business, they subsequently proved successful in operating drive-in restaurants. In 1948 they took a risk by streamlining their operations and introducing their Speedee Service System featuring 15 cent hamburgers. The restaurant’s success led the brothers to begin franchising their concept—nine becoming operating restaurants.
A native Chicagoan, Ray Kroc left high school after his sophomore year to join the World War One Red Cross Ambulance Corps. The war ended before his unit was sent overseas with Ray returning home to earn a living as a musician and later selling paper cups. In 1939, he became the exclusive distributor of the Multimixer (a milkshake mixing machine).
He visited the McDonald brothers in 1954 which led to him becoming their franchise agent. He opened up the first restaurant for McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of McDonald’s Corp. in Des Plaines, Illinois in April, 1955. McDonald’s acquired the rights to the brother’s company in 1961 for $2.7 million.
McDonald’s has a unique franchise model that empowers local entrepreneurs. Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President & Chief Executive Officer has set a long term plan to increase the percent of restaurants that are franchised. He describes the benefits of franchising as follows,
“By identifying strategic partners who share our values and vision to accelerate our growth and scale across diverse markets, we will drive innovation, becoming more relevant to our customers and the communities we serve.”
McDonald’s restaurants can be found in more than 100 countries around the globe. More than 90% of our restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent Franchisees.
The status of franchising in the markets where we currently do business is described on the market-specific pages identified by country selection in the box below.In many countries around the world we do not have a presence, and our current strategy is to focus on the markets where we do business. No firm date has been established for the opening of new markets. Those markets are referenced below. The process that we have in place for such markets is explained on market-specific pages by choosing a country via the selection box below - and clicking on the "GO" button.
In certain markets where we may have a presence but are not seeking franchisees, we have included instructions regarding those markets by using the country selection box below as well.
We sincerely appreciate your interest in McDonald's and your continued patronage of our restaurants.
Owning a McDonald’s restaurant is a tremendous opportunity. We are seeking individuals with significant business experience who have successfully owned or managed multiple business units or have led multiple departments and who have significant financial resources.
The franchisor operates Hamburger University (HU), the international training center for the McDonald's System. The content and duration of all operations courses, which are offered at HU and various local sites, are revised and reconsidered from time to time to meet the needs of the franchisees. All courses and learning events are offered at frequent intervals and are designed to give franchisees specific skill sets in the various facets of the conduct of a McDonald's restaurant.
The basic minimum core training, which franchisees must complete to be qualified to operate a McDonald’s restaurant, is known as the Restaurant Department Management (RDM) curriculum. RDM curriculum is deployed through Campus, which allows franchisees to complete and track the progress of their assigned learning online. It takes approximately two years to complete all RDM learning plans, from Shift Manager through General Manager.
The complete training program and materials include many elements. As part of the training program, franchisees must perform and master all of the crew and management functions at the restaurant. At the opening of the restaurant, an operations consultant will spend time with franchisees providing assistance and refinement of previous training and instruction.
Franchisees must complete the training program successfully before signing the Franchise Agreement or paying any money to the franchisor. There are no further mandatory training requirements for franchisees beyond the RDM curriculum.
However, annual meetings, conventions, various workshops, and other training sessions may be conducted on an ongoing basis within each region, and McDonald’s may require franchisees to pay for the costs associated with that ongoing training. Additionally, optional courses may be offered to franchisees or their employees for a fee.
How much money will I make?
Profitability depends on many factors including operating and occupancy costs, financing terms and most important, your ability to operate the business effectively.
Is there an opportunity to acquire more than one McDonald’s restaurant?
McDonald's is an equal opportunity franchisor by choice. McDonald’s is seeking individuals who are capable of operating multiple locations. Candidates who have successfully operated multiple businesses may be suited to operating several McDonald’s franchises.
Is McDonald’s seeking women and minority Owner/Operators?
McDonald’s is committed to increasing the number of minority and women operators and - to the best of our knowledge - has the single largest group of minority and women operators in our industry.
What is the availability of McDonald’s restaurants in my area?
The availability of restaurants in specific areas will be discussed during your initial interview. McDonald’s can not predict which restaurants will be available when your training is complete. Flexibility to relocate for a restaurant opportunity may be required.
I have a piece of property that would be ideal for a new McDonald’s restaurant; will McDonald’s develop the site and award the franchise to me?
The site selection process is separate from our franchisee selection process. We make the decision to develop a location because we believe it will be a success. McDonald’s manages all the site evaluation, acquires the property and constructs the building. After making the decision to develop a site, McDonald’s awards the franchise to the most qualified candidate. If you have a piece of property that you are interested in selling, please contact us.
Can you still get a McDonald’s franchise (in the United States) and how much does it cost?
Yes, McDonald’s continually seeks qualified individuals to become franchisees. Since the total cost varies from restaurant to restaurant, the minimum amount for a down payment will vary. Generally, we require a minimum of $500,000 of non-borrowed personal resources to consider you for a franchise. For more information about purchasing and financing a McDonald’s Franchise, please see the U.S. Franchising Home Page.
How can I become a non-U.S. McDonald’s franchisee?
McDonald’s franchises restaurants in many international markets, and decisions relating to the selection of candidates are made locally by the management in the country where the restaurant is located. For interest in specific markets regarding international franchising, please see the list of contacts and franchising information on the Global Franchising page of this web site. Links to individual market web sites are provided where available.