It truly seems that no matter which corner of the globe you may find yourself in, the golden arches are not so far away. McDonald’s is one of the biggest restaurant franchises in the world. Their PR is definitely on point and there are many things that a startup restaurant can learn from them but one sure thing they’ve managed to get right is to appeal to people from all walks of life – from Africa, to Asia, to Australia…you can find people indulging in their Big Macs and children loving their Happy Meals everywhere.
McDonald's operates in over 120 countries and has around 68 million customers each day! Now that’s called an empire! It is, therefore, a surprise for us to travel to a country and not see those iconic golden arches anywhere. You may think that they are “just around the corner” but as you ask the locals, you’ll find that there is no McDonald's at all in the country. Yep, that’s right. Believe it or not, some countries can’t stand McD’s. Scroll down below as we take you through countries that love McD’s and have the most restaurants, as well as countries that can’t stand it.
20 Consumes The Most McDonald's: USA
Number 20 on the list should come as no surprise. After all, this is the home of the golden arches. When visiting America, it may seem that there’s a McDonald’s restaurant in almost every corner and well…there’s one in ALMOST every corner. There are over 14 000 restaurants across the United States. Perhaps the most loved item on the menu is the iconic Big Mac, which turned 50 this year. Business Insider spoke to the CEO, Steve Easterbrook, who explained that “It’s not often that any food item is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. It’s America’s burger. There’s even a museum dedicated to it”.
19 Can't Stand It: Bermuda
You may have heard of Bermuda before. If you’re not sure where it is – it’s positioned in the North Atlantic Ocean and it is the oldest of all the British Overseas Territories. This island country makes its way onto our list as a land that cannot stand McDonald’s. Before the McD’s fanatics out there get a little offended, we just want to say - don’t be. It turns out that the government actually put a ban on all foreign restaurants in the country, to allow the growth and development of local restaurants. This totally makes sense and we definitely can’t hate on that.
18 Consumes The Most McDonald's: China
China is one of the most visited countries in the world. Every year, millions of people from around the world make their way to the country and explore all the culture, cuisines, fashion and architecture that the country has to offer. A visit to China will truly leave you mesmerized by all the beauty of the country. When you’re out there, you’ll also likely come across a number of McDonald’s restaurants. There are around 2 000 restaurants across the country. It is also interesting to note the Chinese seem to love American Chain Restaurants because they also have a number of Starbucks and KFC’s as well.
17 Can't Stand It: Iran
Number 17 on our list is a bit of a sad one. Why? Well, because there was once McDonald’s in the country, until in 1979 when all the restaurants were shut down. Imagine regularly getting your Big Mac and French Fries on a Saturday morning at a spot just around the corner and then one day, waking up to find that it is no longer there. You’ll then enquire about where they might have moved to because restaurants do that all the time - only to find that they have completely left the country and there are no ways of getting yourself your favorite Saturday lunch meal! Yeah, that must have been a painful one for all the McD lovers in Iran.
16 Consumes The Most McDonald's: France
It may come as a surprise to many people to see that France also can’t get enough of the golden arches. We know that the French certainly love their sophisticated cuisine and wine. So then how does McD’s fit in within this country? How does a country that is well known for Beef Bourguignon and Chocolate Souffle understand American Cheeseburgers and Fries? Well, it seems that they not only understand them, but love it as well. A writer who visited a French McDonald’s restaurant explains on Planet D that “It is immensely popular and filled with crowds. We saw several generations of people sitting together enjoying cheeseburgers and Big Macs”.
15 Can't Stand It: Bolivia
The central South American country of Bolivia makes its way onto our list as one that just can’t stomach McDonald’s. As a franchise that operates all over the world, McDonald’s knows how to operate in the different corners of the world. It also tried to operate in Bolivia, for 14 years to be precise, but it seems that the locals just really aren’t into fast-foods. Tree Hugger highlights that “For 14 years, McDonald’s attempted to court Bolivians into making a habit out of eating their processed menu items, only to experience an overwhelming, nation-wide rejection”. McDonald’s officially left Bolivian soil in 2002.
14 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Canada
As a neighboring country to the US, it is no surprise to find Canada on this list of countries that consume the most McDonald’s. It seems though, that the reason why McDonald’s is so popular is Canada is because there is also a constant push from the executives to market it in the country. Fab News highlights the Fries Stream that occurred on #NationalFrenchFryDay and allowed Canadian McDonald’s fans to shout their love for the fries. “McDonald’s launched the first-ever Freestream, a live stream of a drive-thru speaker that was built on top of Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, broadcasting out social media comments and videos from fry fans across the country”.
13 Can't Stand It: Iceland
Iceland is a country that many go to for interesting and once in a lifetime type of vacations. We’ve featured it here on the TheTravel a number of times as we simply are in love with many of the natural beauty that the country has to offer visitors. If you were planning to head out to the country soon and were wondering if you’ll come across the iconic golden arches anywhere, the answer is – No. Once upon a time, the country actually did have 3 McDonald’s restaurants, but they were recently shut down as it seems that they were not really received well in the country.
12 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Germany
Germany also makes it onto our list of countries that can’t get enough of McDonald’s. There are over 1 400 McD’s in the country so one can certainly conclude that the Germans really love American fast foods. The first restaurant opened on German soil was all the way back in 1971. It was not long until the fast food chain managed to find success in the country. In 1999, the 1000th restaurant was opened and it seems that the nice thing here is that they have managed to incorporate a bit of the German language and culture to make it relevant to customers. In 2003, the slogan was translated to “Ich liebe es (I’m Loving It) and because the people tend to be health conscious, salads and fruit bags were also introduced in 2004.
11 Can't Stand It: North Korea
At number 11 on our list, well, this one can’t really come as a surprise. As discussed earlier, McDonald’s is a powerhouse that originates from American soil and…well, you understand why there currently aren’t any franchises in North Korea. One thing that may come as surprise to many is that the country might actually be seeing its first golden arches soon. Well, this hasn’t happened yet but The Washington Post reports that “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may allow a Western hamburger franchise into the country as a show of goodwill to the United States, according to an intelligence report described by U.S. officials to NBC”.
10 Consumes The Most McDonald's: The UK
Number 10 on our list is all the way in Europe. It seems that the locals in the UK can’t get enough of McDonald’s and the number of restaurants that are there proves it. There are well over 1 200 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK which means that just like many of the countries on this list, you will probably find a McD's wherever you may be touring while you're out there. This should come as no surprise though because the CEO is a British man. Yep. Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s, who now resides in Chicago Illinois, was born and bred in the UK.
9 Can't Stand It: Barbados
McDonald’s only survived 6 months in Barbados. Yep, that’s right. Anyone who owns a restaurant will tell you that it certainly takes a few years for the restaurant to be able to establish itself in the neighborhood. Well, in Barbados, all it took is 6 months for the Bajan community to make it clear to owners that they just aren’t feeling it. Uncommon Caribbean explains that the locals simply prefer different foods. “Ask any Bajan and they’ll tell you similar reasons for the downfall of McDonald’s in Barbados: We mostly like fish, chicken, and pork. We also like to eat healthy”.
8 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Russia
1990 was the year that the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Russia, Moscow and it seems that since that day, the Russian people couldn’t get enough of this American powerhouse. There are just over 550 restaurants in the country, which is why it makes it onto our list under those countries that consume the most McDonald’s. Sure, compared to the UK and China, the Russians consumption of Big Macs is not that much, but considering the fact that it hasn’t even been 30 years since the golden arches arrived yet they have seen much success in the land, we’re pretty sure that in the years to come, the Russians will be consuming way more of this American food.
7 Can't Stand It: Ghana
Ghana is the only African country to make it onto our list. If you’re planning on traveling to Africa and you’re wondering whether you can indulge in a Big Mac – Well, yes, but in just four countries – Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, and Mauritius. The rest of the African countries, including Ghana, have not opened their arms up to this American fast-food restaurant. This West African country has certainly opened its arms to other popular franchises – You can find KFC and Chicken Republic, but just not the golden arches. Well, considering the fact that McDonald’s certainly has pretty much written the book on how to operate in different countries, we’re pretty sure that this will soon change.
6 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Brazil
Brazil has the most McD restaurants in South America which is why they make it onto our list as one of the countries that consume the most McDonald’s. There are just over 800 restaurants all over the country. Brazil is one country that certainly has its own flare. The culture, traditions, beaches, landmarks…it is one of the most visited countries in South America and if you’ve been there before, you’ll know that although there are Western influences all over, the country still strives to be unique. It is therefore understandable to find out that across the country, there are quite a number of Brazilian cuisine influences that have made their ways onto the menu of McDonald’s. So when visiting a McD’s in Brazil, you’ll definitely find your Cheeseburger and fries…but so much more.
5 Can't Stand It: Montenegro
At number 5 on our list, we have Montenegro. This country also falls under countries that just can’t stomach the iconic American fast-food restaurant. If you follow the news, you’ll know that there are quite a number of expats who live in Montenegro and many of them, including the locals, are open to having the golden arches in their neighborhood. This is why in 2003, a small McDonald’s restaurant opened for a while – just to test the waters out but soon, the store shut down. It seems that the people are more into healthier and less processed foods so if you’re traveling to the country anytime soon, you’ll definitely not be seeing McD’s anywhere.
4 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Australia
Even though the restaurants do not quite reach a thousand (there are currently just over 900 McDonald’s restaurants in Australia), one has to admit that that’s still an impressive amount of restaurants in the country. Although we know that the golden arches originate from America, one writer told This Is Insider that he thinks that the Australian McD’s might just be the best in the world and his reasons were that “Australian McDonald’s offers table service, and the food tastes fresher…There are plenty of Maccas items that aren’t available in the US, like the Big Brekkie Burger and the McFeast”. We’re not really going to get into which country’s is the best, but with close to 1 000 restaurants across the country, we know that the Australians truly do love their McD’s.
3 Can't Stand It: Macedonia
Macedonia makes it onto our list as a country that can’t stomach McDonald’s. Well, to be fair, it’s not that they can’t stomach it, this one on the list is because the people who ran the franchises in the country lost their licenses. The Telegraph explains that “McDonald’s once had seven restaurants in the eastern European country, mostly in the capital, Skopje. But in 2013 they all shut after the group that ran the franchises lost its license. It is understood the head of the fast-food company’s European office and the Macedonian outfit running the franchises fell out and the agreement allowing the fast-food joints to operate was terminated”.
2 Consumes The Most McDonald's: Japan
Japan makes it onto our list because it has the most restaurants outside of America. Yep, this Asian country has over 2 900 restaurants which clearly shows that the Japanese can’t get enough of the Big Mac. This may come as a surprise to many people as the Japanese are normally associated with healthier lifestyles but we guess that they are an open-minded nation which doesn’t mind having a burger or two every now and then. In 2015, studies showed that there was a bit of a decline in customers visiting the franchise but by January the following year, the figures had gone up again. The restaurant business can at times be a rollercoaster ride but since most of the restaurants are still standing and thriving, it seems like Japan can’t get enough of McD’s.
1 Can't Stand It: Jamaica
Many visit this Caribbean island country and fall in love with the beaches, the music, culture, and definitely the people. Regarding the cuisine, it seems that when visiting this much-loved island, you won’t come across any McDonald’s restaurants. This may be a disappointment to many travelers out there. We love traveling and exploring the different corners of the globe and we certainly don’t mind trying out the different cuisines, but sometimes, you’re just in the mood for something familiar. Well, you may find it elsewhere but definitely not in Jamaica. It seems there was a lack of investment and the locals often complained that the burgers were too small compared to what they are used to.