How far will McDonald's appetite go? The fast-food giant, which already has more than 40,000 restaurants around the world, is set to open 10,000 more locations within four years. To do this, the group will invest $300 million to $500 million per year by 2027. At almost 80 years old, the American brand is about to experience "the most dazzling development in its history", as its CEO Chris Kempczinski pointed out in a press release published on Wednesday.
The king of the hamburger would be wrong not to aim for the top: all the planets seem to be aligned for McDonald's, which recorded sales up more than 20% between 2020 and 2022. The group's revenue jumped 14% between July and September to $6.69 billion, driven by significant tariff hikes in the United States. These excellent results, which exceeded analysts' forecasts, had also pushed up the group's share price. "There's never been a better time to be a part of the McDonald's journey," Kempczinski said.
Strengthen customer loyalty
Today, the brand enjoys an undisputed supremacy in the fast food segment: with its gigantic network of more than 40,000 restaurants, it far surpasses Starbucks (38,000 outlets) and Subway (37,000). Still, the market is becoming more and more competitive, as evidenced by the unbridled growth of Burger King, KFC and Poppey's. To widen the gap with its competitors, McDonald's is banking in particular on strengthening its loyalty program, which should, according to the objectives set by the group, increase from 150 to 250 million members by 2027. McDonald's hopes that these "loyalists" will double their consumption within four years, with a focus on ordering via the in-house app. The chain is targeting sales growth of 2% by 2024, for an operating margin of between 24% and 29%.
But customer loyalty is first and foremost about the plate. McDonald's has understood this: in recent years, the brand has developed a "Best Burger" program, which aims to improve the flavor of its menus in nearly 70 countries. The aim is to generalise this strategy by 2026. In the same vein, the brand is banking on the new recipe of its mythical "Big Mac" to win the favor of customers looking for a more qualitative fast food. Popular with consumers around the world, chicken is expected to be more on the menu, to the detriment of beef. McDonald's will generalize the marketing of "McCrispy", its chicken-based hamburger, a way of stealing market share from KFC and Poppey's.
Other projects, not mentioned in the press release, are also part of this diversification strategy: the launch of "CosMc's" for example, a new restaurant concept in the effigy of a former McDonald's mascot that should see the light of day at the beginning of next year in the United States. It remains to be seen what will be McDonald's ambitions for France... As a reminder, France is the brand's largest market outside the United States, with more than 1200 restaurants. The country has also been one of the chain's favourite testing grounds, which has made a remarkable move upmarket over the past ten years.