McDonald’s Shrinking U.S. Footprint In 2015

For the first time in more than 40 years, fast food giant McDonald’s will be closing more restaurants than it opens in a year. McDonald’s, which declined to give a specific figure, plans to close a minimal amount of struggling restaurants in the U.S., where it operates more than 14,000 locations.

Though the fast-food chain is still growing globally, with more than 36,000 locations worldwide, it has lost momentum to new-age fast food restaurants in the U.S. such as Chipotle and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, both of which endorse fresh ingredients and customization.

McDonald’s past success led to “a natural overconfidence,” said John Gordon, a restaurant industry analyst with Pacific Management Consulting Group. “McDonald’s is such an internally focused organization, it’s a situation where you don’t have a fresh perspective coming in.”


In April, McDonald’s said it would close about 700 underperforming locations around the world this year. CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the role on March 1, is laying out plans to restructure the company to remove layers of bureaucracy and move more nimbly.

This is the first time since 1970 that McDonalds had closed more stores than it has opened in a year. Despite the closings, McDonald’s remains the country’s largest hamburger chain, according to the industry tracker Technomic, with twice as many locations as Burger King — its closest rival.

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