- McDonald’s is plotting the fastest growth period in the company’s history, aiming to reach 50,000 units by the end of 2027, the company announced Wednesday ahead of its 2023 Investor Day presentation. The burger chain operated 41,198 restaurants in more than 100 countries as of Sept. 30.
- This expansion clip would translate to between 4% and 5% annual unit growth, and roughly 1,000 gross restaurant openings in the U.S. and international operated markets in 2027.
- McDonald’s said it will implement Google Cloud technology in its units to “apply generative AI solutions across its restaurants” that will drive “automation innovation,” streamline operations for employees and yield better service.
Launching nearly 9,000 new restaurants in just four years is no small feat, even for the Golden Arches. By comparison, McDonald’s opened 1,218 units between September 2022 and September 2023. It would need to increase this growth rate by roughly 80% to open about 2,200 restaurants per year to reach the 50,000 mark in 2027.
The company is also bullish on the latent potential of its existing 27,000-plus drive-thru locations, which could be expanded with additional lanes to yield more capacity and accelerate speed of service to improve sales, according to the company.
The QSR’s speed will also be bolstered by “new, universal software that all McDonald’s customer and restaurant digital platforms will run on,” including its mobile app and in-store kiosks, per the press release.
“The scale of incoming information from all corners of the globe will allow McDonald's GenAI models to better understand the broadest range of patterns and nuances, resulting in more informed tests and automated solutions to enhance restaurant operations,” the company said.
McDonald’s has already invested in technological enhancements to its stores. In March, the company deployed geofencing on its mobile app so workers can prep orders for curbside and dine-in mobile customers when they get close to a restaurant to improve efficiency. It appears that McDonald’s Google Cloud partnership is designed to drive similar improvements, but the company did not share details about specific technological innovations that it plans to implement in its stores.