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Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)

Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)

This article aims to explore the main competitors of McDonald’s in different markets. McDonald’s is an American company, headquartered in Chicago. It has over 38,000 restaurants in over 100 countries and territories; however, it faces a great number of direct and indirect competitors (McDonald’s, 2023).  


The fast-food industry has always been characterised by intense competition, with companies continually striving to outdo one another in terms of product innovation, marketing, and customer experience. As a result, a thorough understanding of the competition is crucial for any company operating in this industry. McDonald’s, as one of the industry’s leading players, must constantly keep tabs on its competitors to stay ahead in the game.


List of the Competitors of McDonald’s in the USA

McDonald’s has a great number of competitors in the USA ranging from fast food restaurants to coffee shops and traditional fish and chip outlets; however, it is the policy of the company not to comment on specific competitors (McDonald’s, 2023). Still, the article aims to identify some of its competitors with the help of extensive research that has already been conducted by many authors and authorities.


As a quick-service restaurant, McDonald’s faces direct competition from restaurants such as KFC, Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Burger King. Other notable fast-casual and specialty quick service restaurants that challenge McDonald’s in the USA are Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pizza Hut, Panera Bread Company, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s Pizza, and Dairy Queen.


List of the competitors of McDonald’s in the UK

Many of the competitors of McDonald’s in the USA are also its direct competitors in the UK. For instance, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Starbucks, and Papa John’s Pizza operate in the UK and competes with McDonald’s’ for the market share. Other notable competitors are Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger, and Costa Coffee.


List of the competitors of McDonald’s in global markets

In China, McDonald’s is behind KFC. In fact, KFC is the market leader with over 9000 restaurants in the country (Yum China, 2023). As both companies target the same customers and offer affordable prices, the competition between the two is absolutely intense.


McDonald’s has been the most visited restaurant in Germany for a long time (Statista, 2023). It is also the current market leader. There are a number of competitors that challenge it; however, the biggest challenge comes from Burger King, Nordsee (German fast-food restaurant chain), Subway, and Pizza Hut.


With over 1,530 restaurants, McDonald’s is the market leader in the French fast-food industry. Burger King, Domino’s, KFC, and Subway need to walk a long way to catch up with it. McDonald’s is also the market leader in many other countries such as Brazil, and the Netherlands. Its position in Australia is very good as well.  


Indirect competitors of McDonald’s

Indirect competition takes place when companies’ products/services are not the same; however, can address the same needs of consumers. For example, McDonald’s is famous for burger, chicken, and fries. It also sells tea, coffee, and other beverages. But Pizza Hut is famous for pizza.


Most of the products of McDonald’s and Pizza Hut are not the same; however, they can satisfy the hunger-needs of consumers. Therefore, it can be argued that Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s Pizza, and similar restaurants are indirect competitors of McDonald’s.


How does McDonald’s compete with its competitors?

McDonald’s apply a number of strategies and tactics to compete with its competitors. For instance, branding is a big asset to the restaurant. McDonalds is one of the most famous brands in the world. People around the world know it at the back of their mind.


McDonald’s also tries to apply cost leadership strategy to offer customers food and beverages at prices that competitors struggle to match. Its speedy delivery of food is also useful to battle out competition.


In terms of brand value, McDonald’s is far ahead of its rivals. It was the most valuable fast food brand in the world in 2021 with an estimated brand value of $154.9 billion. The nearest competitor was Starbucks with an estimated brand value of $60.3 billion (Statista, 2023).  


Comparing product offerings and menus with those of its major competitors is a key aspect of the competitor analysis of McDonald’s. This allows it to identify any gaps in its own offerings and assess the overall appeal of its competitors’ menus. The following is a brief comparison of the key competitors’ product offerings:


Burger King

Burger King’s menu is quite similar to McDonald’s, with a focus on burgers, fries, and soft drinks. However, Burger King differentiates itself with its flame-grilled cooking method and its signature Whopper sandwich.



KFC is one of the key competitors of McDonald’s. As a predominantly chicken-focused fast food chain, its menu differs significantly from McDonald’s. While McDonald’s offers a few chicken options, KFC’s menu consists primarily of fried chicken, grilled chicken, and various chicken-based sandwiches and wraps.



With its focus on customisable sandwiches, Subway’s menu is quite distinct from McDonald’s. Subway offers a wide variety of breads, meats, cheeses, and vegetables, allowing customers to create a unique and personalised sandwich experience.


Subway also emphasizes its commitment to healthier options, with many of its sandwiches boasting lower calorie counts and more nutritional value than traditional fast food items. In fact, this has been key to driving its sales for a long time.


Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s Mexican-inspired menu offers a unique alternative to McDonald’s burger-centric offerings. Its menu features a variety of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, as well as nachos and other snack items. Although McDonald’s has experimented with Mexican-inspired menu items in the past, Taco Bell remains the primary competitor in this niche market.



Wendy’s menu is similar to McDonald’s, with a focus on burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fries. However, Wendy’s differentiates itself with its square-shaped burgers and the Frosty dessert, a frozen dairy treat.


Wendy’s also offers a range of unique salads and sides, such as the Baconator Fries and the Chili Cheese Fries. Its use of fresh meat rather than frozen has also helped its sales (Valinsky, 2022).


Why should McDonald’s analyse its competitors?

The fast food industry is characterized by fierce competition and rapidly changing consumer preferences. As a result, it is essential for McDonald’s to consistently monitor its competitors’ actions. Competitor analysis not only helps it identify potential threats but also enables it to discover new opportunities for growth and differentiation.


One of the primary reasons competitor analysis is important in the fast food industry is the constant battle for market share. With numerous companies vying for the same customer base, understanding the competitive landscape is critical to maintaining a strong presence in the market.


Additionally, the fast-food industry is continually evolving, with new trends and consumer preferences emerging regularly. Conducting competitor analysis allows McDonald’s to stay informed about these changes and adjust its product offerings, marketing strategies, and overall approach to better meet the needs of the customers.


Summary of Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)

The above analysis demonstrates that there are several powerful competitors of McDonald’s around the world. Therefore, it needs to monitor them regularly. Through a detailed competitor analysis, it can gain valuable insights into the competitive landscape, identify its key competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and inform its own strategies and initiatives.


The key takeaways from this ‘Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)’ include:


  • McDonald’s dominates the global fast food market, with a significantly larger market share than its key competitors.


  • However, competitors are also regularly exploring opportunities to challenge McDonald’s. In fact, they are doing really well in some countries.


  • The fast food industry is continually evolving, and it is crucial for McDonald’s to remain informed and adaptive to changing trends and consumer preferences.



We hope the article ‘Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)’ has been helpful. Please share the article link on social media to support our work.


You may also like reading SWOT analysis of McDonald’s and Marketing mix of McDonald’s. Other relevant articles for you are:


Stakeholders of McDonald’s (An analysis of McDonald’s stakeholders)

SWOT analysis of Domino’s

SWOT analysis of Starbucks

PESTEL analysis of China

PESTEL analysis of Subway


Last update: 16 April 2023


McDonald’s (2023) About us, available at:  (accessed 15 April 2023)

Statista (2023) Most popular fast food restaurants in Germany, available at: (accessed 15 April 2023)

Statista (2023) Brand value of the 10 most valuable fast food brands worldwide in 2019, available at: (accessed 15 April 2023)

Valinsky, J. (2022) The surprising reason why Wendy’s burgers are square, available at: (accessed 16 April 2023)

Yum China (2023) Our brands, available at: (accessed 15 April 2023)

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.

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