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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 moved its global headquarters, which is housed at a $250 million building, from Illinois to Chicago in early 2018. It has an estimated 36,889 restaurants across 120 countries and territories and faces a great number of direct and indirect competitors.

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, 2020). Still, the article aims to identify some of McDonald’s 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. It is worth noting that McDonald’s performance in 2019 was poor. In addition, most of the competitors have been revamping their menus to take the competition to another level (Badkar, 2019).

List of the competitors of McDonald’s in the UK and global markets

Many of the competitors of McDonald’s in the USA are also its direct competitors in the UK and global markets. 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 market share. Other notable competitors in the UK are Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger, and Costa Coffee.

In China, McDonald’s is behind KFC. In fact, KFC is the market leader with over 5000 restaurants in the country (Jacobs, 2019). As both companies target the same customers and offer affordable prices, the competition between the two is abosolutely intense. In Russia, McDonald’s main competitors are Subway, Burger King, KFC, Papa John’s Pizza, and Sbarro. Fast food is regarded as one of Russia’s most recession-resistant industries, and therefore, competition is very fierce as well.

McDonald’s has been the most visited restaurant in Germany for a long time (Koptyug, 2019). It is also the current market leader. There are a number of competitors that challenge the restaurant; however, the biggest challenge comes from Burger King, Nordsee (German fast-food restaurant chain), Subway, and Pizza Hut.

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 2019 with an estimated brand value of $130.4 billion. The nearest competitor was Starbucks with an estimated brand value of $ 45.9 billion (Lock, 2019).

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. It 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.

We hope the article ‘Competitors of McDonald’s (Competitor analysis of McDonald’s)’ has been helpful. 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

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Last update: 10 January 2020


Badkar,M (2019) McDonalds sales growth slows in the US, available at: (accessed 02 January 2020)

Jacobs, H. (2019) KFC is by far the most popular fast food chain in China and it’s nothing like the US brand — here’s what it’s like, available at: (accessed 01 January 2020)

Koptyug, E. (2019) Most popular fast food restaurants in Germany from 2015 to 2019, available at: (accessed 10 January 2020)

Lock, S. (2019) Brand value of the 10 most valuable fast food brands worldwide in 2019, available at: (accessed 06 January 2020)

McDonald’s (2020) About us, available at: (accessed 06 January 2020)

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.

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