Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s in 1955 under the name of McDonald’s System Inc. Since then, it has become the largest fast-food company in the United States, based on dollar sales. Depending on who is counting, Subway may have more locations. Worldwide, McDonald’s has over 39,000 stores in 100 nations. In America, that number is just under 14,000. Most are franchises, run independent operators. The parent company still runs hundreds on its own.
As of 2019, McDonald’s was the third-largest employer in America, with 420,000 employees. There has been a great deal of controversy about how it treats some of these workers. The most junior workers made $13 an hour, which in some cases puts them below the poverty level. Earlier this year, management said it would move that figure to an average of $15 per hour by 2024. That has not ended the controversy, and it has put the company in a difficult position. Wages have risen for many workers during the pandemic, due often to government assistance. Many of these people will not go back to work at the lowest-paying companies.
Management has been sensitive to pay issues. CEO Chris Kempczinski has found himself defending pay levels to the media, as organizers have worked to increase wages at a number of retailers who do not pay enough to keep their workers out of poverty.
Like many retail chains in America, McDonald’s locations are spread the way the population is. That means that it has the most restaurants in California, the state with the largest population. There are 1,492 McDonald’s locations there. Next is Texas, the state with the second-largest population, which has 1,224 locations. Florida ranks third in population, and it also ranks third in McDonald’s locations with 986.
It is highly unlikely that the count by state will change. The number of McDonald’s locations in the United States has changed very little. It has come down a few hundred stores since 2012, but that only represents about a 1% change.