From its humble beginnings as a California burger spot, McDonald’s has grown into a global empire with almost 40,000 restaurants serving about 69 million people a day in more than 100 countries — including places where it would have been hard to imagine an American fast-food presence, for political or cultural reasons, until recent times.
Menus differ from place to place to satisfy local tastes and customs. You can get Bubur Ayam Mc D (savory chicken porridge) at the Golden Arches in Malaysia, a McPollo Italiano (crispy chicken with mashed avocado) in Chile, a Quinoa Curry Burger in Switzerland. Beer is on the beverage menu in Belgium, Germany, Sweden, and at least a dozen other countries. (Not surprisingly, it takes first place in the roster of America’s most successful restaurant chains.)
Of course, prices vary too. In its homeland, McDonald’s is often one of the cheapest places to eat. In many parts of the world it can be more expensive than other options. The Economist even introduced what it dubbed the Big Mac Index in 1986 as a not entirely serious though not at all inaccurate measure of the comparative value of various currencies. (In marked contrast to McDonald’s, even where it’s comparatively pricey, these are the world’s most expensive restaurants.)
To determine the average cost of a typical McMeal (consisting of a burger or other main item plus fries and a soft drink) or the equivalent combo meal in 75 countries around the world, 24/7 Tempo consulted Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database of consumer prices and other quality-of-life information. (Our prices were collected the week of Aug. 9, 2021. Because the data is crowd-sourced, it may vary slightly from week to week.)
Note that prices may vary within countries. While the average in the U.S., for instance, is $8, it falls to as little as $6.75 in such cities as Albuquerque and Phoenix, according to the global comparison platform Versus.