Even if you’re Team Wendy’s or Team Burger King, there’s no denying that McDonald’s is an absolute giant in the fast-food industry. Mickey D’s rakes in more systemwide sales than any other fast-food brand in the United States, and few can compete with the Golden Arches in terms of sheer size. New data shows that on top of McDonald’s continued success as a restaurant chain, it also plays a major role in the overall American economy.

McDonald’s, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, released a new report this week detailing its wide-ranging impact on the economy in the United States. The report revealed that the chain contributed a whopping $108 billion in one year to America’s gross domestic product (GDP), the total monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced in a country during a specific time period. 

The report also provided a breakdown of how much McDonald’s contributed to the GDP in each U.S. state. In California, for example, the chain had an impact of $5 billion, while it had a $6.1 billion impact in Texas. 

Another major takeaway from the report was the mind-boggling statistic that one in eight Americans have worked for McDonald’s at some point in their lives. Additionally, McDonald’s said that it spent $5.5 billion on raw ingredients in 2021 alone, while it contributed $26.4 million in tuition assistance to its employees through its Archways to Opportunity program.

McDonald's burger
Eliz A / Shutterstock

These new insights only reiterate just how ubiquitous the McDonald’s brand has become in the United States—and how far its reach has spread in the country’s economy. If you need further proof of McDonald’s massive influence, look no further than a viral TikTok posted by former McDonald’s corporate chef Mike Haracz in November 2023. 

In the video, Haracz revealed that McDonald’s doesn’t offer as many exciting menu items in the United States as it does in other countries because of potential supply chain issues. McDonald’s gets the majority of its business from its American market. So, when the chain needs to provide supplies for a new menu item to all of its U.S. restaurants, the huge demand can potentially change the market value or completely deplete global supplies of certain ingredients, Haracz said. That’s a lot of power held by one fast-food chain.

Looking toward the future, McDonald’s only wants to keep getting bigger and bigger. The chain recently announced an ambitious goal to reach 50,000 restaurants worldwide by 2027. McDonald’s ended 2023 with more than 40,000 restaurants, so this means that 10,000 additional restaurants could open globally in the coming years. This will “mark the fastest period of growth” in the company’s history, the announcement said.

Zoe Strozewski

Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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