Who Own McDonald’s? Everything You Need To Know About It!


Fast food is one of the most consumed cuisines worldwide. It is the food type that was invented with the purpose of commercial sale, and the price point was the speedy delivery of the food. The world’s fast food industry is worth $907 bn, and in America alone, 50 million people consume fast food every day.

We might consider White Castle the pioneer of fast food in the United States, but Automat was the first ever fast food restaurant that opened in New York. Regardless of the contradiction about Automat or White Castle being the first fast food restaurant, McDonald’s has a separate place in the country’s fast food culture.

McDonald’s has become a global fast-food chain with over 40,000 restaurants worldwide. Even more, McDonald’s is feeding 25 million people per day, equal to 50% of total people consuming fast food daily in the U.S.

The interesting fact about McDonald’s is that the brothers who started the company sold it just after a few years of franchising. Roy Kroc is the man who took forward the company. In today’s article, we will walk you through McDonald’s history. We will also talk about the current owners of the McDonald’s company and their ownership of the company.

So let’s get into it.

About McDonald’s

McDonald’s is a fast food chain based in America, and the company’s first restaurant was founded in 1940 in California. The company had its headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, till 2018. However, the headquarters were shifted to Chicago in June 2018. The company that started as a hamburger stand has turned into the largest fast food chain in the world.

McDonald’s has also ventured into other business industries, and real estate is the most relevant industry as ownership of the restaurant locations. As of statistics, McDonald’s is present in over 100 countries and serves 69 million customers daily.

The most famous items on McDonald’s menu are hamburgers, french fries, cheeseburgers, chicken, fruit, fish, salads, etc. In terms of employment, McDonald’s is the second-largest private employer after Walmart, with 1.7 million employees working at restaurant franchises.

Walmart is a publicly traded company; its stocks are traded on New York Stock Exchange. Enrique Hernandez Jr. is the chairman of the company, and Chris Kempczinski is the CEO & president of McDonald’s. The company filed for the U.S. trademark on May 4, 1961.

Who Own McDonald’s?

As mentioned earlier, McDonald’s is a publicly-traded company with a stock trading of $295.31 per share as of July 24, 2023. Since it’s a public company, the company’s shares are available for trading in the market, and the the general public can also own shares of the company.

Therefore, if we have to answer the question:

Who owns McDonald’s?

The answer will be as follows:

The shareholders of McDonald’s are the owners of the company. However, we can argue on who holds more percentage of company ownership. The company’s ownership percentage determines the voting rights, decision-influencing power, and other relevant matters in the company’s affairs.

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Both corporate and individual shareholders can hold the shares of a company. In the coming sections, we will introduce you to the major shareholders of the McDonald’s company as per the latest proxy statement issued by the company.

History of McDonald’s

Let’s go back in time and walk along the McDonald’s brothers to witness the story of the hamburger turning into a global corporation. So let’s get into it.

1940 – 1950

  • Two brothers, Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald, came from New England to California in search of opportunities. They tried luck in the movie business, but it failed. Therefore, they tried a drive-in restaurant, which became a success for them.
  • McDonald brothers Dick(Richard) and Mac(Maurice) opened the first McDonald’s at 1398 North E Street at West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 5, 1940.
  • They also created a Speedee Service System in 1948 to produce meals with a standard for fast food. The company’s mascot was a chef hat on top of a hamburger, referred to as Speedee.

1950 – 1960

  • The company took up very well, and the revenues of the company were also improving. Therefore, the company founders decided to franchise it, and the first franchise was opened in Phoenix, Arizona, with the Golden Arches logo.
  • In 1954, a Chicago-based businessman Ray Kroc met the McDonald’s brothers to become their franchise agent. Ray Kroc became their acquaintance as the machinery for the McDonald’s self-service restaurants was purchased from Ray Kroc.
  • 1955 Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, east of the Mississippi River. He also launched McDonald’s System Inc., which was later on changed to McDonald’s Corporation.
  • The future chairman of the McDonald’s was hired as the counter boy in 1956.

1961 – 2000s

  • In 1961, Ray Kroc purchased the restaurant from McDonald’s brothers.
  • In the same year, Hamburger University was opened up in the basement of the Illinois branch for graduates to receive Bachelor of Hamburgerology degrees.
  • Ray Kroc had a vision of expanding the menu and business simultaneously. Therefore, Filet-O-Fish was introduced to the national menu in 1965.
  • McDonald’s became a publicly traded company in 1965 after 1000 outlets across the United States.
  • The first international outlet of the company was established in 1967 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.
  • The owner Jim Delligati in Pittsburgh, developed The Big Mac in 1968, which was added to the national menu.
  • In 1973, the Quarter Pounder with and without cheese to the menu of the restaurant.  
  • In 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • In 1975, the owner of the Santa Barbara franchise, Herb Peterson, developed The Egg McMuffin, which also became part of the national menu.
  • In 1983, Chicken Nuggets were included in the national menu.
  • On Jan 14, 1984, the founder and senior chairman of McDonald’s Corporation BOD, Ray Kroc, died.
  • In the 1990s, the corporation decides to go international, opening its first restaurant in Moscow. The branch in Moscow completed a major milestone of 30,000 customers in one day on its opening day.
  • The first McCafe in the world was opened in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 1993.
  • McDonald’s acquired different restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Donatos Pizza, and Boston Market in the United States in 1998, 1999, and 2000 respectively.
  • McDonald’s corporation also acquired Aroma Café and Pret A Manger in the United Kingdom in 1999 and 2001, respectively.
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2000s – Present

  • McDonald’s corporation took several initiatives for humanitarian and environmental causes in the first two decades of the 21st century. It includes the first-ever Social Responsibility Report publication on Apr 15, 2002.
  • In 2003, the company launched its first global ad campaign, I’m lovin’ it, in Munich, Germany.
  • In 2015, All Day Breakfast was launched by McDonald’s USA at all the franchises in the U.S.
  • On July 26, 2017, McDonald’s celebrated Global McDelivery Day.
  • In 2020, the first net zero-designed restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort was opened by McDonald’s.

Shareholders of McDonald’s

As mentioned, individual and corporate shareholders can own the company’s stocks, and their ownership percentage decides their voting powers. Besides, the class of stocks is also a relevant factor in determining the overall voting rights of each shareholder.

McDonald’s currently has 732.42 million outstanding shares with a market capitalization of approximately $196.23 bn. The corporate shareholders have the most stakes in the McDonald’s Corp, with 70.68% cumulative ownership of outstanding shares. Vanguard Group has the highest stake in the company at 8.81.Mutual fund holders own 34.83% of the outstanding shares, and individual shareholders account for only 0.39% of McDonald’s shares.

Here is the breakdown of the individual and corporate owners of McDonald’s Corporation:

Individual Shareholders

As mentioned earlier, a very small share of McDonald’s outstanding shares is held by individual investors. The top two individual shareholders of McDonald’s are as follows:

1). Joseph M. Erlinger

Joseph M. Erlinger is the president of McDonald’s USA, where he looks after the business of 14,000 restaurants of the company in the U.S. The president holds 8000 units of common stock shares in McDonald’s, the highest by any individual investor of the company.

2). Ian Frederick Borden

Ian Frederick Borden is also an insider working as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of McDonald’s. Ian Frederick is responsible for looking after the financial matters of all the restaurants of McDonald’s in 100 countries. According to the estimates, Ian Frederick Borden also owns the company’s common stock, and the number is estimated to be above 7000 shares.

Corporate Shareholders

The top corporate shareholders of McDonald’s Corporation are as follows:

The Vanguard Group Inc.

The Vanguard Group Inc. is the company’s largest shareholder holding 8.91% of the outstanding stocks of the company. The group specializes in investment management and advisory services for fixed-income groups and equity investments. The company has expanded its operations in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

Besides, The Vanguard Group Inc. is one of the largest asset management firms in the world. The company holds over 65024480 shares of Mcdonald’s with a total valuation of around $19,403,955,077 at the time of writing.

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BlackRock Fund Advisors

BlackRock Fund Advisors is the second largest shareholder of the company as well as the second largest institutional shareholder of McDonald’s Corporation. The American investment company is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York. The multi-national company specializes in investment management, financial planning, and portfolio advice.

BlackRock Fund Advisors hold a 4.80% stake in McDonald’s Corporation with 35035387 shares at a total valuation of 1045909835 at the time of writing. The share of BlackRock Fund Advisors has reduced by 2.42% since the last quarter.

SSgA Funds Management, Inc.

SSgA Funds Management Inc is a company that was founded in 2001 and stands for State Street Global Advisor. The company specializes in portfolio management, financial planning, and investment advisory services. The company has spread its business in 57 countries with a $3.71 trillion worth portfolio of managed assets.

SSgA Funds Management Inc. hold a 4.60% stake in McDonald’s Corporation with 33592272 shares at a total valuation of 10024269888 at the time of writing. The share of BlackRock Fund Advisors has reduced by 1.30% since the last quarter.

Wellington Management Co. LLP

Wellington Management Co. LLP is a very old investment management firm founded in 1928 and currently has an asset portfolio of $1 trillion. The company is also one of the major shareholders of McDonald’s Corporation.

Wellington ManagemCo. LLP holds a 2.12% stake in McDonald’s Corporation with 15451310 shares at a total valuation of 4610825417 at the time of writing. The share of BlackRock Fund Advisors has reduced by 3.95% since the last quarter.

Geode Capital Management LLC

Geode Capital Management LLC holds a 1.91% stake in McDonald’s Corporation with 13909126 shares at a total valuation of 4150622290 at the time of writing. The share of BlackRock Fund Advisors has increased by 1.51% since the last quarter.

JP Morgan Investment Management, Inc

JPMorgan Investment Management Inc holds a 1.26% stake in McDonald’s Corporation with 9213624 shares at a total valuation of 2749437538 at the time of writing. The share of BlackRock Fund Advisors has reduced by 0.92% since the last quarter.


1). Who is McDonald’s CEO?

The current CEO of McDonald’s is Christ Kempczinski. He is also president of the corporation and assumed the position in November 2019. Kempczinski is an American business executive.

2). Who owns the majority of McDonald’s?

The Vanguard Group Inc. is an investment management company that holds the maximum shares of McDonald’s Corp. The company holds an 8.91% stake of McDonald’s Corporation when writing this.

3). Do the McDonald’s brothers still own McDonald’s?

No. The McDonald’s brothers made a deal with Ray Kroc in 1961 by selling the rights of a growing business. Therefore, the present-day McDonald’s has nothing to do with McDonald’s brothers.

4).  How many McDonald’s in the world?

Mcdonald’s corporation has expanded its business in 100 countries, and currently, there are over 40000 restaurants of the company operational in different parts of the world. Besides, McDonald’s is the second largest private employer, with over 1.7 million employees.

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