Plans For McDonald’s Closings in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

239 U.S. locations closed in 2021, 200 closed in 2020, and the company has not added locations for eight years. Current plans are reported to be ambitious.

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Author’s Note

This article is free of opinion and bias, and is based solely on national statistics and accredited media reports. All listed facts within this article are fully-attributed to several economic experts and media outlets, including Chris Kolmar for Zippia.com, Julie Creswell for The New York Times, Corporate.McDonalds.com, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, NBC News, KTAR News, and Mura Dominko for EatThis.com.

Introduction

According to a well-attributed December 21, 2021 Chris Kolmar article in Zippia.com, entitled “19 U.S. Fast Food Industry Statistics [2022]: Revenue, Trends, and Predictions,” the final-quarter standing of the venerable McDonald’s chain is best expressed with the following excerpt: Subway is the largest franchised store in the United States, with 24,798 locations across the country. The store’s annual U.S. systemwide sales equate to $10.4 billion. California is the state with the most number of Subway locations, with 2,148 locations. Based on the number of franchised stores, the sandwich fast food restaurant, Subway, takes first place. McDonald’s, which most notably sells hamburgers, comes in third place. Coffee and breakfast item fast food vendors, Starbucks and Dunkin’, take 2nd and 4th place respectively.

The specific comparison, however, can fairly be considered misleading as McDonald’s locations are a combination of company-owned and franchise restaurants, whereas Subway is entirely a franchise.

Regardless, in a successful effort to maintain and exceed past profitability, McDonald’s raised their prices across the board in 2021. See here for Julie Creswell‘s New York Times article, based on a report attributed to McDonald’s corporate office, “McDonald’s, Now With Higher Prices, Topped $23 Billion in Revenue in 2021.”

The revenue as listed is a global measure that has cemented the perennial chain’s current standing as the top-earner of all fast food chains on a worldwide basis, with a profit increase of 59 percent over 2021’s earnings to over $7.5 billion. As also stated in the article: McDonald’s said in a financial report on Thursday that global revenues topped $23.2 billion last year, a 21 percent jump from 2019 and the highest level since reaching $24.6 billion in 2016. Profit soared 59 percent from a year earlier, to $7.5 billion. In the United States, comparable McDonald’s restaurant sales in the fourth quarter grew 13.8 percent from a year earlier — the highest increase ever — from a combination of menu price increases, promotions around the McRib and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and the company’s digital loyalty program, McDonald’s said.

Financially, the company is healthy. However, U.S. locations have continued to close.

Let’s explore.

Plans for 2022

For an up-to-date overview of the company’s domestic and global revenues, Corporate.McDonalds.com regularly updates its website with the most current information. A cursory read of the site punctuates the company’s financial well-being and lists plans for the current calendar year — which is said to be the first series of planned expansions since 2016.

EatThis.com features a comprehensive article on the chain by the foodie website’s Deputy Editor Mura Dominko, entitled “McDonald's Will Be Making This Move For the First Time in Eight Years.”

Excerpted from the article, which you can see here: You may not have noticed this thanks to its vast nationwide footprint, but McDonald’s has been shrinking for nearly a decade. The chain has been closing more locations than it has opened for the past eight years, according to Restaurant Business, and is currently operating the smallest number of U.S. locations in 20 years. However, America's fast-food darling is finally ready to turn things around when it comes to restaurant volume. McDonald's Corp. CFO Kevin Ozan said in last week's earnings call that the company is planning to open new locations in U.S., which it hasn't done since 2014.

Many of the 2020 and 2021 closures were said to be located in lower-trafficked Walmart stores nationwide. In 2022, as some states controversially attempt to transition their Covid-19 response from pandemic to endemic status — see this article from NBC News about California, and this piece from KTAR News about Arizona, as examples — McDonald’s has largely foregone its pandemic restrictions, such as no indoor dining, as they plan their restaurant expansions throughout the current calendar year.

Also according to Mura Dominko’s EatThis.com article, McDonald’s CEO Ozan is expecting 500 new 2022 locations, largely in the U.S. but also overseas.

Conclusion

Though McDonald’s has not opened any new restaurants since 2016, and many have closed since that time, their revenue is stronger than ever.

As 2022 brings ambitious expansion plans for the chain, the company appears as though that long-term pause has, for the moment, been largely discontinued. Low-performing restaurants may continue to close, though new locations are planned to exceed potential closures.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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