McDonald’s Ecosystem – an overview

By John Dudovskiy
June 23, 2022

McDonald’s ecosystem, also referred to as McEcosystem comprises 40,031 restaurants in in 119 countries.[1] As of December 2021 in total 37,295 stores, or 93%, were franchised. The company provides a global brand, operating system, and financial tools to help these franchisees become successful.

It has been noted that “franchisees are to McDonald’s as developers are to Facebook or Salesforce”[2]. In other words, franchisees help the fast food chain to develop new products thanks to their experience of dealing with customers on a daily basis on their respective local markets.  For example, the most popular items in McDonald’s menu such as Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, or McMuffin were invented by franchisees.


McDonald's Ecosystem


It can be argued that there is a great potential for McDonald’s to further develop an effective ecosystem with positive implications on the bottom line.  In order for Macdonald’s ecosystem to be efficient the following points need to be taken into account:

1. Facilitating collaboration. Back in time it cost franchisee-inventors of Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and McMuffin considerable efforts to convince then CEO Ray Kroc to add their inventions on McDonald’s menu. Once added new meals proved to be hugely successful and they are among best selling items to this day. The fast food chain has expanded multiple times since that time. Accordingly, the potential for additions on the menu invented by franchisees has expanded as well. It is critically important to establish and maintain collaboration with all stakeholders in general and franchisees in particular in order to realize this potential in practice.

2. Promoting knowledge sharing. In order to achieve franchisee contribution to strengthen its ecosystem, McDonald’s needs to ensure knowledge sharing among franchisees efficiently. Such initiatives may include organizing online and offline forums aimed at new product development and rewarding franchisees who contribute to knowledge sharing the most.

3. Effectively using the technology. The role of technology in strengthening McDonald’s ecosystem is paramount and the fast food chain is already using technology in multiple levels in delivery of products. The company needs to further intensify its focus on digital infrastructure to strengthen its ecosystem. Specifically, the technology has to ease additions of new products into McDonald’s portfolio.

McDonald’s Corporation Report contains the above analysis of McDonald’s ecosystem. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on McDonald’s. Moreover, the report contains analyses of McDonald’s leadership, business strategy, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of McDonald’s marketing strategy and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

McDonald's Corporation Report

[1] Annual Report (2021) McDonald’s Corporation

[2] Durkin, H. (n.d.) “What Technology Platforms Can Learn from McDonald’s” Developer Ecosystem, Available at:


Category: Strategy