Mcdonald's Localization Strategy Around the World  - LocInsight. (2024)

McDonald’s is the world-leading fast-food chain with more than 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries. It has successfully expanded its multinational brand identity by maintaining its quality and quickly adapting to locals’ tastes and interests. The highlight of McDonald’s localization strategy has been presented in Asia where it has remarkably enhanced the business while other big food retailers witnessed a failure in adaptation to this continent’s diverse cultures, appetites, and temperaments.

McDonald’s was born in San Bernardino, California in 1940 with its first restaurant. In terms of revenue, the brand is considered to be the biggest restaurant chain in the world with 37,241 restaurants. While the core menu offering includes traditional dishes such as hamburgers, fries, the brand also serves other items, including milkshakes, soft drinks, desserts, etc. depending on the country they established.

Like other global food chains, McDonald’s also encounters ups and downs on their route to various countries. Still, the company was able to withstand the drawbacks, paving the way for international success with its food franchises.

Read more:5 Steps to Develop a Localization Plan That Experts Won’t Tell You

How McDonald’s adapts to different cultures

One of the key factors leading to the impressive is the localization as well as innovation that they pursue. McDonald’s localization strategy comes up with a variety of products and services catering to the demands of local consumers which is widely diverse based on several factors such as:

  • The brand offered a fast and reasonable-price menu to women who are in the labor force and the increasing number of teenagers in the 1960s.
  • Joined the trend of going global in the 1970s and the 1980s by delivering the “American way of life” to multiple countries and adapting to the social setting through franchising to local entrepreneurs.
  • Introducing the “fast and convenient” strategy by modifying the list of products based on the current trends. McDonald’s renovated their appearance to achieve a united, up-to-date environment with a friendly and natural dining look and feel. Additional healthy products such as carrot sticks, fruits, salads were presented on the menu for health or fitness enthusiasts.
  • Continuously updating the drink menu with healthy products such as high-quality coffee to compete with coffee chains.

Mcdonald's Localization Strategy Around the World - LocInsight. (1)

The practices of McDonald’s Localization strategy around the world


With the population of over 1 billion people, China is an appealing market with more than 2700 outlets. McDonald’s successfully adapted their product list to the local taste by changing the meat from chicken breasts to chicken thighs. In addition, grilled chicken burger is a special meal for Chinese New Year, which is served with curly fries.


Meat is one of the German’s favorite foods, therefore, its burgers combine Nürnberger sausages with beef. A well-known fact is that Germans are fond of beer, so you can order beer at McDonald’s outlets in Germany.


The majority of the population in Indonesia is Muslim and they do not consume pork. To make the brand local-friendly, the brand replaced pork with fish and added rice as the Indonesian prefer rice more.


Japanese cuisine is quite different from the other parts of the world. In the beginning, McDonald’s offered the US menu for the locals. However, they slowly replaced and added items to cater to Japanese preferences. The brand presented the native popular meal include green tea ice cream, rice burger, seaweed shaker, and teriyaki burger.


In this developed Asian country, McDonald’s also has a typical localization strategy with unique dishes to meet the local palate, such as Salted Egg yolk Burger or Salt & Pepper Crab twist-and-shake Fries. Moreover, they even offer unique gifts to their customers which form a long query of people.

Takeaways in McDonald’s localization strategy

Don’t confuse your brand with your products

McDonald’s images adhere with burgers and other typical fast food meals but it does not prevent the company from replacing all meat from some local menus.

Define which products have global appeal

It is feasible that some of your original products might be desirable in a specific market, as McDonald’s has found some of their products remain consistently favored on a global scale such as fries and shakes.

View the new market as an opportunity to start new brand attributes

While McDonald’s seems to be an affordable meal in the US, in some developing countries, it’s a symbol of high status for anyone eating there. Hence, if your brand has a negative image in one market, it doesn’t remain the same in other countries. Small markets may contribute more than others: Many companies concentrate on large markets and give less attention to the modest ones. McDonald’s is an international company but around 70% of its revenue comes from restaurants in Australia, Canada, China, the UK, and of course the United States. Focusing on the parts that make up to 30% of the company’s revenue is a wise move.

As a successful global brand, McDonald’s presents itself worldwide as the brand has implemented comprehensive localization strategies for each market. Not all of them are remarkably successful in adaptation, but based on their number of restaurants and revenue, they already have appropriate adjustments to become more competitive with local brands.

Mcdonald's Localization Strategy Around the World  - LocInsight. (2024)


Does McDonald's use a localization strategy? ›

McDonald's recognises the importance of localisation and tailoring strategies to specific regions or demographics. And we do that to authentically engage with diverse cultures and communities. For our brand, we would rather go narrow and then wide.

What strategies does McDonald's use to operate internationally? ›

Understanding the Local Market

McDonald's, for instance, recognizes the importance of adapting its menu to cater to local tastes and preferences. This strategy is commonly referred to as "glocalization," where a global company tailors its products or services to suit local markets.

How has McDonald's adapted to local markets? ›

One of the key ways McDonald's adapts to local cultures is by tailoring its menu to suit the tastes and dietary habits of specific regions. This involves incorporating local ingredients, flavors, and dishes into the menu.

What is the globalization strategy of McDonald's? ›

McDonald's global strategy operates through a dual marketing plan that balances standardization and adaptation. Standardization Strategy — McDonald's maintains a consistent brand image globally by offering identical food products such as McFlurry, McNuggets, McChicken, Happy Meal, and Filet-O-Fish worldwide.

Which international business strategy is McDonald's using global standardization or localization? ›

For McDonald's, this means tailoring their menu to suit the tastes and dietary preferences of customers and tailoring their marketing strategies in different countries. The localization strategy has been instrumental in McDonald's global growth, with international sales accounting for 59% of their total sales.

What type of strategy does McDonald's use? ›

McDonald's uses a value-based pricing strategy and strives to provide value to its customers across the menu, and also offers a $1-3 menu. In essence, their goal is to keep prices as low as possible.

What does McDonald's do differently in other countries? ›

The chain often incorporates various flavors to satisfy international tastes, according to Mike Haracz. The McDonald's chef says that other countries are more willing to try different flavors than Americans are, which explains why they get all the good offerings.

Why does McDonald's serve differently in other countries? ›

We try to adapt our menu to reflect different tastes and local traditions for every country in which we have restaurants. We're keen to respect cultural differences and so every country has its own policy of developing menu items.

Why is McDonald's successful internationally? ›

McDonald's has been able to build a strong brand through consistent marketing and advertising efforts, including memorable TV commercials and sponsorships of major sporting events. This has helped the company to establish a strong emotional connection with its customers, which has contributed to its enduring success.

How does McDonald's cater to their local population? ›

McDonald's example of geographic segmentation

McDonald's has successfully used geographic segmentation to target specific regions. For example, in India, McDonald's offers a range of vegetarian options, such as the McAloo Tikki burger, to cater to the country's large vegetarian population.

Does McDonald's use transnational strategy? ›

5 Transnational Strategy Examples

McDonald's has 36,000 fast food locations in more than 100 different countries worldwide, with menu and prices that change based on the local market.

What is the strategic plan of McDonald's? ›

McDonald's uses the strategy of Plan to Win to drive its worldwide expansion. This strategy has 5Ps that consist of price, promotion, product, place, and people. The company relies on strong strategic thrust and competitive advantage that mainly focus on its resources for implementing its marketing objectives.

What is an example of a localization strategy in business? ›

Airbnb is another prominent example of an effective localization strategy that's enabled rapid global expansion. The platform connects hosts and travelers from all corners of the globe, and has made localization a cornerstone of its strategy, paving the way for its success in over 220 countries and regions.

Who uses localization strategy? ›

Airbnb. Airbnb is the perfect example of how an organization can use the localization strategy to gain a competitive edge. With over six million active listings across 220 countries worldwide, Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry by personalizing every aspect of the customer experience.

Does McDonald's think globally and act locally? ›

Examples of Success: Companies that Think Global, Act Local

For example, McDonald's has a global brand and menu, but also tailors its offerings to local tastes and preferences in each market.

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