bannerFranchise News

How Do You Open a McDonald’s Franchise?

The beloved American fast-casual dining establishment seemingly has restaurants everywhere, but what does it take to open your own McDonald’s franchise?

By Jeff DwyerStaff Writer
10:10AM 04/14/23

There’s no question that McDonald’s is one of the most successful franchise networks in the world. The brand boasts more than 38,000 locations in over 100 countries across the globe. The golden arches stand out as one of the most recognizable brand identifiers out there. If you’ve ever driven down just about any main road in the U.S., then you’ve likely spotted them. But how exactly does someone go about opening their own McDonald’s? What does that process look like?

Read the Franchise Disclosure Document

Before beginning the process to open a McDonald’s location, be sure to read through the company’s lengthy Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Reading through the FDD will provide an overview of everything prospective franchisees will need to know about the rights and responsibilities of a McDonald’s franchise owner. Specifically, the FDD will explain all the costs associated with opening and running your McDonald’s, how McDonald’s as a franchisor will support you, what your responsibilities as an owner and operator will look like, and more.

What It Takes

If you’ve read through the FDD and have decided you want to open your own McDonald’s, great! You’re already well on your way. The first official step to becoming a McDonald’s franchisee is to go through the franchise’s initial application process. This application will ask for information like your background, prior business experience and investment capabilities. Once you’ve submitted your application, McDonald’s will review your information and share more details about what it takes to be a successful franchise. Depending on the information you provide to them, McDonald’s will also immediately determine whether or not they believe you’re a good fit for their franchise team.

If you’ve passed the application phase, McDonald’s will then move on to its second stage and set up a phone interview with you. In addition to the phone interview, the corporate team may ask you to fill out a personality questionnaire to learn more about who you are as a person. McDonald’s may also require you to take ability tests, which will test your knowledge of business operations. As part of the process, McDonald’s will conduct a background and credit check. Typically, the leadership team is looking for franchisees with excellent credit who have prior experience as entrepreneurial business owners.

After you’ve completed these stages, the corporate team will ask you to travel to their headquarters to participate in one final panel interview. During this interview, the McDonald’s leadership team will ask you more in-depth questions about your experience and give you the opportunity to ask any lingering questions you have about franchise ownership. Once this interview stage is complete, McDonald’s will make its final decision about whether or not they believe you fit the bill as a potential franchisee.

Moving on, McDonald’s will then verify your assets and finances. At this stage, you should already know what sort of initial investment is required to open a McDonald’s restaurant. The initial investment can vary based on a number of factors, including location, potential profitability, sales volume and occupancy costs. The initial investment to open a McDonald’s location ranges from $1,366,000 to $2,450,000, including a $45,000 franchise fee.


Now that McDonald’s has verified your assets and you’ve reviewed all the necessary legal documents, you’ll be required to attend the brand’s Franchisee Training Program. All franchisees are required to complete the training prior to being allowed to purchase McDonald’s restaurants. This training can take anywhere from six to 18 months, and can be completed on a part-time basis.

This program will give all prospective owners and operators hands-on training and will teach them how to run a successful business. It consists of a variety of training courses and includes in-house restaurant operations and management training, various seminars, conferences, and more. After a franchisee has completed the training and is deemed a “qualified candidate” by the McDonald’s corporate team, then they will be allowed to purchase their own restaurant.

Opening a McDonald’s

Congratulations, you’ve finally been approved to open your own McDonald’s! Now, all that’s left is to choose a location and open for business! For starters, you have two options when opening a McDonald’s franchise. You can either buy an existing restaurant or open a new location. If you buy an existing location, the down payment tends to be significantly lower than it would be if you were buying a new restaurant, as you’ll have fewer construction and renovations to handle. After you’ve selected a location, you’ll need to get your supplies in order, hire employees and prepare for your grand opening!

As a franchisee, you’ll be responsible for paying monthly dues to corporate. These dues are usually about 4% and are based on your restaurant’s sales performance.

It’s by no means a small investment; opening a McDonald’s takes a lot of time, money and hard work. But if that sounds appealing to you, and you want to grow with what’s arguably America’s most well-known burger franchise, then McDonald’s may be the right choice.