The Truth About How Many Burgers McDonald’s Has Really Sold

The Truth About How Many Burgers McDonald’s Has Really Sold

Just how many millions and billions of hamburgers
has McDonald’s sold over the years? Obviously, it’s a lot, but let’s get down
to the nitty-gritty with the numbers of this global burger machine. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know
about the Golden Arches and their burger boasting. The number of burgers sold has certainly skyrocketed
since the first San Bernardino, Calif., McDonald’s opened, but the restaurant group has been
bragging about its burger sales since its earliest days. Richard “Dick” McDonald is credited with coming
up with both the idea for McDonald’s golden arch logo, as well as the burger counter that
went along with it. In 1948, the McDonald brothers closed their
small barbecue stand and did an overhaul of the food preparation and serving process. When it reopened, barbecue was out and burgers,
fries, and shakes were in. Sales were slow at first, but after a few
months, customers began coming in droves. To mark the food’s popularity, the brothers
put up a painting of a red thermometer in the restaurant’s window. Sales soon hit 1,000 burgers and when the
millionth hamburger sale came in, the plan was to have the artist mark the occasion with
a painted explosion at the top of the thermometer. It wasn’t long before the press and public
took notice either. A 1952 story by the trade journal American
Restaurant touted McDonald’s popularity and efficiency, revealing that the business was
dishing out “one million hamburgers and 160 tons of french fries a year.” And are you surprised? Who doesn’t like McDonald’s? “We have Big Macs, we have quarter pounders
with cheese, we have everything that I like that you like.” A million burgers a year is now, of course,
small potatoes, and once Ray Kroc came on board to make McDonald’s a national sensation,
burger sales soared. McDonald’s was chugging along fine as a small
chain of restaurants in the early 1950s. Food sales were in the millions, and the brothers
were making enough money to buy themselves brand new Cadillacs. It was in 1954, though, that everything really
changed. The brothers went into business with Ray Kroc,
a milkshake salesman who envisioned McDonald’s moving well beyond the West Coast. Under his drive to expand, their burger sales
exploded. By the time Kroc opened his Illinois McDonald’s
location in 1955, McDonald’s had sold over 15 million burgers, only seven years after
the McDonald brothers re-opened their humble burger stand. It was the first McDonald’s location east
of the Mississippi River. By 1958, McDonald’s had expanded significantly
and sold 100 million burgers with Kroc on the team. Just two years later, he had pushed that number
to 400 million. More locations, of course, meant a lot more
burgers, and Kroc wasn’t shy about his role in elevating McDonald’s sales, even bragging, “I didn’t invent the hamburger. I just took it more seriously than anyone
else.” Everybody knows that McDonald’s sells a lot
of hamburgers. Figuring out just how many they sell by the
second seems impossible. But somebody was able to figure it out, and
in 2013, the fast-food giant was reportedly moving around 75 burgers each and every second. This burger data roughly breaks down to 4,500
burgers every minute, 270,000 every hour, 6.48 million every day, and 2.36 billion burgers
every year. It’s evident that the world is in love with
the chain’s burgers. Other estimates have put McDonald’s burger
sales at 50 million a day, worldwide, at least, which means they’re moving an insane amount
of beef. The McDonald brothers knew from the start
that they’d sell more burgers if the process was as streamlined as possible. Part of this equation was taking the choice
out when it came to toppings. Their whole concept relied on speed, low prices,
and volume. The brothers created the Speedee Service System,
named after the chain’s mascot, Speedee, who came along way before Ronald McDonald. The Speedee Service System was what made their
hamburger stand so cutting edge and allowed them to cook up 40 patties in 110 seconds
and get a meal to a customer in 20 seconds. “Here you are.” “What’s this?” “Your food.” “No, no, no. I just ordered.” “And now it’s here.” Without that service in place, the numbers
never would have climbed as high as they have. These days, you may not get your meal served
quite that quickly all the time; McDonald’s continues to place an emphasis on speed when
it comes to selling its burgers. And believe it or not, a hamburger, for example,
can be cooked and fully assembled on average in just 112 seconds. “Are you serious?” “I’m dead serious.” According to McDonald’s corporate, if there
are no other orders, a customer should be able to have a Quarter Pounder on their tray
in 180 seconds with 122 of those seconds being the patty’s cooking time. Impressive. There wasn’t another fast food chain in the
United States as popular as McDonald’s in the ‘60s, and 1963 was a pretty important
year for the Golden Arches for several different reasons. It marked the debut of the growing chain’s
first TV commercial, as well as the introduction of McDonald’s clown mascot, Ronald McDonald. While Ronald might have been all the rage
for kids back then, Ray Kroc was more focused on a groundbreaking number for the chain. Of course, we’re talking about their billionth
burger. McDonald’s was reportedly selling a million
burgers a day at that point, and Kroc arranged to have the billionth burger broadcast for
the entire country to witness. The monumental occasion was marked with Kroc
himself coming on TV host Art Linkletter’s variety show to present the host with the
monumental hamburger. McDonald’s had been counting and advertising
its burger sales on store signs for over 40 years when it decided things were getting
a little redundant. According to The New York Times, the chain
stopped posting its burger sales on location signs in 1994. That means McDonald’s signs have been pretty
vague about the number of burgers its customers have gobbled up over the past few years. Some McDonald’s signs merely read “over 99
billion served,” while other locations have signs that read “billions and billions served.” So why have their signs been perpetually stuck
in ’90s mode? Well, it appears that whoever was on burger-counting
duty at McDonald’s global headquarters missed their shift, because the 100 billion mark
passed right under their nose. Rather than admit to the world that they had
let the big occasion slip by them, they just opted for, quote, “billions and billions served,”
and some McDonald’s signs today don’t seem to even allude to just how many billions of
burgers they’ve served up. Speaking of those signs, the old signs of
the past certainly gave the impression that the company was specifically referring to
hamburgers. Of course, your nearest McDonald’s sign today
is a little vaguer and the word hamburgers isn’t even mentioned. So what exactly is that “billions and billions
served” referring to, customers or burgers? According to a now-defunct blog that stopped
tracking McDonald’s burgers in 2010, the company is referring to hamburgers, beef patties,
specifically. This means that anytime a customer orders
a Big Mac or double cheeseburger, the company isn’t counting that one burger, but rather
its two patties. Ray Kroc reportedly said the company would
track how much meat was shipped to each location over the course of a year and divide that
weight by the weight of a single patty to attain their numbers. McDonald’s might not be totally transparent
with its burger count up on their signs, but their numbers are still mighty impressive. McDonald’s signs today may not be regularly
updating customers on how many billions of burgers have been served, but we all know
that number is ever increasing. For those curious about how many burger sales
McDonald’s has under its belt, let’s look at a few reports that didn’t end up on your
local Golden Arches sign marquee, as well as some math figures. By January 2013, McDonald’s was reportedly
closing in on selling its 300 billionth burger. Considering that this report was from 2013,
it’s safe to assume that McDonald’s has far surpassed that and could even be eyeing the
400 billionth burger in the not too distant future. Science Everywhere blogger Dan Re decided
to calculate where McDonald’s burger totals sat in October 2017. By using the chain’s annual estimated burger
sales of five billion a year, that helped them jump from 80 billion in 1990 to 100 billion
in 1994, and applying the system-wide sales growth percentage from McDonald’s annual financial
reports, he came up with a served total of 377 billion as of 2017. Those numbers may not be spot on, but whatever
the current number is, you can bet it’s astronomical. After the McDonald brothers sold the company
to Ray Kroc in 1961, they were generally cut out from all of the restaurant’s operations. Years, later, Dick McDonald’s grandson confirmed
what had always been suspected. “Did your grandfather ever mention Ray Kroc
to you?” “Not really. Ray Kroc was kind of a touchy subject.” Kroc was generally regarded by McDonald’s
as the founder, but the fast-food chain aimed to make things right years later by including
the McDonald brothers in some of their celebrations. Part of this long overdue recognition involved
including Dick McDonald in its Founders Day ceremonies in 1991, which, until then, had
only celebrated Kroc, and giving him an engraved gold-plated spatula that was used to flip
McDonald’s 50 billionth burger six years earlier. At the time he was given the honorary spatula,
McDonald’s burger count had already reached 85 billion. Kroc wasn’t around for that historic 50 billionth
burger either, as died almost 10 months before the big milestone. The Big Mac has been McDonald’s premier burger
for over 50 years now, and it certainly holds some weight when it comes to those billions
of burgers served. Invented by Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchisee
Jim Delligatti in 1967, the Big Mac cost less than 50 cents at the time. Other fast food chains have certainly tried
to imitate its success but few have succeeded with the same results. McDonald’s reportedly sells 550 million Big
Macs each year, and it remains their most popular sandwich. Not only is it available in over 100 countries,
but the Big Mac even has its own museum. Perhaps the biggest testament to the Big Mac’s
impact on McDonald’s burger sales, like the museum wasn’t enough, is Don Gorske. The Wisconsin Big Mac-lover was recognized
in 2016 by Guinness World Records for scarfing down 28,788 Macs. Not one to call it quits, Gorske kept up his
14 Big Macs a week diet and beat his own record with 30,000 Big Macs. Maybe Gorske deserves some sort of official
McTrophy for doing his small part to help McDonald’s out with all those burger sales. Most of us probably don’t think too much about
just how much beef it takes to fill all those McDonald’s burger orders occurring every second. Plain and simple, it’s a lot. It takes a lot of resources to generate all
that food. For example, one pound of grain-fed beef requires
about 1,800 gallons of water, while not all of the cows that provide beef for McDonald’s
are grain-fed, some of them are. Pinning down exactly how much beef McDonald’s
buys worldwide every year is tricky. For example, in Canada, McDonald’s goes through
190,000 pounds of beef a day and buys 70 million pounds a year! Nobody buys more beef in the world than this
fast-food chain, and in 2018, the company began using more fresh beef, as opposed to
the more commonly used frozen patties. All those burgers sold haven’t come without
some backlash, though. The company came under fire from environmental
advocates for the amount of land that it uses to produce all of its beef. These advocates criticized the company for
contributing to deforestation. To McDonald’s credit, they don’t seem to be
totally blind to the issue, and they’re striving to implement more sustainable practices
in their beef production. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.


  1. Who doesn’t like McDonalds? Me. Lots of people. There are plenty of halfway decent burger joints, very few excellent ones. I can think of 1 in the last 5 years, not a chain, that I’d consider excellent. McDonalds is the worst of a shitty bunch. I don’t get it.

  2. Who doesn’t like McDonalds? Me. Lots of people. There are plenty of halfway decent burger joints, very few excellent ones. I can think of 1 in the last 5 years, not a chain, that I’d consider excellent. McDonalds is the worst of a shitty bunch. I don’t get it.

  3. If it’s so fast to make a burger, why do they always sell these unappetizing cold burgers with the cheese all hard and cold???

  4. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can make a burger like McDonalds does, better and cheaper, in less time that it takes to drive there and back. I don’t see the point unless you’re a kitchen retard.

  5. But yet with all the billions of dollars in burger sales they still skimp on the pickle slices per sandwich. You can ask for extra pickles but they drive up the price like .50 cents a burger. I thing they can afford to put 4 pickle slices per burger without driving up the damn price for christ sakes.🤣🤣🤣

  6. Woah, the one that broke the Guiness World Record for most big macs consumed is still slim and thin! Could big macs be the secret to our weight loss goals? XD

  7. McDonald's is not a restaurant!
    It maybe popular! But serves substandard junk food!
    All you can say is that it is cheap!
    You may say but it's popular so it must be good! No! People are either poor or stupid who eat there!

  8. You'd get way more views if you could cut those minutes down to under 3 minutes tops for a subject like this. Seeing almost 12 minutes…no

  9. Of course Nick Offerman (formerly known as Ron Swanson, meat lover) would play one of the McDonald brothers 🙂

  10. Rumor has it McDonald's has a burger counter at each location. And they report every hour on the hour how many burgers they served for the previous hour.

  11. I bet McDonald's will be using the license plate identification installed soon. That way they kind of know what you are going to order.

  12. They got fake milk in the shakes, fake potatoes in the fries, and it wouldn't surprise me if they had fake beef in the burgers.

  13. Uh… So like is the footage you got from a McDonald's movie, cause that wasn't footage from the time, hinting it was not a documentary.

  14. I remember McDonald's when they had signs that said TWO BILLIONS SOLD or was it 2 millions sold. In any case, it was a long time ago.

  15. Notice to Anyone:

    Keep videos under 3 minutes.
    That includes everything… Fast Food, Gardening, or Porn, The Origin of the Universe.

    OOPS. I used 1.5 minutes texting this.

  16. Anybody remember Barry Manilow's iniation as an icon?

    McDonald's is your happy place… they slap you in your face… they take your kids away (something like that).

    I love McDonald's… except for those free apple pies they throw into you bag! I threw one of those out of my bag while driving and killed a deer and her fawn.

    I still semi-love McDonald's.

  17. Southern California is the mecca of fast food: Mc Donald’s, Taco Bell, Jack N The Box, Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, In N Out, The Habit, El Pollo Loco were all founded in SoCal.

  18. i quit eating that stuff 40 years ago.
    when i'm too lazy to get out of my car, not often, i will use the drive up and order a cola, and then comes the inevitable question, "would you like a sandwich with that?" like robots. if i wanted one, i would have ordered one, no i don't care for your food.

  19. 1:35 The scenes of Michael Keaton come from The Founder (2016) Rating: 7.2/10
    The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into the biggest restaurant business in the world, with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.
    The Founder Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Michael Keaton Movie HD

  20. I haven't been to a fast food hamburger chain in over 30 years.

    We buy our meat from the butcher shop and then broil our

    hamburgers 2 pounds at a time with good ingredients and

    then we store them in the freezer to eat with pasta or on a roll.

    In other words, I use my frozen hamburgers as meat balls too.

    We heat them in the microwave for 2 minutes on days when

    we want a VERY fast burger at a reasonable price.

    Always having meatballs available also makes having pasta a quick meal.

    Steamed broccoli on top of pasta is tasty and it cuts down on your carbs.

    (Buy a steamer to cook veggies like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli etc)


    I only eat french fries when I am trying to gain weight quickly,

    which is very close to NEVER.

    Just say "no" to incredibly overpriced high fructose soda.

    High fructose corn syrup is only available in the US because

    the corn lobby has so much power in the USA. It is banned in foods in Europe.

    Thus, you don't even have to read the label of candy that is made in Europe.

    It surprises me how many people visit fast food hamburger joints.

    I have lived about 2 blocks from one of the big chains for over 10 years

    and I have NEVER, EVER been in there.


    Delaware County, PA


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