The McDonald’s Business Model Canvas

Challenge: Can you give the existing business model a circular economy twist?
The McDonald’s Business Model Canvas Creating a Circular Economy Business Model for McDonald's
Publ. date 12 May 2017
The McDonald's brand is probably one of the best-known across the globe. Let's dig a little deeper. In our range of Business Model Canvas series, we present the McDonald's business model. What are the strategic differentiators and in which areas might there be room for sustainable innovation to create a more circular business model?


The McDonald's Business Model Canvas 

The Business Model Canvas of McDonald’s can be described as follows:

  • McDonald’s is famous for its value proposition:  food of a constant quality that is served quickly and consistently across the globe.
  • The main customer segments are families, youngsters, the elderly and business people.
  • McDonald’s main strategic partners are its franchise holders. At year end 2013, more than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants were franchised. Together with its suppliers the company's model is based on a three-legged stool: suppliers, franchisees and McDonald’s. Each leg must thrive for the business to be profitable.  
  • The key activities McDonald’s engages in is the marketing and selling food and beverages.
  • Key resources are the company’s employees and its restaurants on a-locations.
  • The customer relationship takes place online on the device preferred by the customer.
  • McDonald’s distributes its products through the restaurants.
  • The cost structure consists of employee salaries, facility construction costs, raw materials procurement and marketing costs.
  • McDonald’s revenues are generated at the restaurants owned by the company itself and those owned by its franchise holders.

By having a clear view on the complete business model, opportunities for sustainable innovation can be discovered. An example already deployed by the company might be a stronger partnership with suppliers in order to create shared value. Read more about the McDonald's approach to sustainability and shared value in the article "Sustainable framework McDonald’s from gold to green". 

From linear to circular - Transforming your business model in seven steps

With over 20 years of business experience, Finch & Beak has developed GLOBE-US, an unique approach to integrate sustainability into your business strategy. By following the seven steps of the model, sustainability will become a key value driver for financial and societal impact.

  • Step 1. Description of the business model according to the 'Business Model Canvas'.
  • Step 2. Definition of the issues related to sustainability in the sector.
  • Step 3. Selecting and ranking material issues according to the relevance of stakeholders and impact on the company.
  • Step 4. Mapping the competitive environment in a value curve.
  • Step 5. Setting ambitions and targets for future progress.
  • Step 6. Identifying opportunities in the strategic areas.
  • Step 7. Feedback to the business model for a potential business model re-design. 

For an example on how BMW implemented sustainability within its business strategy and further information on different circular economy business models, please refer to the related articles at the bottom of this page.

Create the McDonald's Circular Economy Business Model Canvas!

We challenge you and your peers to create the McDonalds's Circular Economy Business Model Canvas. If you would like to share your results, ideas or suggestions, please let us now! And in case you want to know more about how to implement GLOBE-US at your organization, please contact us at for more information.

Tell us what additional information you would be interested in!

I would be interested in:

Other, please specify:

Your name

Your email

Privacy Notice | Finch & Beak © 2024. All rights reserved.