The Decline of An Empire

We Did It! McDonald’s Is Finally Getting Smaller

Good work, everyone.
Good work, everyone. Photo: John Brecher/Corbis

After decades of suffering through mealy quarter-pounders and turncoats like the Artisan Grilled Chicken, Americans have finally won a small victory: For the first time since 1970, and possibly in the fast-food chain’s entire history, McDonald’s will close more stores than it will open in the United States this year. Though the company declined to give a specific figure on the number of stores being closed and said it would constitute a fraction of its 14,300 locations here, it can’t spin its way out of the truth.

It’s the company’s outdated approach, evidenced in desperate measures like the build-your-own-burger bars, and the fact that it’s so out of step with what Americans want out of their fast food today, that’s setting McDonald’s back. There was a time when it seemed like the fast-food monolith would be around forever, forcing its snack wraps and Filet-o-Fishes on unsuspecting victims — but no longer, comrades!


We Did It! McDonald’s Is Finally Getting Smaller