McDonalds Supply Chain

Over the summer, I had a chance to interview with McDonald’s supply chain department for an internship. In this interview, I gained a vast amount of information about McDonald’s supply chain. McDonald’s focuses on three main concepts in maintaining the supply chain that helps 14,000 restaurants in the United States run smoothly: ethics, environment and economies. This goes hand-in-hand with another philosophy McDonald’s has, called the three-legged stool method. This method is unique to McDonald’s business, incorporating achievement, trust and “personal”.


When it comes to McDonald’s supply chain, the main focus is bringing food from cow to plate. This is a short way of saying that the company wants to know every detail about how their ingredients are brought into the restaurants. McDonald’s has such a great relationship with their suppliers that they trust them enough to have no written contracts with them. Of the 14,000 United States restaurants there are, no contracts have been written up to ensure that every restaurant has beef, for example, each day. This is pretty impressive. McDonald’s also tries not to completely knock out a supplier’s entire crop and make it so they cannot work with them again. The company always tries to gain a lasting relationship with all of their suppliers; this is a great thing for the farmers and is also a positive for farmers to keep these long lasting relationships. The relationships between McDonald’s and their suppliers are the center to the three-legged stool method.


Another interesting aspect of McDonald’s supply chain is how they decided what menu items are available. For example, over the summer, McDonald’s offered Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal as a breakfast choice; however, the oatmeal has been in the works for a long time. Before it could hit the nationwide menu, though, McDonald’s needed to find enough suppliers to grow the blueberries that they would use in restaurants. Since McDonald’s is such a large market, finding some of the fresh ingredients can become a problem. For example, if McDonald’s wanted to create a Pineapple Salad, they would not be able to because the pineapple supply in the world is not large enough to supply all of McDonald’s restaurants.





2 thoughts on “McDonalds Supply Chain

  1. The above is a perfect example of the importance of affective supply chain management. McDonald’s fully understands how critical its suppliers are to its overall operation. Given that McDonald’s operates in a variety of geographic markets worldwide its supply chain approach must be flexible in order to accommodate many different local tastes and preferences. As is evident McDonald’s gets it right more often than not and thus is able to stay successful in delivering big macs to the world.

  2. This is a very interesting post because you have an insider’s perspective. I did not know about McDonald’s three-legged stool and find it very interesting (an unusual) that personal is one of them. I value the fact that they maintain strong and trusting relationships with their suppliers, but I believe those same suppliers are the ones as PETA is always attacking? Because McDonalds is SO large, and needs massive amounts of food a day, these suppliers may not always treat the animals in an ethical (or even humane) way. I would like to see McDonalds employee more local farmers that are close to their restaurants. This may increase their prices, but I would be more inclined to eat there.

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