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The moment that businessman Ray Kroc met Mac and Dick McDonald marked the beginning of a revolution in how the world grabs a quick meal out.

The brothers ran a small but hugely popular burger stand in San Bernardino, and mixer salesman Kroc was only in town to check out their milkshake machines. But what he found was like no other kitchen he'd seen. "I was fascinated by the simplicity and effectiveness of the system they described that night," Kroc recalled in his autobiography, Grinding It Out. "Each step in producing the limited menu was stripped down to its essence and accomplished with a minimum of effort."

That limited menu of just nine items, coupled with the brothers' streamlined process, made for cheap but reliably tasty fast food. And boy, was it popular. Kroc immediately saw the potential for nationwide expansion, and the ubiquitous Golden Arches were born. "We wanted to build a restaurant system that would be known for food of consistently high quality and uniform methods of preparation," said Kroc. "Our aim, of course, was to ensure repeat business based on the system's reputation rather than on the quality of a single store or operator."

It was a system that had not just national but international potential. The first McDonald's outside the U.S. opened in Richmond, British Columbia, in 1967. Today there are over 40,000 McDonald's in the world, operating in over 100 countries.

But some are better than others.

To find which cities, states and countries have the best McDonald's, the team here at CouponBirds analyzed over 15 million consumer reviews of 8,287 McDonald's restaurants across 315 cities in 52 countries and calculated the aggregate five-star Google Maps rating across restaurants in each location.

Key Findings

  • Indonesia has the best McDonald's restaurants in the world, with an average rating of 4.50 stars, and Sweden is the country with the worst (averaging 3.33 stars).

  • Bremen, Germany, has the worst-rated McDonald's of all cities in our study (3.03 out of 5), based on the 22,255 reviews we analyzed across 14 local McD's. Jakarta, Indonesia, has the best (averaging 4.5 out of 5).

  • Connecticut has the best McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. (averaging 3.79 stars). In fact, Bridgeport, Connecticut, is the best-rated U.S. city for Mickey D's, with an average rating of 3.79 stars.

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the U.S. city with the worst McDonald's restaurants in America (3.09 stars), and South Carolina is the worst-ranked state where to go to McD's (3.15 stars).

Asia's McDonald's Restaurants are Officially the Best in the World

Six of the best countries to grab a McDonald's are in Asia, and three are in Latin America. Indonesia has the most adored McD's in the world, with an average rating of 4.50 stars across nearly half a million reviews of the country's 90 restaurants.

As well as a spicy take on the international classics, Indonesian McDonald's offers unique local promotions such as Hello Kitty's McDonald's Prosperity meal - celebrations will continue throughout the 50th anniversary of the cute Japanese cat. And in case you're wondering, it's not just the locals who rate McDonald's highly - intrepid travelers are lovin' it, too.

Which Country Has the Best and Worst McDonalds

America's feelings towards local McDonald's are decidedly mixed, averaging a rating of just 3.44 stars across the country. Only four countries have a lower average rating, two of which are in Scandinavia: Denmark (3.42 stars) and the world's worst country for McDonald's, Sweden (3.33 stars).

Swedish McDonald's is more vegan-oriented, which may catch some visitors off-guard. The restaurant aims to keep it classy by commissioning classical compositions to accompany its sandwiches, but 10 krona (US$ 0.93) for a glass of water is a little too elite for some visitors.

Eight U.S. Cities Among the Worst Places to Eat at McDonald's

The global cities with the best McDonald's largely follow the pattern of the best countries (above). The top three spots are held by the Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung, followed by cities in Pakistan, Thailand and Guatemala.

However, the northeastern Hungarian city of Debrecen puts Europe on the table. McDonald's restaurants in this historic city average a rating of 4.26 stars. "The building looks very well renovated while preserving the historical atmosphere," says a reviewer of one city center joint. "Very nice staff," says a reviewer at the Füredi Road branch, "the food is the same as everywhere."

The Global Cities With the Best and Worst McDonalds

However, the U.S. fares worse on a city level than when McDonald's restaurants are assessed countrywide: eight of the ten lowest-rated cities are in America. Montréal in Canada takes the tenth-worst spot, with an average rating of just 3.17 (out of 5).

But the worst city in the world to get McDonald's is Bremen, Germany, where the average rating is 3.03 stars across 22,255 reviews of 14 local restaurants. "Rude staff, paying to go to the bathroom, and a burger with half the ingredients and cold," says one visitor to Bremen's most central McD's, opposite the cathedral - other than that, we must assume, his visit was fine.

Non-contiguous States Among the Best Areas for McDonald's in America

America's strongest states for McDonald's are a far-flung bunch, from Connecticut (3.79 stars) to Hawaii (3.78 stars) to Alaska (3.66 stars). A McDonald's at a rest stop in Connecticut recently made the press for its prices, with an $18 10-piece McNugget meal raising the eyebrows even of McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski. However, the reviews consistently praise the cleanliness, environment and customer service of this unusually expensive branch.

Which American States Have the Best and Worst McDonalds

Hawaii's average rating is just a fraction below Connecticut's. The islands are particularly well-served in the dessert department: Hawaii is one of only two states still serving fried apple pie, and every Hawaiian McDonald's serves the rare (and spectacular) Guava and Creme Pie.

Bridgeport, CT, is America's Best City for McDonald's

Our U.S. city-level ranking reveals Bridgeport as the burger-fueled powerhouse behind Connecticut's position as The McDonald's State. But it also highlights some McDonald's hotspots in other parts of the country.

Los Angeles (3.72 stars) is California's best city for McDonald's and the third best in the U.S., while Yonkers (3.68 stars) is New York's best spot and ditto Miami (3.67 stars) for Florida. A burger in Miami always has a frisson of excitement about it, at least since Miami Marlins' star Jazz Chisholm revealed that he used to eat at McDonald's every day.

The American Cities With the Best and Worst McDonalds

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has some work to do. The city's McDonald's restaurants average a rating of 3.09 (out of 5), the lowest in the country. An emotional moment at a Pittsburgh area McDonald's was caught on video in 1985 when the last local old-school McDonald's closed in favor of a new, sit-down restaurant on the other side of town - partly to cope with demand for glamorous new menu items such as the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder.

Many locals had been regulars since the store's 1964 opening when, according to owner Paul Sweeney, "all we sold was hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fillet of fish." Perhaps today's locals long for the days when the restaurants had more character: "It's the golden arches, not much to review," writes one three-star reviewer of Pittsburgh's 4th Avenue franchise.

Home to The World's Most Pampered Potatoes

Despite McDonald's mixed reputation, care and quality have always been among the brand's guiding principles. Simple efficiency, rather than corner cutting, caught Ray Kroc's eye when he visited San Bernardino in 1954, and a trainee would later remark to him: "We have the world's most pampered potatoes. I almost feel guilty about cooking them."

Said Kroc himself: "Who among us is not now less tolerant of slow service, overpriced meals, soggy french fries, or a lack of cleanliness in eating places?" Little did he know, online reviewing was just a few years away, waiting to hold those who fell short of the McDonald's brothers' vision to account.

Methodology

We began our research by building a seed list of countries with more than 50 McDonald's restaurants, according to the brand's corporate website. We then collected the addresses for McDonald's in the most populous cities in every country by accessing each country's unique website and restaurant locator.

With McDonald's addresses in hand, we located the restaurants on Google Maps and analyzed customer reviews, counting reviews for each star rating. Then, we calculated the weighted average for all restaurants in a location.

NOTES:

  • Number of Google Maps reviews analyzed: 15 million

  • Number of unique McDonald's restaurants analyzed: 8,287

  • Number of U.S. reviews on Google Maps analyzed: 5.4 million

  • Number of unique American-based McDonald's analyzed: 3,048

  • Data for Singapore was not retrievable

  • Our data is correct as of April 2024

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