Solid Gold

Bigger And Better

Although most of McDonald's growth comes from its rapid-fire international store openings, the Hamburglar's favorite hangout still managed to multiply to the tune of 2,500 new units worldwide last year. With such astonishing growth, does saturation--a serious worry for many fast-food franchisors--concern Greenberg?

Well, he's not exactly in denial. "We know, intellectually, there's some limit to this," he acknowledges. "Saturation will inevitably occur, but I don't know when."

And apparently, there's no reason to worry yet: Those 2,500 new units opened without causing any drop-off in sales at existing restaurants. Indeed, the more McDonald's restaurants there are, the more sales increase. Forbes and Crain's Chicago Business have dubbed the phenomenon "Greenberg's Law," but Greenberg expresses no surprise at the mounting numbers.

"Wherever we've measured this," says Greenberg, "we continue to see that if you pick the right site and the location is easy to use and convenient and has lots of traffic, you'll get more business out of the marketplace." More business, to be more specific, means 33 million customers a day and counting.

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This article was originally published in the January 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Solid Gold.

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