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McDonald's Is Downsizing for the First Time Ever

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It's shuttering more stores than it is opening this year.


McDonald's is officially McDownsizing: According to the Associated Press, for the first time in over 40 years — or possibly ever — the number of McDonald's locations in America is shrinking. The struggling chain plans to close more restaurants this year than it plans to open, which the AP notes hasn't happened "since at least 1970."

The company's CEO Steve Easterbrook revealed in April that McDonald's major restructuring plan included plans to shutter 350 restaurants in the U.S., Japan, and China in addition to 350 outlets the chain already closed earlier this year. However, McDonald's doesn't sound too worried about the closures: Spokesperson Becca Hary tells the AP that the reduction "would be ‘minimal' compared with its total 14,300 locations" in the U.S.

Even with the shutters, McDonald's is still America's largest hamburger chain. While Burger King is in the midst of a growth spurt, it still only has half as many restaurants as the golden arches. And even though McDonald's is closing locations stateside, it has plans to open 300 restaurants globally.

McDonald's has been suffering through slumping sales as consumers turn to chains like Chipotle for its higher quality food. In May, Easterbrook announced McDonald's plans to improve the perception of its food. To do this, the chain introduced items it labeled  "artisanal," like a chicken sandwich. However, so far, not many people believe it's actually "artisan."