When it comes to fast-food restaurants, two titans of the industry are McDonald’s and Burger King.
For many families, the choice of a quick dinner usually falls between the two.
With similar menus and pricing systems, you may wonder what distinguishes the two from each other.
Here are a few differences, positives, and negatives of each of these fast-food franchises.
What Are The Differences Between McDonald’s And Burger King?
You can get a burger from both fast-food restaurants for about the same price.
Because both restaurants are quite similar to one another, you may wonder what the differences are between them.
Here are a few key differences between McDonald’s and Burger King.
One of the first distinguishing marks between the two businesses is how they got their start.
Burger King first opened in 1954.
McDonald’s had opened its first restaurant a bit before then.
Burger King got its start after its owners, Keith Kramer and Matthew Burns, saw the success of McDonald’s.
They wanted to do something similar.
McDonald’s, meanwhile, was started by two brothers named Dick and Mac McDonald.
Another man named Ray Kroc approached the brothers about their restaurant.
He loved the simple menu and quick service that McDonald’s provided.
He joined the company and helped it grow exponentially.
While McDonald’s has always been named after the two brothers who started it, Burger King was known by a different name at its start.
Kramer and Burns first called their restaurant Insta-Burger King.
They named it after a special grill they had developed for their purposes which they called an instant broiler.
A different team would eventually take over Burger King, however.
James McLamore and David Edgerton started a chain in Miami.
Their success eventually allowed them to buy out the company.
Part of their success also came from reinventing the grill.
They used a gas grill which they called a flame broiler.
They also renamed the restaurant Burger King.
Although both McDonald’s and Burger King got their starts around the same time, Burger King went through a few more changes than McDonald’s at its start.
Perhaps one of the most important distinguishing differences between Burger King and McDonald’s is the number of sales that they get.
In the first quarter of 2021, Burger King saw its sales increase by 6.6%.
McDonald’s, on the other hand, saw its sales increase by 13.6%.
Clearly, McDonald’s is seeing a larger number of sales than Burger King.
This also means that McDonald’s is likely seeing more profit than Burger King.
In 2021, Burger King earned $1.02 billion.
McDonald’s earned $23.22 billion.
When it comes to sales, it’s clear that McDonald’s is making more money than Burger King.
3. Fast-Food Sales Ranking
While the two restaurants differ based on the number of sales that they make, they also differ based on their rankings compared to other fast-food restaurants.
When comparing sales and growth, McDonald’s takes first place.
Not only does it have the most sales of all the other fast-food restaurants, but it’s also seeing the most growth.
In second place is Starbucks.
In third place is Chick-fil-A.
Part of the reason Chick-fil-A has climbed to the third spot is that it boasts the most popular chicken sandwich.
It took in $13.7 billion in sales during 2020.
Taco Bell takes fourth place.
Although it didn’t see much growth in 2020, it also hasn’t seen any losses.
The final place goes to Wendy’s.
It earned $10.2 billion in sales in 2020.
This puts it ahead of both Burger King and Subway.
As for Burger King, it doesn’t even rank on the list of the top five most successful fast-food restaurants.
This shows a clear difference between McDonald’s and Burger King.
While McDonald’s continues to be a powerhouse in the fast-food industry, Burger King is slowly becoming less popular.
4. Number Of Restaurants
Another key difference between McDonald’s and Burger King is the number of restaurants each has.
McDonald’s has 13,363 restaurants in the United States.
They also have several more throughout the world.
Burger King has 7,257 restaurants in the United States.
They, like McDonald’s, also have several more restaurants throughout the world.
Clearly, McDonald’s has more restaurants in the United States than Burger King.
This also likely influences why McDonald’s is able to pull in more sales than Burger King.
Since they have more restaurants, they’re able to cover more ground and serve more customers.
When it comes to having the most restaurants, McDonald’s is the clear winner.
5. Number Of Countries
Both McDonald’s and Burger King have grown beyond the United States.
You can find both of their restaurants in different countries around the world.
McDonald’s has restaurants in more than 120 countries.
Some of their restaurants even sell local specials that they know their local customers enjoy.
For example, you can often find bratwurst dishes for sale in Germany.
It’s also not uncommon to see McDonald’s sell beer in many of its European restaurants.
Burger King has restaurants in more than 100 countries.
Just like at home, Burger King doesn’t have as much of a reach as McDonald’s.
This might also contribute to why Burger King doesn’t take in as many sales as McDonald’s.
They’re not as present as McDonald’s.
When it comes to serving a global population, McDonald’s has more restaurants than Burger King.
Because both McDonald’s and Burger King openly compete with one another, you’ll find that they have similar menus.
However, how they cook their food is quite different.
At McDonald’s, they choose to fry their burgers as their method of cooking them.
At Burger King, they use their signature gas grill to cook their burgers.
As a result, the flavors between the two are quite different.
The fat content of the burgers is also different.
McDonald’s tends to have less fatty burgers at 9 grams of fat for a single patty.
As you start to order more complex burgers, like cheeseburgers or double burgers, the amount of fat increases.
Burger King tends to have burgers with a bit more fat.
A single hamburger patty has 10 grams of fat in it.
Like McDonald’s, the more patties you had or the more extras you add to your burger, the fattier it becomes.
Since Burger King’s burgers start with a bit more fat, they’re less healthy.
However, you’ll often hear on the cooking shows that fat equals flavor, so this also means Burger King’s burgers likely have a bit more flavor than McDonald’s burgers.
Finally, the burgers at Burger King tend to be a bit bigger or denser than the burgers at McDonald’s.
A final difference between McDonald’s and Burger King is their prices.
McDonald’s has its famous $1 menu.
You’re able to find a few sides and small meals that only cost $1.
Burger King doesn’t have a dollar menu.
As such, you may find some menu items that start at $1, but they also usually have a few cents added to them, too.
Since McDonald’s and Burger King have similar menu items, it can be difficult to compare them when they use different names for them.
That said, the Big Mac from McDonald’s and the Whopper from Burger King are essentially the same.
The price of a Big Mac from McDonald’s is $3.99.
The price of a Whopper from Burger King is a bit cheaper at $3.49.
Both restaurants also offer chicken sandwiches.
The chicken sandwich at Burger King costs $4.79.
The chicken sandwich at McDonald’s costs $4.29.
When it comes to overall pricing, McDonald’s is a bit cheaper than Burger King.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating At McDonald’s?
If you’re going to eat at McDonald’s, you may wonder what its positives are when compared to eating at Burger King.
Here are some benefits of choosing to eat at McDonald’s.
1. Easier Access
One of the first benefits of eating at McDonald’s is that it’s far easier to find one.
Since McDonald’s has a larger number of stores scattered across the United States, it’s a lot easier to find it than Burger King.
Almost no matter where you are, you can always rely on McDonald’s being nearby.
In some locations, you even have multiple McDonald’s stores close to one another.
For example, there’s likely going to be another McDonald’s store near you even if there’s one on the other side of town, too.
Due to its easy access, McDonald’s is a convenient place to eat.
2. Cheaper Prices
Although Burger King and McDonald’s are almost the same when it comes to prices, you’ll find that McDonald’s is a bit cheaper.
It’s difficult to beat their $1 menu, after all.
As a result, you can expect to save a bit of money when eating at McDonald’s.
This is beneficial for those who are trying to stick to a budget for their food.
It’s also helpful for those who are hosting a kid’s sleepover party or another social event.
If you need to buy a lot of food, the lower prices at McDonald’s are a great benefit.
3. Slightly Healthier
Fast food is only so healthy, but when it comes to the food at Burger King, the food at McDonald’s is a bit healthier.
That’s because it doesn’t have as much fat in it.
While eating some fats is a good thing, if you eat too many, it can start to affect your health.
If you’re someone who eats fast food frequently, it might be worth eating the food at McDonald’s more often since it has less fat than the food at Burger King.
What Are The Negatives Of Eating At McDonald’s?
While there are plenty of positives to eating at McDonald’s over Burger King, there are a few negatives, too.
Here are some negatives of eating at McDonald’s instead of at Burger King.
1. Fried Patties
While this is more of a personal preference, if you prefer your patties grilled, then you’ll probably prefer Burger King’s patties over the ones at McDonald’s.
That’s because McDonald’s cooks their patties by frying them.
Of course, if you enjoy the taste of fried food, this probably won’t be a negative for you.
For anyone else who prefers the traditional flavor of grilled burgers, then Burger King has the advantage in this regard.
2. Smaller Burgers
Another disadvantage or negative of eating at Mcdonald’s over Burger King is that you get smaller burgers.
The patties at McDonald’s are a bit flatter and don’t contain as many grams of meat as Burger King’s patties.
While this means you usually get lower prices, it also means you’re getting less of a meal.
This might not be ideal for those who are relying on McDonald’s to fill them up.
The food at McDonald’s is smaller and thinner than at Burger King, which means you’ll need to buy more to get full.
3. Busy Restaurants
McDonald’s is the most popular fast-food restaurant in the United States.
That isn’t always a good thing.
When you try to order during the lunch or dinner rush, you can find yourself waiting for longer than you’d like.
With stressed and overworked workers, it’s also more likely that you’re going to receive an incorrect order.
In this case, it might be better to choose a restaurant that isn’t as popular, such as Burger King.
While you’ll still likely have to wait, it probably won’t be as bad as a busy restaurant like McDonald’s.
If you’re in a hurry, you might be better off eating at Burger King rather than McDonald’s.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating At Burger King?
While there are plenty of benefits of eating at McDonald’s, there are some instances where eating at Burger King is the better option.
Here are a few reasons eating at Burger King instead of a McDonald’s is better.
1. Vegan Options
In an effort to expand their business and attract more customers to it, Burger King partnered with Impossible Foods to release the Impossible Burger.
Completely made of plants, vegans and vegetarians can finally enjoy a fast-food burger that aligns with their lifestyle.
While there are always ways to make your burger no longer plant-based-friendly, the patty, at its very heart, is made entirely out of plants.
This is a great step toward making plant-based diets more mainstream and accessible to the general public.
While McDonald’s has also tried to jump onto the plant-based bandwagon, it was arguably Burger King who started the trend in the first place.
2. Faster Service
While both fast-food restaurants have excellent service, Burger King’s service tends to be a bit faster.
That has to do with how the business is structured.
When you place an order at Burger King, it gets passed to the rest of the crew, and you’re able to step to the side.
When your food is ready, they call you up to the counter, and you can grab it and go.
This isn’t the case at McDonald’s.
At McDonald’s, they basically have one person who handles your order.
While this might mean fewer mistakes, it also means it’s a bit slower.
Even more, at Burger King, when you’re in the line, you only have to wait for the person ahead of you to put in their order before you can put in your order.
At McDonald’s, you have to wait for the person ahead of you to order and get their food before you can put in your order.
While there are cases when McDonald’s will put an order to the side because it’s going to take longer, it isn’t a part of their normal operations.
At Burger King, it is.
If you want faster service, then Burger King has the advantage here.
3. More Meat Content
If you have a restaurant called Burger King, then you better have a good burger.
Luckily, eating at Burger King usually means you’re receiving a burger that has more meat content and more fat than at McDonald’s.
Their patties are a bit thicker and have more fat in them.
This means you’re more likely to get full faster and easier.
Due to the fat content, the burger is also more likely to have more flavor to it.
If you want a good burger in terms of quality of meat, then Burger King has the advantage over McDonald’s.
What Are The Negatives Of Eating At Burger King?
Although there are some benefits of eating at Burger King over McDonald’s, there are also a few negatives.
Here are some negative aspects of choosing to eat at Burger King over McDonald’s.
1. Higher Prices
While Burger King is usually only a few dollars or cents more expensive than McDonald’s, that amount can add up.
This is especially true if you’re buying a large order or eat at Burger King frequently.
While you do get a little more food at Burger King than you do at McDonald’s in terms of food size, the difference is sometimes negligible.
As such, you’re essentially paying more for around the same thing.
If you want the cheapest food, then Burger King isn’t the choice for you.
2. Fewer Locations
When you have kids in the backseat crying that they’re hungry, you’re usually desperate for the first fast-food restaurant that you can find.
It could take you a long time to find a Burger King in your area.
That’s because there are fewer Burger King restaurants than there are McDonald’s.
They’re not spread throughout metro or suburban areas as much.
It’s also rare to find them only a few miles from each other except for high-density metro areas.
Because of this, you may have to travel further to get your Burger King fix.
When it comes to distance and convenience, Burger King doesn’t have the advantage over McDonald’s.
3. Coffee Problems
If McDonald’s has a reputation for one thing with its breakfast menu, it’s the coffee.
That isn’t the case at Burger King.
Although Burger King has expanded the flavors for its coffee, many customers still feel that it lacks flavor.
Since coffee is an important part of starting your day, it’s likely best to avoid getting coffee at Burger King and choose to stop by McDonald’s instead.
When comparing McDonald’s and Burger King, there’s a pretty clear winner.
McDonald’s is the better option when it comes to convenience, price, and menu items.
There’s a reason that Burger King is slowly falling back more and more in popularity among other fast-food restaurants.
While it may be able to reinvent itself by introducing more plant-based items, it’ll need a bit more work before it starts to go toe-to-toe with McDonald’s again.
McDonald’s has cheaper prices which makes it preferable for those with a budget.
It has more restaurants which makes it easier to find and more convenient to navigate.
It also has high-quality menu items from its meals to its coffee.
Finally, although Burger King may have started the trend toward offering plant-based menu items, McDonald’s is hot on its heels.
Between McDonald’s and Burger King, McDonald’s is the winner.
McDonald’s and Burger King got their start around the same time and have been competitors ever since.
However, when it comes to gross sales and locations, McDonald’s frequently has the upper hand.
In the end, it’s McDonald’s that comes out on top when comparing it with Burger King.