Running down to the local drugstore, fast food chain, or even supermarket seems like such an everyday part of life. And aside from regional exceptions, there are a number of stores that you know you’ll find throughout the United States—and abroad. Anyone who’s ever visited a country where the cuisine is entirely different from their own has probably made a quick trip to McDonald’s just to “play it safe.” But have you ever wondered just how numerous some of those ubiquitous quick eateries or stores are?
Are you surprised that the footlong giant is the largest store in terms of worldwide locations? They operate over 40,000 stores in 112 countries. Even Singapore, a tiny nation-state, has 79 locations! The most exclusive Subway ever was at the top of One World Trade in New York. It was a moveable pod that allowed construction workers to grab a quick bite at the top of the active construction site.
I’m lovin’ it. Are you lovin’ it? If the word “ubiquitous” had a mascot, it would be McDonald’s. The brand churns out tasty treats to 69 million customers in over 100 countries daily. While the popular fast-food chain is number two for locations, when we look at revenue, McDonald’s is first for fast food restaurants. The popular franchise netted nearly $6 billion in income in 2018.
Why is there an asterisk? It turns out that there’s a difference in number between the official location count of 2018 and what Starbucks currently claims to offer. According to Statista, in 2018 Starbucks operated 29,324 stores—with 14,606 in the U.S. and the remaining 14,718 abroad. However, their Wikipedia corporate profile references an early 2019 investor relations press release stating “over 30,000 locations worldwide.”
4. Kentucky Fried Chicken
Are you old enough to remember when Kentucky Fried Chicken’s name changed? Whichever camp you fall into, KFC also makes this list with over 20,000 locations across 136 countries. The chicken chain is so popular, it’s the largest fast food restaurant in China with 5,003 locations as of 2015. KFC is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a parent company that also owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and WingStreet.
5. Pizza Hut
Food continues to make the list, and this time we’re talking pizza. Pizza Hut operates over 18,000 locations. Just like all of the other fast food locations on this list, in addition to the “standard” menu that you can find in the U.S., Pizza Hut’s international locations offer unique twists that incorporate local cuisine. But if you’re an ‘80s kid, you probably remember Pizza Hut’s Book It! program that rewarded bookworms with free personal pan pizzas.
6. Burger King
Are you a fan of “The King,” or do you find this chain’s mascot a little weird? You wouldn’t be alone, but Burger King is a popular pit stop for burger lovers in 100 countries. Roughly half of the locations are U.S.-based and privately owned and operated. The firm’s very first international franchise was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But interestingly enough, in Australia, the brand isn’t known as Burger King but Hungry Jacks because of a trademark dispute.
7. Dollar General
Let’s switch from food to shopping. Dollar General is a budget-friendly retailer of general merchandise and some prepared and frozen foods. The brand operates 15,000 locations in the U.S. Fun fact: They were able to outbid the luxury design house Dolce & Gabbana for the coveted “DG” initials website (www.dg.com). Dollar General uses DG to sell many of their own privately-branded goods.
8. Walgreens Boots Alliance
If you’re from the New York area, you’re probably familiar with Duane Reade, a local pharmacy that was later absorbed by Walgreens, before that firm then joined with Boots Alliance, a U.K. chemist (or pharmacy, for those outside the U.K.). The joint deal allowed for various U.K. brands to be distributed in the U.S. But combined, the Walgreens Boots Alliance controls over 14,000 stores across 25 countries. In the U.S. alone, there are 9,560 Walgreens/Duane Reade stores.
9. Walmart Stores, Inc.
Are you surprised that Walmart is this low on this list? We were, too. But, if you adjust for revenue, Walmart is the strongest retailer worldwide. According to Investopedia, in 2015 the company reported $487.5 billion in revenue. But the company doesn’t just operate under the Walmart brand. In addition to worldwide Walmart locations, the company also owns Sam’s Club in the U.S., ASDA in the U.K., Bodega Aurrera in Mexico, and Seiyu in Japan. In total, Walmart operates over 11,000 stores in 27 nations.
Finally, we swing back to coffee. Depending on what you prefer, you either do or don’t agree that “America runs on Dunkin’.” With over 10,000 stores worldwide— 7,677 in the U.S.—clearly, people enjoy Dunkin’ coffee. These days, the brand has dropped the “Donuts” to signify that they make more than donuts. Dunkin’ is part of the Dunkin’ Brand which also owns Baskin Robbins.