McDonald’s Corp., the largest fast-food chain in the world, said Thursday it plans to add more than 1,500 restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea over the next five years. The company already has 2,800 restaurants in those regions, a majority of which are company-owned.
"Asia represents a significant area of opportunity for McDonald's to blend our global quality standards with local insights and expertise from partners who share our vision and values," said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's President and CEO.
While the company uses franchisees and licensees in its developed markets like the United States, it has largely relied on a more costly model of operating its own restaurants in other parts to oversee their quality and growth, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company is also looking for an investment partner in Asia to speed up its expansion, something it has not found easy to do. It is also looking to sell its restaurants in Taiwan and is searching for a franchisee operator in Japan.
The company announced last year it was closing 350 restaurants in China, Japan and the U.S. after a string of safety scandals kept customers away.
Sales of the Oak Brook, Illinois company suffered after a major Chinese supplier of chicken was found using expired meat last year, and again in January when customers complained of finding foreign objects in their food, including a tooth.