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McDonald’s dirty little billion dollar secret

Way back when, I remember Ben Settle writing an email about the 6 most profitable words in the English language.

What is the combination of words that give you a license to print moolah, you ask?

“Would you like fries with that?”

The point in Ben’s email was twofold:

1. Selling to existing customers is more profitable than finding and selling new customers

2. You only have to break even to get mfs in the door (because you can upsell them later)

Turns out, McDonald’s (and other fast food joints) barely break even selling their “flagship” products of burgers. The real money comes from selling fries and soda (or “pop” as folks in my neck of the woods call it).

But that’s only half true:

Sure, Ben made potent points, which hold true.

But McDonald’s don’t make their moolah from fries and soda.

Not their REAL moolah at least.

Y’know what they make their real moolah from?

Real estate.


Around 70% of McDonald’s locations—in the U.S. at least, despite my Americanism, I cannot speak for other countries—are franchised out. Meaning, McDonald’s comes in, buys the property and the building, then sells their brand to the highest paying bidder—who they then collect a monthly rent payment from.

(I did a quick fact check on myself: 93% of McDonald’s worldwide are franchised out.)

McDonald’s ain’t in the food business, they’re in the real estate business!

Pretty wild, eh?

So, why do I bring it up?

One reason:

Many business owners don’t know the real industry they’re in. Like the 7% of McDonald’s around the world that didn’t get the memo that they should find an independent business owner.

Brands that sell supplements think they’re in the supplement business. Wrong. They're in the business of eliminating pain.

Brands that sell pre-workout think they’re in the pre-workout business. Wrong. They're in the business of motivating mfs.

Brands that sell jewelry think they're in the jewelry business. Wrong. They're in the business of selling status.

And so on and so forth.

I have historical references too:

Apple wasn’t in the computer business. They were in the business of thinking differently.

Nike wasn’t in the apparel business. They were in the business of accomplishing your athletic feats.

Starbucks wasn’t in the coffee business. They were in the business of productivity and serving up good vibes. (Well, at least before they added drive-throughs to most of their locations.)

The difference?

All these brands have a “product.” But what they sell is the experience and the feeling your customers get.

Understand this, my cully, and prosper.


It goes without saying that understanding this fact also helps your email make more sales. Luckily, you know an email copywriter who understands this for you, so you can sit back and watch the new revenue wash in while you relax.

Wanna see how this works?

Book a time here, and we'll hop on a quick Discovery Call to see if partnering together makes sense.



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