According to the data round-up at Nation Master, the United States has 12,804 McDonald's locations, almost four times as many as the next closest country, Japan. It's no wonder that the popular fast food chain is an ever-growing choice for people looking to become franchisers, whether they wish to open a new location or take over an already existing one. To do so, aspiring franchisees must follow McDonald's strict location and financial guidelines.

Where to Buy

McDonald's restaurants are ubiquitous, available in all kinds of locations such as malls, busy streets, airports, colleges and even major highway rest stops. Depending on the location, they may also have special features such as play places (in neighborhoods) or business centers (airports). The corporation does not guarantee a location close to franchisees' homes and recommends candidates be flexible about their potential for moving to an available location.

Site Specifications

Although the McDonald's real estate team decides where to build, and then once the property is complete, selects a candidate from their current pool, the company will consider offers of property from potential franchisees. Requirements are that available space must be approximately 50,000 square feet with additional room to build on approximately 4,000 square feet. McDonald's prefers the location to have a "corner wrap" (at the intersection of two roads) with permission for signage. The location must support height requirements of just under 24 feet.

Financial Outlay

To purchase a McDonald's franchise, you must put down either 40 percent of the total cost if franchising a new McDonald's or 25 percent if taking over the franchise of an existing one. The rest of the purchase price must be paid within seven years. The franchiser must have a minimum of $500,000 in savings, property and resources to begin the franchising process. After the restaurant is paid off, the franchiser will continue to pay the McDonald's corporation rent and a service fee based on the restaurant's performance (approximately 4 percent of each month's sales).