[ Originally posted on LinkedIn ] But is it? Is McDonald’s in the real estate business instead of fast food? I don’t think so. What McDonald’s does (as beautifully explained in this post, and in the film “The Founder” before it) is tweak its leverage. Fancy financial jargon but it’s not very uncommon in servicing companies known to have reasonably high volatility and paper thin margins. Airlines do that all the time. Ask southwest or indigo. Now, are they in the business of buying and leasing planes? Again, I don’t think so. Companies are in the business of serving their customers. I don’t remember the last time I went to McDonald’s and ordered a happy meal of 25 square feet of property. I said “I want chicken nuggets and yes, I’ll have fries with that”, and that was it. McDonald’s is a burger flipping company that hires smart accountants to make it look like a real estate company. If there’s no Big Mac, Ronald’s real estate is going to be very lonely.