Arcos Dorados

Arcos Dorados

Arcos Dorados: Representing McDonald’s brand in nearly 20 countries...

Produced by Taybele Piven


Present in 23 states and in the Federal District, half of the sales revenue is generated out of the southeastern region between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The first McDonald’s in Brazil opened in 1979 in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Two years later, the first restaurant of the chain opened in the state of São Paulo, in the heart of Avenida Paulista.

These openings were followed by a series of other firsts: Drive-Thru, franchised restaurant outside the Rio-São Paulo axis--in Brasília, Ronald McDonald house, and Nutritional Guide, in 1994.  

Maintaining the brand cornerstones, in 2007 all of the restaurants in Latin America started to be operated by Arcos Dorados. According to its Vice President of Operations, Rogério Barreira, “at Arcos Dourados, we work every day to accomplish our mission of serving quality food, always providing a unique experience based on our values. The management of the supply chain, for example, is one of the key factors to our success”.


The company meets all of the food quality and safety requirements set by McDonald's Corporate, building up long standing relationships with ingredient providers. Through the development of local suppliers, Arcos Dorados can meet demanding quality standards, like safety and consistency of products, in compliance with internationally-recognized food manufacturing practices.  

One example is the quality of the protein. Celso Cruz, Director of Supply Chain says:  “McDonald’s has adhered to the MSC [Marine Stewardship Council] seal that controls the legal and responsible fishing production chain, based on environmentally healthy standards.

Beef is another prominent point in the food safety program. Raw materials come from pastures where the climate and soil are perfect, meeting the highest quality standards required by the company. “Contrary to many rumors, we use 100 percent beef. Furthermore, the quality of the burgers is not only related to the origin of the animal, but also to the care it receives,” adds Cruz. Arcos Dorados is a member of the Sustainable Livestock Breeding Work Group (GTPS), an association of representatives from different segments of the Brazilian bovine cattle value chain.

Proteins are not the only products used by the chain certified by globally recognized institutions. Coffee is also in this select group and bears the seal of Rainforest Alliance – an entity created to strengthen coffee producers, training them in methods to increase production and protect soil health.

Through the “Open Doors” program, Arcos Dorados invites customers into its restaurant kitchens to inspect processes and products, as if they were members of the McDonald’s team. The vice president reaffirms the importance of this relationship. “It is the opportunity the customer has to feel the experience and confirm the quality of our food and, especially, of our service,” he stresses.


Recently, the Great Place to Work ranking named Arcos Dorados the fourth best in Latin America. The results are based on surveys conducted with more than 3.5 million collaborators in 2,200 companies across the region.

Among the top companies in the ranking, Arcos Dorados has the largest number of workers in Latin America, in addition to providing the most first-jobs for youth.

The company invests around 14 million USD every year in training. This takes place at Corporative University--McDonald’s “university,” Regional Training Centers under the University coordination, and its own restaurants. In 2012, the University was granted the important LEED seal – a certification for buildings that comply with the national enterprise’s commitment to sustainability. This was achieved the same year the institution celebrated 15 years of operation. In this same period, Arcos Dorados accepted more than 15,800 students from 15 Latin American countries who were trained in one of three business areas covered by McDonald’s University.


In addition to teaching leadership, business and operating excellence, the company also plans to expand strategic partnerships to offer post-graduation studies. These include MBA’s and other business programs in partnership with renowned institutions like FGV, FIA, Universidad de Morón, SENAC and Harvard.

The Training Center offers several programs for managers like Operating Excellence, Consolidation of Companies and Management of People. These are conducted in 84 Training Center restaurants (RCE) in countries where Arcos Dorados operates.


Employees are always involved and encouraged to take part in initiatives that show the company’s social responsibility. One of these is the “Good Neighbor Tournament.” This initiative fosters team solidary and activity beneficial to the communities surrounding the restaurants. In 2013, it reached more than 6,700 local actions.


In terms of sustainability, just over five years ago, Arcos Dorados opened its first ecological McDonald’s. The restaurant, located on the beautiful Riviera de São Lourenço, in Bertioga, was built with recyclable material following special methods. Cruz admits that the green restaurant is a great achievement. “The cool thing about it is that in addition to the recycled construction materials, other equipment and materials from the region were used, not to mention the automatic systems of air conditioning and use of rainwater,” he stresses.