Here’s Why European McDonald’s Signs Are Green

If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ve probably noticed that McDonald’s restaurants are not red and yellow but green and yellow. Here’s a picture I took last August when I was in Stockholm, Sweden so you know exactly what I’m talking about:

Photo: I’m A Useless Info Junkie

I don’t know about you but I found that to be rather odd, especially when the bright red backdrop is a signature color of the McDonald’s brand. So, I decided to look into it and as it turns out, it’s a brilliant marketing thing.

Here’s the interesting story. (the article continues after the ad)

Back in the early 2000s, McDonald’s was facing enormous pressure from European activist’s groups and environmental organizations regarding their business tactics. As the pressure was growing, the company decided that it was time to take action in order for critics to stop vilifying them as an example of greed.


In 2007, the group announced a series of environmental and social initiatives throughout Europe aimed to prove that the company is environmental friendly. For example, they included environmentally friendly refrigeration, they swapped over to non-hydrogenated cooking oil and used that cooking oil into biodiesel fuel that powered their vans. Menus were also changed, with the introduction of organic milk, sustainably grown coffee and toasted deli sandwiches.

So, in order to communicate the change and for their restaurants to reflect this new branding, the classic red color was replaced with a sage green.

The first country to adopt the new image was Germany with all their restaurants changing to the new color scheme in a period of two years. Other European countries followed and that’s why today, all McDonald’s restaurants in Europe have a green background behind those iconic Golden Arches. (the article continues after the ad)


Well, back in 2007, the company decided that other parts of the world such as the US, were not ready for a change like this. But in 2012, the verdict was that green was “the way to go” and all red signs will be gradually replaced with green ones. In fact, this change will not only affect the outdoor appearance of the restaurants but the interior design as well: instead of the standard decor of plastic chairs and bench booths, the fast food giant wants to project a more… Starbucks image with muted browns, and wooden tables instead of fiberglass. So yes, changing all their restaurants to this new color palette is just a matter of time.

What about your local McDonald’s restaurant? Is it still red or has it changed to a green backdrop?

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Why Do McDonald’s Nuggets Only Come In These Four Shapes? 

Copyright © I’m A Useless Info Junkie. Expand for sources and details.

Main Article Photo:  Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia, NNECAPA Photo Library / Flickr
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: McDonald’s going green – I’m lovin’ it. …? | McDonald’s rolling out ‘green’ logo in Europe | McStarbucks? McDonald’s takes some café culture lessons as it tries to go upmarket with nationwide redesign

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