McDonald's is planning to expand its global footprint by 25 percent. AFP

McDonald's announced an aggressive expansion roadmap Wednesday to reach 50,000 restaurants worldwide by 2027, in the fastest growth plan in brand history.

The fast-food behemoth, which had 40,275 restaurants at the end of 2022, will seek to effectively grow its network of sites by about one quarter.

McDonald's, which spread quickly in mid-century America, is already the biggest chain in the fast-food universe, slightly ahead of Starbucks and Subway, two other global brands.

The company is planning about $2.5 billion in capital expenditures in 2024 and will add $300 million to $500 million each year thereafter through 2027.

Manu Steijaert, chief customer officer, said the pace of the current expansion greatly exceeds the previous ramp-up from 30,000 to 40,000 restaurants, which took 18 years.

"Hopefully you can feel the confidence we have in McDonald's' development potential over the next four years and beyond," Steijaert said.

Sales in recent years have been boosted by some new offerings, such as the popular "McCrispy" chicken sandwich.

The chain has also benefited from greater online ordering since the Covid-19 pandemic, while its reputation for affordability has kept it busy with customer traffic during a period of elevated inflation.

The chain projected nearly two percent revenue growth in 2024.