Just How Happy Does the Happy Meal Make McDonald’s?

Happy Meals have taken a bit of a beating lately. First there was that six-month-old Happy Meal hamburger that didn’t grow mold or decompose, and then San Francisco tried to ban toy inclusion in kids’ meals. With the iconic product in the critics’ crosshairs, we wondered, just how valuable is the Happy Meal to McDonald’s?

The company is rather guarded about specifics, but a spokeswoman offered that Happy Meal sales account for less than 10% of McDonald’s U.S. business. Given McDonald’s massive size — it notched about $30.9 billion in U.S. systemwide sales in 2009, according to Ad Age’s DataCenter — that’s nothing to sneeze at.

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