Burton Cohen
Burton Cohen

Adjunct Lecturer of Strategy

Print Overview

Burton D. Cohen is managing partner of Burton D. Cohen & Associates, LLC, a franchising consulting firm which he founded following his retirement as Senior Vice President and Chief Franchising Officer of McDonald’s Corporation. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing McDonald’s franchising activities worldwide. In addition to formulating franchising strategy and policy, his department reviewed over 1,000 franchising transactions each year in the U.S. alone. In the 19 years that Mr. Cohen was in charge of franchising, the McDonald’s System was widely considered as the premier franchising organization in the world. His vast U.S. experience has helped replicate McDonald’s franchising philosophy around the globe. McDonald’s has more than 5,000 franchisees who own and operate approximately 75% of the nearly 25,000 restaurants in 115 countries.

Burt Cohen was with McDonald’s for 35 years and had two different careers with the company. Prior to assuming responsibility for franchising in 1980, he was Assistant General Counsel and Director of the corporate legal department.

As a member of the Top Management Group he held a number of additional senior positions:

Advisory Member, McDonald’s Corporation Board of Directors

Trustee, McDonald’s Corporation Profit Sharing Trust

Chairman, McDonald’s Corporation Rewrite Committee

Member, McDonald’s Corporation Market Share Review Board

Member, McDonald’s Corporation Economic Advisory Team

Additionally, as a franchising authority, he has lectured widely to various organizations including:

University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

Practicing Law Institute

International Franchise Association

Among other activities and recognitions are the following:

Adjunct Professor of Management & Strategy, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (teaching Strategic Franchising)

Board of Directors and Audit Committee, The Dwyer Group, Inc., a diversified franchising company (Nasdaq: DWYR)

Advisor, Primary Insight, a subsidiary of JP Morgan, Chase, and Co., providing expert advice on franchising to institutional investors and other clients of the firm.
Board of Directors, Goodwill Enterprises Development Corporation

Vice Chair, Franchise Relations Committee, International Franchise Association

Senior Consultant, iFranchise Group
Franchise Mediator, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution

Consultant and Coach, Executive Service Corps of Chicago

President and member of the Board, The Birchwood Club

American Bar Association, Forum Committee on Franchising

Louisiana State University Franchise Advisory Board

Who’s Who in America

Who’s Who in American Law

A Chicago native, Mr. Cohen received his undergraduate degree in Business and Economics from The Illinois Institute of Technology and his Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School Of Law.

Print Vita
J.D., 1963, Northwestern Law School, Northwestern University
B.S., 1960, Business & Economics, Illinois Institute of Technology

Other Professional Experience
Senior Vice President, Chief Franchising Officer, McDonald's, 1964-1999
Board of Directors, The Dwyer Group, 2002-2010
Managing Partner, Burton D. Cohen Associates, LLC

Print Research
Book Chapters
Lys, ThomasBurton Cohen and Tzachi Zach. Forthcoming. "Financing Decisions by Company (Net Stock Anomalies)." In Conceptual Foundations of Capital Market Anomalies: Handbook of Investment Anomalies, edited by Len Zacks. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Cohen, Burton, Julie Bennett and Johnny Bubb. 2009. Krispy Kreme: The Franchisor That Went Stale. Case 5-109-007 (KEL454).
Cohen, Burton, Pat Vaccaro and Scott Whitaker. 2010. Jennifer Strom-Simonte: Growing Belly Dance Maternity Through Franchising. Case 5-309-507.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Strategic Franchising (STRT-931-5)
This course was formerly known as MGMT 931-A/MGMT 931-B
Franchising is one of the most effective techniques for rapidly achieving high growth. Franchising currently generates $2 trillion dollars in the U.S. economy annually. It has also become a significant factor in international markets, as U.S. companies franchise abroad and international entrepreneurs import U.S. franchising concepts. This course explores the advantages and disadvantages of franchising from the franchiser's perspective. It also helps participants determine whether to franchise, and if so, the most effective way to do so. Topics include rapid domestic and international growth, entrepreneurship, capital leverage, equity creation and risk.