McDonald’s has announced plans to improve the equality and minority representation in its senior ranks by 2030.

The fast-food giant has said it will look to achieve an equal number of men and women in leadership, and up its minority representation in senior roles from 29% to 35% over the next four years.

The move follows allegations from a black franchisee earlier this month, who filed a civil rights lawsuit and accused the company of treating white franchise partners more favourably.

Herbert Washington, who owns a string of McDonald’s restaurants in the US, argued that the company’s discriminatory practices has led to a $700,000 (£505,000) sales gap between black-owned franchises and those held by white people.

McDonald’s refuted the accusations, and blamed Washington’s “years of mismanagement” for the sales disparity.

Similar claims of discrimination have been made against the brand from franchisees and executives in the US previously, leading to the company launching a new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative in July last year.

“We recognise these issues weigh heavily on our people and have heard - loud and clear - that diversity, equity and inclusion are priorities for our entire team, from our crews to our senior leaders,” McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski wrote in a letter to staff.

“We’re serious about holding ourselves and our leaders accountable to these foundational commitments.”

The company plans to tie executive pay to meeting the equality targets going forward.