McDonald’s is an American fast-food chain that is one of the largest in the world, known for its hamburgers, especially its Big Macs.
The first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by brothers Maurice (“Mac”) and Richard McDonald in San Bernardino, California. It originally was a drive-in that offered a wide selection of items.
McDonald’s originally sold hot dogs, not hamburgers. It wasn’t until 1948 that they revamped their business and turned it into a burgers and milkshakes joint.
The brothers also introduced the “Speedee Service System” in 1948, putting into expanded use the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant that their predecessor White Castle had put into practice more than two decades earlier.
In 1954, Ray Kroc, a traveling appliance salesman, visits the McDonald’s restaurant to discover why a small hamburger shop needs as many milkshake machines as it does. He buys the rights to franchise McDonald’s restaurants across the country.
In 1955, Kroc opens his first franchised restaurant, arguably the first restaurant of the modern McDonald’s company, in Des Plaines, Illinois.
By 1960, McDonald’s restaurants were grossing $56 million annually. The growth in U.S. automobile use that came with suburbanization and the interstate highway system contributed heavily to McDonald’s success.
In 1961, Kroc buys out the McDonald brothers for $2.6 million (approximately $22.3 million in 2019 equivalent). The brothers keep their original restaurant, renamed Big M. Kroc later opened a competing McDonald’s nearby that drove them and the first-ever McDonald’s out of business by the end of the decade.
The original mascot of McDonald’s was a chef hat on top of a hamburger who was referred to as “Speedee”. In 1962, the Golden Arches replaced Speedee as the universal mascot. The mascot, clown Ronald McDonald, was introduced in 1965. He appeared in advertising to target their audience of children.
In 1967, a franchise opened in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, McDonald’s first location outside the United States.
The Big Mac was introduced in the Greater Pittsburgh area in 1967 and nationwide in 1968. It is one of the company’s flagship products and signature dishes. The Big Mac had two previous names, both of which failed in the marketplace: the Aristocrat, which Americans found difficult to pronounce and understand, and Blue Ribbon Burger.
McDonald’s pioneered breakfast fast food with the introduction of the Egg McMuffin in 1973 when market research indicated that a quick breakfast would be welcomed by consumers. Five years later the company added a full breakfast line to the menu, and by 1987 one-fourth of all breakfasts eaten out in the United States came from McDonald’s restaurants.
In 1975 McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru window in Oklahoma City. This service gave Americans a fast, convenient way to procure a quick meal. The company’s goal was to provide service in 50 seconds or less. Drive-thru sales eventually accounted for more than half of McDonald’s systemwide sales. Meantime, the Happy Meal, a combo meal for children featuring a toy, was added to the menu in 1979.
In 1990, McDonald’s opens a restaurant in Pushkin Square, Moscow. Given the cultural status of the restaurant, this is seen as a symbolic moment in the end of the Cold War. According to the restaurant’s website, it served more than 30,000 Russian citizens on the first day.
By the early 21st century, there were some 34,000 outlets operating in more than 115 countries and territories. Growth was so swift in the 1990s that it was said a new McDonald’s opened somewhere in the world every five hours. It effectively became the most popular family restaurant, emphasizing affordable food, fun, and flavours that appealed to children and adults alike.
In January 2012, the company announced revenue for 2011 reached an all-time high of $27 billion, and that 2,400 restaurants would be updated and 1,300 new ones opened worldwide.
McDonald’s holds the record of selling more than 300 billion burgers till date.
Worldwide, McDonald’s sells 75 hamburgers per second!
A McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich has 550 calories.
The ultimate best-seller on the McDonald’s menu is french fries.
One in eight Americans have worked in McDonald’s. It’s not just celebs getting their hair nets on – it’s estimated that, seeing as there are over 14,000 McDonald’s in America, one in eight Americans have done a stint working there.
The oldest McDonald’s in operation still has its original branding. The restaurant in Downey, California, was the fourth McDonald’s to open and is still going today. It opened its doors for the first time in 1953.
The smallest McDonald’s restaurant is located in Tokyo, Japan. It only has a total area of 492 square feet, almost 40 times smaller than the largest McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is the largest distributor of toys in the world – 20% of all sales at McDonald’s include a toy, with one being passed out with each Happy Meal the company sells.
McDonald’s isn’t the largest restaurant chain in the world, Subway is.