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20 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About McDonald's


When thinking of fast food chains, McDonald’s is probably the first option that comes to mind. Famous for its burgers, there are very few people in the world who have not heard of this business as there are restaurants in almost every location across the globe. As the biggest fast food chain in the world, it is hard to avoid McDonald’s altogether. It seems impossible not to find a McDonald’s restaurant, no matter where you are traveling to on your vacation. Similarly, barely a day goes by without seeing a television advertisement or poster advertising this fast-food chain. It is now difficult to imagine a world without McDonald’s. Despite its fame and global success, there are many facts that people do not know about this fast-food chain. Here are 20 interesting facts about McDonald’s.

It was founded in 1940

McDonald's was founded in 1940 by siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald. Their first restaurant was completely unrecognizable to what the chain is today and was located on the corner of 1398 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California. In 1948, the brothers decided to implement the Speedee Service System in their restaurant. Two decades earlier, this system had been introduced by White Castle. At McDonald’s, it was used to put in place many of the principles of a modern day fast food restaurant. Ray Kroc became involved in the business and it was he who was responsible for getting the trademark for the business. He later bought the McDonald brothers equity in the business and gradually forced them out of the company they had founded. The company is now run by a board of directors and led by chairman Enrique Hernandez and Steve Easterbrook, who serves as both president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.

It is the World’s Largest Restaurant Chain by Revenue

In terms of revenue, McDonald’s is the largest restaurant chain in the world. A large proportion of the revenue earned by the McDonald’s Corporation comes from their franchises as these pay rent, fees, and royalties. The rest of their money comes from sales in their company-operated restaurants. In 2016, the total revenue of the company was $24.622 billion. Of this, $7.745 billion was operating income, $4.686 billion was net income, and $2.2043 billion was total equity. They also had total assets valued at $31.024 billion.

They Serve 69 Million Customers Every Day

Not only do people love the delicious burgers and fries served at McDonald’s they are also fans of this fast food chain because they serve the food so quickly and the meals are affordable. Therefore, it is no wonder that people are so keen to eat at one of their establishments. It is estimated that McDonald’s serve approximately 69 million customers every single day. This is more than the entire population of France, which is around 66 million people. This means that they sell 75 hamburgers every single second and more than 5 billion burgers annually. To achieve such sales, they require herds of cows totaling 25 million cows. McDonald's now say that 70% of their food sales are from the drive-thru sections of their restaurants.

McDonald’s is the World’s Second Largest Private Employer

In 2012, a BBC report revealed that McDonald’s is the world’s second-largest private employer as they employ 1.8 million people. It is estimated that 1.5 million of these are working in franchises. They are only beaten by Walmart who employ 1.9 million. This company is also the biggest private employer in the United Kingdom. The number of people employed by McDonald’s is greater than the population of Philadelphia, which is home to 1.5 million people. Employees must be happy to work for this fast-food chain as their oldest employee is 92. Goh Gwek Eng works in one of the outlets in Singapore and is happy to go to work now her 10 children and 20 grandchildren have all left home. Her one complaint about working for McDonald’s is that it can get a little too hot when you are standing by the fryers.

They Are Moving Headquarters in 2018

When the company was first founded, they had offices within the Chicago Loop. In 1971, they moved from these offices to corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. The headquarter complex was called McDonald’s Plaza and it was located on the site of the former headquarters and stabling area of Paul Brook, the man who founded Oak Brook. This is where the McDonald’s corporate headquarters have remained ever since. However, it has recently been announced that there are plans to move the global corporate headquarters to Chicago’s West Loop. They are having a 608,000 square feet structure built to accommodate their corporate staff and offices. This structure will stand on the former site of Harpo Productions, where Oprah Winfrey shows were produced, and it is planned that the headquarters will open in 2018.

There Are Approximately 39,600 Outlets

As of 2016, there were approximately 39,600 outlets in 119 countries across the globe. This is significantly more than the combined total of outlets of their competitors. Burger King has around 14,000 outlets worldwide, Wendy’s has approximately 6,500, Taco Bell is believed to have around 6,200 outlets, and Arby’s has just 3,400 restaurants around the world. The number of outlets owned by McDonald’s is continuing to expand. For example, in 2013, they opened in 1,400 new locations. To appreciate the scale of such an expansion, Chipotle’s entire chain consists of just 1,600 locations worldwide. The largest outlet in the world is located in Orlando, Florida. Although it was already the largest, it decided to expand in 2016. It now measures a whopping 19,000 square feet. Other than the restaurant, this outlet is also home to arcade games, a bowling alley, and children’s slides.

They Spend Millions on Advertising

One reason for the success of McDonald’s is their advertising campaigns. To achieve such spectacular results, this company spends a phenomenal amount on their marketing. In 2013 alone, McDonald’s spent a whopping $808 million on advertising. Astonishingly, this accounts for 0.16% of the global advertising market of $500 billion. McDonald’s use a wide range of techniques in their marketing strategy to make sure information about their products and offers gets out to as many people as possible. These include in-store advertising, online advertising, radio and television advertisements and a range of other gimmicks.

McDonald’s Introduced Healthy Eating Options

One complaint that McDonald’s consistently received over the years was that they did not offer a range of healthy foods. They were criticized for encouraging children to eat junk food. McDonald’s always try to listen to what their customers are telling them and they realized that the gherkin served on their burgers was no longer going to cut it as an offering of fruit and veg. In response to the complaints and to follow changing eating trends, McDonalds introduced a range of healthy eating options to its menus. These included fish, salads, fruit, and smoothies. However, it may surprise you to learn that a Caesar salad from McDonald’s is just as unhealthy as one of their Big Macs. Therefore, on the face of it there are healthier options on the menu but they are not necessarily quite as healthy as they seem.

They Are the World’s Largest Distributor of Toys

If you were told that McDonald’s was the largest supplier of fast food in the world, this piece of information would hardly surprise you at all. What may surprise you to learn is that they are also the largest distributor of toys in the world. McDonald’s are famous for including a toy with every purchase of a child’s Happy Meal. These are often linked to current events or the release of a particular movie. McDonald’s now sell more than 1.5 billion toys across the world each year. This is more than either Hasbro or Mattel, two of the leading toy companies in the world. In recent years, McDonald’s has often included small books with the Happy Meals instead of a toy to encourage children to read. This has led them to distribute more books to children than the world’s largest library, The Library of Congress. A toy or book is included in around 15% of sales at McDonald’s.

The Golden Arch Logo Was Introduced in 1953

The logo of McDonald’s is instantly recognizable. The yellow ‘M’ shape is the initial of McDonald's and is called the Golden Arches. The first time this logo was used was in 1953 at a restaurant located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is now one of the most easily recognized brand logos in the world. However, this was not always the logo used by McDonald’s. When the company was first founded, their signs simply said ‘McDonald’s Famous Barbecue’ in black writing on a white background. In 1948, they changed this to ‘McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers’ and ‘Buyer by the Bag’ in white writing on a black background. It was on this version of the logo that a chef character wearing a white hat was also introduced. By 1953, the logo was a circle with a chef in a white hat carrying a sign saying ‘I’m Speedee’ with McDonald’s written above him and ‘Coast to Coast written below. Between 1968 and 1975, the logo for this company consisted of the Golden Arches on a white background with the word ‘McDonald’s’ printed across in red. From 1975 until 2006, the Golden Arches appeared on a red background with the word ‘McDonald’s’ written in white. Since 2006, the Golden Arches have been used alone as the logo. This is probably because these are so recognizable that there is not the need to include the brand name.

The Ronald McDonald Clown is More Recognizable than Santa Claus

One strategy that McDonald’s used to make its brand recognizable and stand out from the competition was to create themselves a mascot. This is the world-famous Ronald McDonald clown who is instantly recognizable for his huge smile and for his bold outfit in red and yellow. In fact, according to the book ‘Fast Food Nation’, Ronald McDonald is the most recognizable fictional character in the world. According to their survey, 96% of children across the world recognized the character as being the mascot of McDonald’s. This is more children than recognized Santa Claus. In the past, the company has been criticized for its use of the character as people say it is primarily targeted at younger children. However, this information shows that the character is an important aspect of making their brand recognizable. Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s, has defended the character and says that Ronald McDonald is going nowhere. The character was first introduced into the company in advertisements from 1965 onwards as a strategy to attract children to eat in McDonald’s outlets.

The ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ Jingle Is Performed by Justin Timberlake

Every brand must advertise to promote its products, services, and offers. For the advertising campaign to become successful, it must catch the attention of potential customers and entice them to start using the brand. One way that companies who use television or radio advertising do this is to develop a catchy jingle. McDonald’s is famous for its ‘I’m Lovin’It’ jingle and when people hear it, they instantly associate it with the McDonald’s brand. This jingle was performed by famous artist Justin Timberlake. Although this singer and performer is best-known for his career in the music and film industries, he was more than happy to get involved with the McDonald’s advertising campaign. Timberlake has made an estimated $6 million from performing the jingle, so it is certainly a business venture that has paid off for the actor and singer.

They Have a Hamburger University Training Program

McDonald’s take the training of their staff extremely seriously. They believe that if their staff are well trained, they will represent their brand well and meet their standards in terms of food quality and customer service. Therefore, they devised a training program called the Hamburger university. This is a global training scheme that is attended by approximately 7,500 students each year. The program first started in 1961 and records show that there have been an estimated 80,000 employees trained at the Hamburger University since then. The aim of the program is to teach the employees everything they need to know to maintain the standards expected by this global brand.

Hong Kong McDonald’s Host Weddings

For most people, McDonald’s is the type of place you visit for a quick lunch, a meal out with the kids, or a night out drinking. There are also some restaurants that host children’s parties and the children receive a happy meal and a visit from the Ronald McDonald clown mascot. However, restaurants in Hong Kong have taken the party concept one step further by hosting wedding parties. It seems rather strange that this would be the venue of choice for one of the most important days in someone’s life. Nonetheless, the option is there. Happy couples can actually get married in the restaurant and then enjoy a wedding breakfast of Big Macs, McNuggets, and fries with their guests.

There is a Ski-Thru in Sweden

The drive-thru is a facility of McDonald’s of which we are now well accustomed. This facility gives people the option to drive round the side of the restaurant, order their meal via a telecom system and then collect and pay for their meal at the next window. People use this option when they are in a hurry and do not want to queue inside or sit in the restaurant to eat. What is slightly more unusual is the ski-thru facility at a resort in Sweden. The McDonald’s is located at a popular ski resort in the country and there was a demand for people who didn’t want to stop their fun on the slopes to sit in the restaurant. Therefore, they created a facility allowing people to collect their orders from outside while still wearing their skis.

The Company Has Faced Lawsuits for Burns

The company has faced many difficulties over the years and one such problem is tackling customer lawsuits. In most instances, there relate to burns received from their hot drinks or deserts. Between 1982 and 1992 alone, it has been revealed that McDonald’s has face over 700 lawsuits relating to customers receiving burns from one of their hot drinks. The most famous of these was a woman who filed a lawsuit in 1992. She was a passenger in a car using the drive-thru facility at a McDonald’s when she spilt her hot coffee and suffered third degree burns. Initially, the courts awarded the woman $3 million. However, this figure was later lowered to $640,000.

75 Countries Do Not Have a McDonald’s

Despite having a global presence, there are actually 75 countries in the world that do not have a single McDonald’s. The World Atlas shows that there are 194 countries in the world. At the moment, McDonald’s has restaurants in 199 countries across the globe. There are some countries that have had a McDonald’s in the past, but the company no longer operates there. For example, Macedonia once had seven restaurants, but a dispute led to these closing. Similarly, Bolivia once had 14 restaurants, but these were closed after a political movement was created to prevent the company from making a profit. Other countries that do not have a McDonald’s include Iceland, Ghana, North Korea, Bermuda, and Zimbabwe.

Many Celebrities Have Worked for McDonalds

There are estimates that suggest that approximately one in every eight people living in the United States has been hired by McDonald’s at some point in their life. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that there are many celebrities who worked at McDonald’s prior to becoming famous. Just some of the celebrities who once worked in a McDonald’s restaurant include Pink, Jay Leno, Shania Twain, and Rachel McAdams. In a special ’60 Minutes’ program, Jay Leno returned to McDonald’s to show off his skills at burger flipping.

They Redesigned the Company in 2006

McDonald’s has remained pretty much the same over the years with just minor changes being made and restaurants undergoing basic makeovers. All that changed in 2006 when the company was redesigned for the first time since the 1970s. They introduced their ‘Forever Young’ brand and gave the look of their restaurants a complete overhaul. Their aim was to create a feel similar to that of a coffee shop. They tried to create a warmer look by using less plastic in their designs and more brick or wood. They also added wooden tables and faux leather chairs. Previously, McDonald’s restaurants were decorated in bold red and yellow colors. They were swapped for a warm terracotta, a golden yellow, and sage green. They also added some modern touches, such as hanging lights and free Wi-Fi.

McDonald’s Are Tackling Issues Relating to Animal Welfare Standards

As a brand that served meat-based products, one of the major criticisms McDonald’s has faced over the years is their treatment of animals. This company uses beef for its burgers and chickens are used for both their meat and their eggs. Animal welfare is an issue that many of McDonald's customers feel passionate about. In recent years, McDonald’s has taken steps to improve the living standards and welfare of animals raised for use by their company. Since 2005, McDonald’s have not used eggs from chickens who have lived in battery cage facilities. The company use 2 billion eggs each year which is the equivalent to 4% of the eggs produced in the United States. Therefore, their change of ethos has had a significant impact on the egg industry in the United States. One problem that McDonald’s still face is that they use pork from facilities that use gestation crates. However, they have been phasing this out since 2012.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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