McDonald’s is the biggest fast food chain in the world, with 39,000 restaurants in 100 countries around the world.
The first McDonald’s restaurant was opened by two brothers, brothers Maurice (“Mac”) and Richard McDonald, in San Bernardino California 1940.
It was originally a drive-in, however, in 1948 the brothers decided to improve the business, after three months of renovation, a new and improved McDonald’s opened.
The small restaurant’s aim was to produce huge quantities of food at low prices.
Therefore, the brothers had to limit the menu; which only featured hamburgers, potato chips, drinks, and pie.
Along with this, they developed a simple, fast format that they named the Speedee Service System.
One of the improvements was a self-service counter that meant no waiters and waitresses were needed and customers received their food quickly because hamburgers were pre-cooked, wrapped, and warmed under heat lamps.
The brothers were charging just 15 cents for a basic hamburger.
McDonald’s was a huge success, and the brothers began to franchise
Realizing there were opportunities available from their restaurant concept, a man called Ray Kroc became a franchise agent for the brothers.
In April 1955 Kroc launched McDonald’s Systems Inc in Des Plaines, Illinois, and there he also opened the first McDonald’s franchise east of the Mississippi River.
By 1961 Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers.
Kroc set out standards for how each McDonald’s should be run, from food preparation to cleaning.
To ensure each restaurant had the same standards throughout, he created a program in 1961, later known as Hamburger University, to train franchisees.
On top of that, he eventually changed the format of the restaurants by adding counter staff to take orders, and in 1975 a McDonald’s in Arizona opened the chain’s first drive-through window.
Many major changes occurred throughout the years.
In 1964, the public face of the company was made (a clown named Ronald McDonald).
However, there was a lot of criticism over marketing to children, and the negative perception of clowns resulted in the company largely sidelining the character by the early 21st century.
Then in1968 when McDonald’s added the world-famous Big Mac to its national menu.
The famous hamburger went on to become the company’s top-selling item after French fries.
Then, during the 1960s the chain changed its logo to the famous double-arch M design, which became one of the most famous logos in the world; it was inspired by the tall yellow arches that had dominated earlier McDonald’s restaurant rooftops.
Now, figures from 2020 show that there are a total of 39,198 restaurants worldwide.
That number has increased year by year for the last 16 years.
McDonald’s is undoubtedly the world’s leading quick-service restaurant with over 39 thousand locations in over 119 markets.
Christopher John Kempczinski is now the president and chief executive officer of McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is said to have around 200,000 employees worldwide in 2020. This number has fallen by 85,000 since the previous year and has more than halved in the past five years.