McDonald’s began in 1940 when Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
In 1948, the brothers introduced the Speedee Service System, similar to the White Castle plan, which was the beginning of “fast food”.
In 1955, Ray Kroc opened the 9th location (a franchise). Kroc would later purchase the company from the brothers.
The original mascot was a chef wearing a large chef’s hat. This was replaced by the golden arches everyone knows today in 1962.
While the current organization credits Ray Kroc with the “founding” of the company in 1955, McDonald’s already had 8 locations when Kroc came to work for the company. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers’ equity in the company and began work on the company’s worldwide reach. Kroc was recorded as being an aggressive business partner, driving the McDonald brothers out of the industry.
In 1965, the company went public on the NYSE under the ticker symbol MD.
In 1967, Ronald McDonald was created as the company mascot.
The chain mostly sells hamburgers, fries, and drinks, however, it also offers chicken sandwiches and strips, fish burgers, wraps, salads, and vegetarian items, such as black bean “burgers”. The company is well known for its children’s meals, which they call “Happy Meals”. Along with Happy Meals, most restaurants offer children friendly playgrounds, indoor or outdoor, and occasionally, both.
Starting in 2009, the company began offering free Wi-Fi to its customers. McDonald’s restaurants are found in 120 countries and territories around the world and serve 68 million customers each day. At the end of 2016, the company operates 36,899 restaurants worldwide and employs more than 375,000 people. The company saw huge earnings in the first quarter of 2019, mainly due to a new menu item, Donut Stixs, and the ability to add bacon as a side to any order.
At the same time, the company announced that it would be reducing the number of items on their Late Night menu.
McDonald’s restaurants around the globe are phasing out plastic straws in exchange for paper ones. This has caused the old plastic straws to suddenly become “collectors” items on eBay, some selling for as much as $1300.
Today, the company is the world’s largest hamburger chain. There are over 33,000 locations in 119 countries worldwide. The McDonald’s corporate office is located in Oak Brook, Illinois.