(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)
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How McDonald’s took over the world
Some say they love it, some say they hate it, and those raking in megabucks through franchises certainly say I’m Lovin’ It. Whatever your opinion of McDonald’s, there’s no denying its worldwide popularity and influence on the fast food industry. From a single restaurant in 1940, in 2018 the chain reported over 36,000 restaurants in 101 countries that collectively served around 69 million customers per day. The company has battled environmental criticism, lawsuits and mass staff strikes, yet remain a leader in their field. Here’s how McDonald’s took over the world.
The McDonald Brothers and Early Years
The rags-to-riches journey began in 1940 in San Bernardino, California when siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald had a dream to make $1 million before turning 50. They opened a drive-in restaurant with carhop girls delivering cheap sandwiches to a clientele of mostly teenage and young adult males. Eager to streamline the business, the brothers introduced the Speedee Service System in 1948, which featured 15 cent hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes. On the back of their newly-found success, the siblings launched their first franchising campaign, with new stands opening in 1953.
Ray Kroc and the First Official McDonald’s
In 1954, the Chicagoan Ray Kroc, who was a distributor for a milkshake machine used by the McDonald brothers, visited the San Bernardino stand. Impressed by the potential of the business, Kroc convinced the McDonalds to let him become their franchising agent. He opened the first official McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois and had plans to expand nationwide and globally. By 1959 he had inaugurated 102 locations and bought the brothers out in 1961.
The Big Mac and the Golden Arches
The 1960s was a time of great change and development for McDonald’s. The Filet-O-Fish debuted in 1962 and helped combat falling hamburger sales on Fridays in areas with strong Roman Catholic communities. Ronald McDonald replaced the Speedee chef as the company mascot in 1963. He was later joined by characters such as Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese, who helped to increase the chain’s appeal to children. Today’s legendary Big Mac appeared on menus in 1967 and some five billion were consumed in the first two years. At the end of the decade the iconic golden arches started to spring up. The colors were chosen because red is said to trigger hunger and yellow happiness.
The Drive-Thru and International Expansion
With soldiers from Fort Huachuca prohibited from getting out of their vehicles in uniform, McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru in Sierra Vista, Arizona in 1975. This proved to be a catalyst for drive-thru restaurants across the USA and fast food fans relished in the company policy of delivering orders in 50 seconds or less. Having already successfully opened restaurants in British Columbia and Puerto Rico, the company entered 58 new countries by the early 1990s. In China the name has been adapted to Mai Dang Lao to fit with the phonetics of the language. Kosher food is served in Israel, and halal products are offered in Arab countries.
Today the McDonald’s brand is omnipresent the world over. Restaurant designs have changed from a kids’ focus to a family environment. There’s braille and picture menus specifically designed to aid customers with hearing, speech, and vision difficulties. There’s table service at some, self-service kiosks, mobile ordering, and home delivery. The menu has moved with the times, expanding from hamburgers and fries to include options such as breakfast, coffee, gluten-free items, ice creams, juices, and salads. What’s more, avid fans can relax knowing that the Big Mac, Happy Meal, Quarter Pounder, and other classics are all here to stay.