McDonald’s is an American fast food company, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California, United States. They rechristened their business as a hamburger stand, and later turned the company into a franchise, with the Golden Arches logo being introduced in 1953 at a location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1955, Ray Kroc, a businessman, joined the company as a franchise agent and proceeded to purchase the chain from the McDonald brothers. McDonald’s had its original headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, but moved its global headquarters to Chicago in early 2018.
McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, serving over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries across 37,855 outlets as of 2018. Although McDonald’s is best known for its hamburgers, cheeseburgers and french fries, they also feature chicken products, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes and a negative backlash because of the unhealthiness of their food, the company has added to its menu salads, fish, smoothies, and fruit. The McDonald’s Corporation revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. According to two reports published in 2018, McDonald’s is the world’s forth-largest private employer with 1.7 million employees (behind Walmart with 2.3 million employees).
The siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald opened in 1940 the first McDonald’s at 1398 North E Street at West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California (at 34.1255°N 117.2946°W) but it was not the McDonald’s recognizable today; Ray Kroc made changes to the brothers’ business to modernize it. The brothers 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. 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 symbol, Ronald McDonald, was introduced in 1965. The clown, Ronald McDonald, appeared in advertising to target their audience of children.
On May 4, 1961, McDonald’s first filed for a U.S. trademark on the name “McDonald’s” with the description “Drive-In Restaurant Services”, which continues to be renewed. By September 13, McDonald’s, under the guidance of Ray Kroc, filed for a trademark on a new logo—an overlapping, double-arched “M” symbol. But before the double arches, McDonald’s used a single arch for the architecture of their buildings. Although the “Golden Arches” logo appeared in various forms, the present version was not used until November 18, 1968, when the company was favored a U.S. trademark.
The present corporation credits its founding to franchised businessman Ray Kroc in on April 15, 1955. This was in fact the ninth opened McDonald’s restaurant overall, although this location was destroyed and rebuilt in 1984. Kroc later purchased the McDonald brothers’ equity in the company and begun the company’s worldwide reach. Kroc was recorded as being an aggressive business partner, driving the McDonald brothers out of the industry.
Kroc and the McDonald brothers fought for control of the business, as documented in Kroc’s autobiography. The San Bernardino restaurant was eventually torn down (1971, according to Juan Pollo) and the site was sold to the Juan Pollo chain in 1976. This area now serves as headquarters for the Juan Pollo chain, and a McDonald’s and Route 66 museum. With the expansion of McDonald’s into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its prominence has also made it a frequent topic of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics, and consumer responsibility.