McDonald’s is an internationally famous restaurant chain and is actually more globally recognized than the cross! Feeding 68 million people a day, chances are you’ve been to a McDonalds at some point in your life. But did you know that the first Mcdonald’s items sold were not burgers but hotdogs?
Despite the 121 trans-fat ingredients and chemicals put in their high-calorie food, people can’t get enough of McDonald’s. From the history of the franchise to employee secrets, check out these interesting facts you didn’t know about McDonald’s!
It Started as a BBQ Restaurant
In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first-ever McDonalds BBQ restaurant in California. Now it’s a museum. In 1948, the menu switched to burgers, steaks, potato chips, milkshakes, and pie for dessert.
The brothers hired a few multi-mixers for the restaurant. One multi-mixer salesman, Ray Kroc, visited the restaurant. He enjoyed the place and was impressed by their efficiency. Kroc bought the franchise rights for McDonald’s, and in 1955, he opened the first one in Illinois.
The First Drive-Through was Inspired by the Military
Although the first McDonalds restaurant opened 77 years ago, the first drive-through didn’t open until 1975 in Arizona. This was a revolutionary concept at the time and is still successful today.
What’s interesting is that the drive-through restaurant was inspired by the army. There was a military installation near Fort Huachuca, and soldiers weren’t allowed to leave their cars while they were in full uniform.
The Ronald McDonald House makes a Big Impact
The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the health and overall well-being of children. In 2013, the charity raised about $450 million!
The funds were used to help almost $9 million kids and their families all over the world. Currently, the organization has a global network located in 36 regions. The primary programs are The Ronald McDonald House, The Ronald McDonald Family room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
There are More McDonalds Restaurants than Hospitals
There are a lot of hospitals in the United States. It’s important to have them in as many locations as possible just in case there is an emergency.
What is interesting, however, is that there are more McDonalds than hospitals in America. If you live in America, you are never more than 115 miles from Mcdonald’s. So, if you really think about it, I guess it’s not really that surprising…
It Used To Own Most Of Chipotle
In 1998, back when Chipotle only had 16 locations, McDonald’s decided to invest in the Mexican food chain. McDonald’s owned a 90% stake of Chipotle by the year 2005.
At that point, Chipotle expanded and now has 500 different locations. Just one year later, McDonald’s sold its stake. Apparently, they parted ways with the restaurant to focus on McDonald’s.
It Doesn’t Have The Fastest Drive-Through
Drive-throughs were obviously designed to make it more convenient and faster to get our food. Since McDonald’s is one of the most famous and recognized restaurants in the world, you’d think they would have the fastest one.
A study was done that showed that, on average, a transaction at McDonald’s takes about 189.49 seconds (or 3 minutes). The fasted drive through was actually Wendy’s, which took 133.63 seconds on average (about 2.5 minutes).
McDonald’s Coca-Cola is Different
Some of McDonald’s costumers claim that their Coca-Cola tastes much better than it does everywhere else. Rumors have been circulating for years that the Coke served at McDonald’s is different. This rumor may have some truth to it.
It’s not necessarily that the ingredients in the coke are different. The truth is, however, that the Coke syrup is delivered in stainless steel tanks at McDonald’s to preserve its freshness. To everywhere else, it’s transported in plastic bags.
The Golden Arches Changed
When Richard McDonald originally drew the first sketch of the infamous Golden Arches, it was an architectural design to attract customers from the road.
However, it wasn’t until five years later when the arches were finally associated with the letter ‘M’ and, now, it’s one of the most recognized symbols in the world. There also may be a hidden sexual meaning behind the arches. But that’s another story…
One McDonald’s restaurant located in Sedona, Arizona, has turquoise arches. The owners of the franchise were asked to keep that Mcdonald’s in the same style as the distinct desert environment in that location.
They decided to go with orange and blue. The orange resembles the desert area, and the color blue was chosen to bring out the sky. I must say, it’s really strange to see a turquoise Mcdonald’s sign, right?
Although all the McDonald’s around the world may look the same on the outside, the menus can vary based on the country to embrace local food styles. For example, in Germany, they have a Nurnberger (three bratwursts on a bun).
In Italy, McDonald’s serves star-shaped pieces of deep-fried cheese called Creamy Stars. In Israel, you can order a McFalafel and MCkebab. The list goes on to locations in the Philippines, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, and plenty more.
McDonald’s on Skis
How amazing would it be to stop for McDonald’s while you’re skiing? Well, Sweden has been offering this convenient option since 1996 in the Lindvallen resort area, located about 450 km from Stockholm.
Skiers are free to order burgers and fries while they are skiing! There is even a special window for them so they can literally ski as they get their food. This sounds like a dream, and I’m surprised they don’t have McDonald’s on other ski slopes.
Not Always Golden Arches
McDonald’s iconic golden arches weren’t always gold. They also used to be just two arches. It wasn’t until 1960 when the arches were changed to resemble the letter ‘M’ and creating the logo we all recognize today.
In the Champs-Elysees restaurant located in Paris, the typical McDonald’s yellow Golden Arches are actually neon white to blend with the lighting of the area. This is actually the reason that the logo is normally red and yellow.
In 1986, the floating fast food phenomenon was created for the World Expo. In Vancouver, Canada, a McDonalds was built specifically so that it can serve food in the 1986 World fair.
Now the location still exists, but it no longer serves food. The restaurant is now completely abandoned on the Fraser River. They should re-open as the world’s first sail through restaurant.
Queen Elizabeth II Owns a McDonalds
It’s not a surprise that the Queen of England owns a lot of property. However, did you know she owns $11 billion worth of real estate? Among all her real estate investments in the UK, the Queen owns a McDonald’s restaurant.
The McDonald’s location is in Banbury Gateway Shopping Park, which is 60 miles west of London. The restaurant attracts many customers because it’s owned by royalty.
Cater to Weddings Rings
Most people love McDonald’s, but it isn’t the food that comes to mind when I think about wedding food. Interestingly, McDonald’s in Hong Kong offers several different wedding packages.
The $1,200 deluxe package includes renting out a decorated McDonald’s for two hours! This is perfect for 50 guests as the package also includes 50 invitations and 50 gift bags. Also, you get McDonalds balloon wedding rings, a bouquet, and an apple pie display.
Going Green in the UK
The McDonalds in the United Kingdom launched an environmentally-friendly program where they recycle their staff’s uniforms. Some of the fabric and materials are re-spun into fiber to create new uniforms.
The rest of the uniforms are actually shredded and used to stuff mattresses. It’s a little strange to think you have some old McDonald’s uniform stuffed in your mattress. Still, it’s nice to see that McDonald’s is doing its part to help the planet.
The McDonald’s Ban
Since there are more McDonald’s than hospitals in the United States and it’s a huge international chain, it’s a bit shocking to find out that Mickey D’s is banned in a few countries.
In some cases, such as Bermuda, it’s due to an international fast-food ban. Reasons in other countries vary from economic collapse to political conflicts. As of right now, McDonald’s is banned from nine countries.
It Gets Creative with its Trays
McDonald’s in Hungary and in the advertising agency DDB in Budapest recently revealed another McDonald’s innovation – the Bag Tray. This takeaway bag transforms into a tray.
Simply pulling a strip of paper near the bottom of the bag detaches the convenient tray made from reinforced cardboard. I’m surprised this Bag Tray hasn’t made its way to America yet!
Original McDonald’s Meals
You may not need a passport to try some of the unique food McDonald’s serves in other countries. Some of the McDonalds specialty items can be found in locations across America.
Hawaii has the best choices, including a Hawaiian noodle soup with a fish cake called Saimin. They also serve Nori, char siu pork, and scrambled eggs. You can also get a McLobster roll in the summers in New England and many more specialty meals.
In Monfort Heights, Ohio, the McDonald’s franchise owner noticed that locals in this catholic town didn’t eat burgers during Lent (a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar).
The owner decided to create an alternative that didn’t involve meat. In 1962, the Filet-o-Fish made the McDonald’s menu. To this day, 23% of Filet-o-Fish sales occur during Lent.
The Hula Burger
Another meatless alternative designed for Catholics during Lent was invented by Ray Kroc. It lasted for a brief time in 1962 but was ultimately a failed menu item.
The recipe consisted of a grilled piece of pineapple in a bun with a slice of cheese. This is an interesting combination that I would probably never think of. I wonder what other failed McDonalds menu items are out there.
Tom Ryan was a product developer who was known as the Dr. Frankenstein of fast-food. He previously created the stuffed pizza crust for pizza hut and was working on a breakfast item for McDonald’s that was both sweet and savory.
He came up with the McGriddle for the chain. This breakfast sandwich was introduced in 2003 and included bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese inside two flavored maple pancakes. Tom Ryan now works at Smashburger as the founder and chief concept officer.
Biggest Mac Record
In North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, you can find the world’s largest Big Mac located at ‘the most tasteful museum in the world,’ The Big Mac Museum. Yes, there is a museum dedicated to Big Macs.
The Mega-Mac is a humungous 14-foot sculpture, so it’s not exactly edible. However, if you get hungry at the Big Mac Museum, don’t worry. There is a McDonald’s restaurant on the premise.
Chicken McNuggets are delicious chicken nuggets that come in one of four shapes. However, did you know that the McNuggets are made using 40 different ingredients?!
In 1981, the restaurant introduced McRibs, which contains 70 different ingredients. They were created because it was hard for the chain to keep up with the high demand for McNuggets.
There Are no Ribs in McRib
With 70 ingredients, it’s surprising that not one of them is actual ribs. McRibs weren’t as popular as the chain thought they would be. So, in 1985, they were removed from the menu. However, they did have a bit of a loyal following, and they returned to the menu in 1989.
The McRibs stayed on the menu until 2005. Since then, they are available for a few months during the year. However, it is a staple item on the Germany menu and is available there all year round.
Hacking the Menu
People all over the internet love to share tricks, and one of them is how to hack the McDonald’s menu. Reddit users taught people all over the world how to get a Big Mac for half the price.
You simply order a McDouble without the mustard or ketchup. You then add some shredded lettuce and special sauce. The only difference is that it is served with two buns as opposed to the Big Mac, which comes with three buns.
In 2013, celebrity chefs were challenged by McDonald’s to use McDonald’s ingredients to create a “McGourmet” meal. Important guests at the dinner had no idea what they were in for.
They were served Kung Pao chicken (McNuggets and sweet and sour sauce), a tortilla Española (hash browns and eggs), slow cooked-beef served with a blueberry pomegranate sauce (Blueberry pomegranate smoothie) and Gnocchi (French Fries). Also, they got to enjoy their meal with delicious mojitos (mango pineapple smoothies).
Ronald McDonald Was Too Fat
Ronald McDonald is famously the clown mascot for McDonald’s. He appeared in multiple ads and commercials for the restaurant. However, there are many disputes about who actually created the character.
Willard Scott was the man behind the clown costume. Although he was well-known for appearing in McDonald’s ads, he was ultimately fired for being “too fat,” which is ironic. Today, he is famous for being The Today Show’s weatherman.
The Creepy Clown
Although we don’t know where the character originated, Willard Scott, who played the mascot, said that Bozo was the most popular TV show for kids at the time. (Scott also played Bozo the clown from 1959-1962).
Apparently, the chain decided to bring in a clown as their mascot to attract children. However, the original Ronald McDonald character wore a yellow and red striped jumpsuit. No wonder kids are scared of clowns! Look how creepy he looks!
Ronald McDonald Makeover
Today Ronald McDonald consists of a red and white striped shirt, yellow pants, and a vest. For special occasions, he accessorizes with a red blazer showing off the golden arches on the pocket.
The new-look was designed by Ann Hould-Ward, a theatrical costume designer, and won a Tony for the Broadway version of beauty and the beast. He is still a clown, so to me, he’s just as creepy as before.
French fries weren’t introduced to the McDonalds menu until 1949. That’s nine years after the chain originally opened. Before that, only potato chips were available. It is said that 7% of potatoes that grow in America are turned into McDonalds Fries. The chain serves more than 9 million pounds of French Fries a day!
Some People say that the McDonalds French Fries have an addictive ingredient. Apparently, in the 1950s, there was a shortage of vegetable oil at McDonald’s. Instead, they mixed oil with beef fat, which gave the French Fries their unique flavor. They still use this method today, giving keeping the delicious taste.
Everyone knows the story about the customer who sued McDonald’s because her coffee was too hot. There was a divided public opinion with half on the nation claiming coffee is meant to be served hot. Other people, however, think it way hotter than coffee should ever be.
That wasn’t the only crazy lawsuit! In 2014, the company was sued for $1.5 million by a customer who claimed to suffer “undue mental anguish” after receiving just one napkin with his order. I don’t even know what to say…
Sarah Michelle Gellar is banned for Life
Famous actress, Sarah Michelle Gellar was banned from McDonald’s after bashing the restaurant in a Burger King commercial. The commercial took place in 1981 when she was just four years old.
In the commercial, Gellar claimed that McDonald’s uses 20% less meat than burger king. McDonald’s was furious and sued Burger King and the four-year-old. Sarah Michelle Gellar had to testify in court about her lines in the ad. As a result, Burger King had to pull the commercial.
Supersize me Please
It’s not shocking that McDonald’s food has is not healthy and contains a lot of fat. We have all seen Supersize Me. McDonald’s food literally has the number of calories that a person should consume in an entire day.
The 40-piece chicken McNuggets are the highest calorie item on the menu, with a total of 1,880 calories! To put that in perspective, the average person should be eating a total of 2,000 calories a day.
In 2016, Wisconsin native, Don Gorske set the World Record for eating the most Big Macs. He consumed 28,788 Big Macs and ate two a day. By May 4th, 2018, he ate his 30,000th burger.
Don got his first burger in 1972 for 49 cents when he was 18 years old. He enjoyed it so much that he bought 8 more and ate 9 that day! In 2006 his cholesterol and weight were normal, and he was running marathons.
The Big Mac Special Sauce is a limited edition and has a delicious secret recipe. There are only 200 in the world! A 500 ml bottle of the McDonalds Big Mac Special sauce was sold on eBay in Australia.
The buyer spent $20,600 in Australian dollars ($16,144 American). That’s a lot of money, but the sauce is that popular for McDonald’s customers. Plus, one hundred percent of the profits went directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Not a Secret Anymore
The secret sauce’s main components include soybean oil, Pickle Relish, distilled vinegar, and water, according to the company website. Also, it has egg yolks, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, garlic powder, vegetable protein, caramel color paprika and turmeric extracts (for flavor and color).
That’s not all. The special sauce is also filled with high fructose corn syrup, sugar (for sweetness), sodium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA (meant to preserve color and taste), propylene glycol alginate, mustard bran and soy lecithin (for thickness). Good luck trying to make that.
eBay Bent the Rules for a Coveted McNugget
Rebkah Speight from Nebraska auctioned off a one of a kind item on eBay: a chicken McNugget that looks just like George Washington. The winning bid was $8,100!
Speight wanted to donate the money to her church youth camp. At the time the nugget was sold, it was three years old! eBay doesn’t allow the sale of expired food, but they made an exception for the George Washington McNugget.
Major Toy Distributor
When you think of a toy distributor, you probably think of Toys R’ Us or Build A’ Bear. When you think of McDonald’s, you probably think of burgers and fries. The restaurant is kid-friendly, and the happy meals are a hit.
Since the restaurant targets children, it’s not a surprise that happy meals and very well advertised and include a toy. McDonald’s is the biggest toy distributor in the world, giving away $1.5 billion worth of toys each year.
McDonald’s is a huge employer
Since McDonald’s is a huge international chain, it’s not very surprising that they need a lot of workers to help run their business. According to a 2016 McDonalds filing, the company has about 375,000 employees.
If you include the franchise employees, it becomes $1.9 million! McDonald’s is considered one of the largest employers in the world. Apparently, one in eight American workers has had a job at McDonald’s at a certain point in their life.
In 2003, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock recorded his 30-day, all McDonald’s diet, and created a documentary known as Super-Size Me. You probably watched it in health class but if not, here’s the gist of it.
Spurlock only ate at McDonald’s for a month, and if he was asked if he wants his meal super-sized, he had to say yes. Spurlock gained 25 pounds, his cholesterol skyrocketed, and it seriously harmed his liver.
Celebs worked there
Working at McDonald’s is a job some people look down upon, but you shouldn’t judge McDonald Employees. Did you know some of your favorite celebrities have worked there before earning their big break?
Some of the most famous former McDonald’s employees include Pink, Rachel McAdams, Jay Leno, and more! Even Amazon’s Jeff Bezos used to work there.
In 1961, McDonald’s opened Hamburger University, an actual university created to train the company’s executive employees. Hamburger University currently has over 2,750,000 graduates.
McDonald’s is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, where the original campus is located. There are other campuses in Tokyo, London, Sydney, Munich, Sao Paolo, and Shanghai. With all the locations combined, Hamburger University has 60 full-time college professors.
McJob is in the Dictionary
“McJob” is an actual word. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “as unstimulating, low paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector.”
McDonald’s originally threatened to sue due to the definition but ended up responding cleverly. A U.K. ad campaign that showed McDonald’s employee benefits. The ending line was “Not bad for a McJob.”
Did you know that McDonald’s has its own version of American Idol? They call it ‘The Voice of McDonald’s.’ It’s intended to show off the singing talent of the company’s 1.8 million employees.
58,000 McWorkers from 68 countries entered the most recent one. Lucy Ospitia from Colombia won the grand prize of $25,000. Second place won $17,500, and third place got $12,500. Not bad for McWorkers!
I’m Loving It
The Mcdonald’s theme song is catchy and a bit annoying. It’s common for commercials to have irritating songs. It’s intended to get stuck in people’s heads so they won’t stop thinking about the company.
The Mcdonald’s jingle “I’m Loving It” is no different. Interestingly, the song was co-written by Pharell. What’s even more fascinating is that the singer who was paid $6 million to record the jingle is no other than Justin Timberlake.
If you didn’t realize how global McDonalds is, maybe this will help put it in perspective for you. In 1986, an economist created the “Big Max Index.” The index needed a globally available food product to show the financial differences between nations.
The index decided to use the international prices of a Big Mac. That’s right; you can literally figure out a country’s currency based on McDonald’s prices! As of 2019, the average price for a big mac was $5.58 in America and $6.62 in Switzerland. Russia and Ukraine are cheaper with a Big Mac costing $1.65-$1.94.
18 year old, Stian Ytterdahl from Norway tattooed a McDonald’s receipt on his arm after his friends dared him to in 2014. One week later, he got the receipt for that tattoo on his other arm.
It’s a good thing. Now he will never forget that on March 24th, 2014, at 7:36 PM, he ordered three cheeseburgers, a cheeseburger Happy Meal, a McFlurry NonStop with three additional toppings, an extra Happy Meal toy, and a coke.
Other than being made with 40 different ingredients and being the highest calorie item on the McDonalds menu, here’s another interesting fact about the chicken McNuggets.
Many people don’t notice this, but the McNuggets come in four different shapes. Next time you order them, keep your eye out for the shapes. See if you get the boot, bone ball, or bell.
As such, a successful business it makes sense that McDonald’s opens up stores pretty often. There are currently 36,000 locations. I mean, the golden arches are more recognized globally than the cross.
What is shocking, however, is how often the franchise opens a new location. Did you know a new McDonalds opens every 14.5 hours! That’s more than one a day! If you are living in the U., you are never more than 155 miles away from a Mcdonald’s.
How Many Burgers Do They Sell?
McDonald’s spends about $1 billion a year on advertising alone. They obviously have the money to do so, and it seems to be working pretty well. The chain sells 75 burgers every single second!
To put this in perspective, that’s 4,500 burgers per minute, 270,000 per hour, and 6,480,000 each day! McDonald’s sells more burgers than any other restaurant with 2,365,200,000 burgers a year!