31 Facts About McDonald’s You Never Knew You Wanted To Know

Image via Flickr/ Tony Fischer

The world has known McDonald’s since 1940. Hate it or love, it’s become a household name around the world since founders Richard and Maurice McDonald (also known as Dick and Mac) opened up McDonald’s Bar-B-Q, a traditional drive-in restaurant, in San Bernardino, Calif. And 74 years later, the now international fast-food chain has yet to lose steam on its massive growth. Some could argue that with the combination of McDonald’s magnanimous economic and social influence, the company could very well just take over the world — and they wouldn’t be completely wrong. In less than a century, McDonald’s has creept its way into almost every corner of the world, employing and serving more people than some countries’ populations, and it’s like a giant that won’t stop growing — there’s no cap to its reach. And if you need any more convincing as to how powerful the home of the Happy Meals really is, here are 31 unreal facts that will prove to you that McDonald’s could take over the world.

1. After salesman Ray Kroc came around and helped the McDonald brothers to franchise and open the first official McDonald’s in 1955, the next location would open in Des Moines in 1955. In 10 years, more than 700 locations opened around the U.S.

2. Three years after opening its doors, McDonald’s was celebrating its 100 millionth hamburger sale in 1958.

3. McDonald’s has its own university — kind of. The company was the first to develop a global training center, called Hamburger University, where grads receive — that’s right — a Bachelors of Hamburgerology.

4. Today, McDonald’s is in 119 countries worldwide and employs about 1.8 million people.

5. And all those McDonald’s restaurants are doing great, by the way — it’s reported that McDonald’s feeds 68 million customers every single day.

6. We can thank McDonald’s for a lot of first paychecks in this country. An estimated 1 in 8 Americans have worked for the company at some point.

7. McDonald’s distributes more toys than some actual toymakers, like Hasbro and Mattel, with 1.5 billion toys going out in Happy Meals every year.

8. McDonald’s is the single largest owner of real estate in the world. Ray Kroc once answered that he was in real estate when students asked him what business he was in, explaining it was his focus to sell franchises of the restaurant to grow it and that even a McDonald’s poorly located would go broke.

9. In 2014 alone McDonald’s received the following accolades:
No.22 Most Admired Company in the World
Ranked No.3 among all companies for “Management Quality”
Ranked No.7 among all companies for “Global Competitiveness”
Ranked No.4 among all companies for “Financial Soundness”
McDonald’s also ranked No.2 in the Food Services category.

10. Even some celebs had their humble beginnings at a local McDonald’s; a few top names include: Jay Leno, Shania Twain and Rachel McAdams.

11. According to a survey published in “Fast Food Nation,” more people around the world recognize the McDonald’s golden arches than the Christian cross.

12. McDonald’s owned Boston Market until 2007.

13. McDonald’s has worked hard so everyone makes the brand synonymous with their childhoods, partnering with brands like the NBA, the Olympics, Nickelodeon, Barbie, Teletubbies, Transformers, Hello Kitty, Lego and Disney for its Happy Meal toys.

14. Even NASA almost partnered with McDonald’s once; In the 1990s, it considered a tie-in agreement with McDonald’s on a planned mission to the asteroid 449 Hamburga.

15. A new McDonald’s is opened every 14.5 hours.

16. England’s Queen Elizabeth II bought her own personal McDonald’s near Windsor Castle in 2008.

17. McDonald’s revenue was more than $28 billion in 2013 alone.

18. …So it won’t surprise you to learn that the fast-food chain is estimated to sell a hamburger every second.

19. In the Technomic’s 2009 Kids And Moms Consumer Trend report, 37 percent of kids said McDonald’s was their first choice in fast-food; 87 percent of 6 and 7-year-olds and 80 percent of 8 and 9-year-olds said they “enjoyed getting a toy with their kids’ meals”…

20. In 2013 McDonald’s planned on distributing a digital book every month on HappyMeal.com but decided against it when critics said the company needed to calm down with its overzealous marketing efforts towards kids.

21. Ronald McDonald will now be available via social media, with McDonald’s hoping he’ll engage with customers around the world using the #RonaldMcDonald hashtag on his mission to tell people, “Fun makes great things happen.”

22. Ronald McDonald’s threads got a makeover this year, with clothes designed by Tony Award-winning theatrical designer Ann Hould-Ward.

23. There’s a museum devoted to the Big Mac in North Huntington, Penn., where it was invented by McDonald’s owner and operator, Jim “MJ” Delligatti.

24. Nov. 20 is McHappy day, a day when a percentage of sales from McDonald’s restaurants are donated to charity. More than $170 million has been raised since 2002.

25. In February 2014, the first McDonald’s — and the first drive-thru in the country — opened in Vietnam. It marked the 10,000th restaurant opening in the Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.

26. In an effort to be more like a coffee shop and hangout spot like Starbucks, many McDonald’s locations in the U.S. have Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The company has invested $1 billion to redesign almost 14,000 restaurants by 2015.

27. Marketing towards those kids again — McDonald’s is the largest private operator of playgrounds in the U.S.

28. McJob is an actual word and was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2003 (although it’s been used since 1986). It’s literal meaning: “A low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.”

29. Also a real concept: McDonaldization, a term invented by sociologist George Ritzer, identifies the phenomenon of when a culture begins to adapt the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant.

30. At all McDonald’s restaurants in Chile, customers have the option to choose cheese empanadas as their side item.

31. McDonald’s can bank on everything, no matter how negative. The company introduced a new hilarious recruitment slogan in 2006 to prove that it can do whatever it wants. That slogan was: “Not bad for a McJob.”