10 Things You Didn’t Know About McDonald’s

McDonald’s has long been a premier American brand and a global force. Changes under the golden arches, like the gradual rise in prices, are readily apparent to consumers.

It’s what you didn’t know about his company’s rich and color history that will surprise you. Not only does McDonald’s feed about 1 percent of the world’s population everyday but it also delivers in 18 countries.

Read: McDonald’s Vs. Burger King: Which Fast Food Restaurant Should You Invest in?

1. The company is worth $92.5 billion.

With more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, the fast food king is bigger than Latvia. This makes it the sixth most valuable brand in the world. Given the company’s immense reach, it is easy to believe that there is only one place in the entire U.S. that is more than 100 miles from a McDonald’s; a plain in South Dakota.

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2. McDonald’s began as a hot dog stand.

After procuring a $5,000 loan to start the Airdrome hot dog stand in 1937, brothers Ray and Mac McDonald ended up moving their business to San Bernardino, Calif., and changing the name to McDonald’s Barbeque in 1940. In 1948, the brothers retooled their operation and modeled it after the auto industry, using an assembly line to prepare food and improve efficiency in what was called the Speedee System. More than 10 years after it opened, McDonald’s began to focus on burgers, fries and shakes.

3. 1 in 8 Americans has worked at McDonald’s.

Not only have about 12.5 percent of all Americans been employed at one time or another by the chain, McDonald’s boasts some well-known alums. Among the famous people who once spent time at the fry and shake machines: Shania Twain, Jay Leno, Rachel McAdams and Pink. Working there might not have been a springboard to stardom, but it clearly wasn’t a detriment either.

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4. McDonald’s is the second largest private employer.

Perhaps because of its 150 percent turnover rate, McDonald’s hires about 1 million workers each year. This makes it the fourth largest employer in the world and the second-largest private employer. The Chinese military and the U.S. Department of Defense take the one and two spots on the list. Only Walmart is a bigger private employer. It should be noted that the 1.5 million employees work for McDonald’s franchisees, not for the corporation directly.

5. $8.7 billion in revenue makes McDonald’s richer than Mongolia.

The $8.7 billion in revenue from franchise stores seems startling until you consider that the company’s restaurants serve an average of 75 hamburgers every second. In a single day, McDonald’s serves about 68 million people, or 1 percent of the world’s population.

6. Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s in 1961 for $2.7 million.

Ray Kroc began his relationship with the McDonald’s brothers as their franchise manager and quickly opened 200 restaurants. Kroc had heard of the company during his time as a salesman of Multimixers, the machines used to make five milkshakes at a time. He was duly impressed and joined the company. The relationship did not stay friendly, however, which prompted Kroc to buy the entire company, ultimately driving the brothers out of the business entirely.

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7. First-quarter profits dropped by nearly $400 million.

As people seek to eat healthier, McDonald’s profits have come under pressure. In the first three months of this year, its profits tumbled by about one-third. Despite these setbacks, the company continues to look for new ways to make changes to its menu and image. The company hired a new CEO last January and has increased food quality standards, like eliminating antibiotics from its chicken.

8. $27 billion in sales makes it the 90th largest economy in the world.

With more than $27 billion in sales on an annual basis, the company makes up the 90th largest economy on the planet. That’s bigger than many countries. With its supply chain, global reach and universally recognized brand, McDonald’s remains a serious global force.

9. McDonald’s replaced cashiers with touch screen kiosks.

Perhaps in response to the $15-an-hour minimum wage campaigns in New York and Los Angeles, McDonald’s replaced cashiers with self-serve stations at many of its restaurants. The units enable customers to order and pay for their food electronically.

10. Some 700 franchises are slated to close.

The company announced plans to close more than 700 struggling franchise locations this year that weren’t contributing to profits. Those stores represent just a fraction of the franchises worldwide, however. Hefty competition from chains like Chipotle and others have hurt McDonald’s bottom line.

Overall, McDonald’s remains an iconic brand, even as Americans look for healthier fare. The company, under new leadership, will continue to make changes to its menu in an effort to expand its customer base.

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About the Author

Douglas Ehrman

Douglas Ehrman is a financial professional with over 15 years of writing experience. He draws on his background managing over $1 billion in hedge fund assets, as well as his legal education to bring a thorough perspective to his work. He has written two books on finance and his work has been featured in Futures Magazine and other trade publications, including some of the most well-read investment blogs.

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