The golden arches are one of America’s most iconic brands. The golden arches are right up there with Mickey Mouse, the Yankees, and Coca-Cola. McDonald’s has over 30,000 outlets in more than 100 countries. It is the world’s most famous restaurant.
It all began with a dog stand.
McDonald’s was founded in 1969.
Maurice and Richard McDonald converted their drive-through barbeque restaurant into the first McDonald’s restaurant (MCD) 1948. They also added milkshakes and burgers to it. The restaurant in San Bernardino, California, was the McDonald brothers’ second foray into the food business. The brothers’ first venture was a hotdog stand they owned near the Santa Anita racetrack.
McDonald’s focused initially on its burgers and shakes. They sold them at half the cost and half the time as other restaurants. This was achieved by changing how a hamburger shop worked. McDonald Brothers installed a self-service counter instead of waiting for waiters or waitresses. They did not cook each meal on demand but prepared the burgers in advance and heated them under powerful heat lamps.
This is the design McDonald’s uses today, but it was the original design when they first introduced the fast food concept.
Ray Kroc, a kitchen appliance seller who supplied the McDonald’s restaurant, was eventually attracted to this format. Kroc was impressed by the McDonald brothers’ business model and bought the rights to franchise McDonald’s nationwide. At the time, the McDonald brothers had a few franchise restaurants licensed in Arizona and California. Kroc founded the McDonald’s Corporation in 1955 and opened his first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Kroc, not Maurice or Richard McDonald, arguably created McDonald’s in the form we know it today. He turned the San Bernardino restaurant into a mass market. 1961 Kroc bought out all the founders and took over the entire company.
Kroc became the most successful travel salesman in history by packing his suitcase.
McDonald’s history has a relatively short modern history, which is one of its most impressive features. In its early years, McDonald’s focused on establishing its brand and business model. Since then, it has developed a strategy that works. Its relatively short history makes it stand out. McDonald’s rapid growth has continued for almost 70 years. While it has lost and gained customers, the company has opened new restaurants at a steady rate.
McDonald’s is a business that says, “If it’s not broken, don’t change it.”
The McDonald brothers opened their first hot dog stand in 1937, entering the food service industry as a group.
In San Bernardino, they opened the first McDonald’s in 1940. We don’t have any current information about whether or not they sold sandwiches with barbecued ribs, but we would like to believe they did.
In 1948, the McDonald brothers transformed their restaurant into a hamburger-and-milkshake restaurant. They are credited for inventing the fast food service model. In their later memoirs, the McDonald brothers credited Henry Ford for their method. They said they modeled their restaurant after his assembly line in Detroit.
McDonald’s first franchise opened in Phoenix in 1953. Maurice and Richard McDonald did not focus on opening restaurants but did so in Arizona and California.
Ray Kroc is a traveling salesman of appliances who visits McDonald’s to find out why the small hamburger shop has so many milkshake machines. He purchases franchise rights for McDonald’s across the nation.
1955 – Kroc opened his first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines (Illinois), arguably the first of the modern McDonald’s companies.
In 1956, Kroc and Harry Sonnenborn created a financial plan in which McDonald’s owned the land where its franchisees would build their restaurants. This model is still used today and is considered one of the company’s most significant financial decisions ever.
Sonnenborn was appointed as the first CEO of McDonald’s by Kroc in 1959.
1961 – Kroc purchases the McDonald brothers from McDonald for $2.6 Million (roughly equivalent to $22.3 million today). The McDonald brothers retained their original restaurant, renamed Big M. Kroc opened a rival McDonald’s near them, forcing the first McDonald’s to close by the end of the decade.
1962/63: Ronald McDonald and the golden arches are McDonald’s iconic logos.
McDonald’s public stock was launched in 1965.
Kroc ousts Sonnenborn and becomes CEO. McDonald’s opens Canada’s first international McDonald’s restaurant.
The first Ronald McDonald House was opened in 1974.
1984 – Kroc dies.
McDonald’s opens its first restaurant in Moscow’s Pushkin Square. Given the restaurant’s cultural significance, this is a significant moment in the Cold War. The restaurant’s site states that it served over 30,000 Russian citizens on its first day.
In Australia, the company opens its McCafe – McDonald’s first attempt at running a coffee shop.
McDonald’s entered a period of rapid expansion in 1996. In 1988-96, McDonald’s doubled its number of locations. This year it opened location number 20,000.
McDonald’s expanded aggressively beyond its traditional business model in 1998/1999. It acquired companies such as Chipotle (CMG – Get Free Report) and Boston Market. However, it later divested itself of these holdings.
McDonald’s opened 11,000 restaurants in other countries by the end of the 1990s.
McDonald’s opened the first Vietnamese restaurant in 2013, another symbol of significance.
McDonald’s launched its all-day-breakfast menu in 2015 to help create new energy for its brand. This is primarily viewed as a failure as it splits existing customers rather than bringing in new ones.
McDonald’s was the subject of several high-profile suits during its lifetime. The most notable was the “coffee suit” in the early 1990s.
Stella Liebeck, a woman from Georgia, sued McDonald’s in 1994 after she spilled a cup of coffee and suffered third-degree burns on her thighs and legs. McDonald’s heated the coffee above 190 degrees and caused injuries, leading to Liebeck being hospitalized. She also incurred medical bills of more than $20,000. The company refused Liebeck’s medical treatment. The company instead offered $800 as compensation, which ultimately led to the lawsuit.
McDonald’s food has consistently been a source of concern about its health effects. The chain is often cited as an example of the obesity epidemic in America, with critics claiming that its low-cost and low-quality food has been a major contributor to the problem. The 2004 documentary “Super Size Me” was arguably the culmination of all this negative press. In it, Morgan Spurlock ate only McDonald’s and accepted the cashier’s invitation to “supersize” his meals. This referenced the now-discontinued “supersize” practice, whereby customers were offered a meal one size larger than large.
Spurlock’s documentary focused on how eating McDonald’s only affected his health. His doctor even warned him that the diet could be fatal. During his month-long trial, he gained almost one pound per day.
The critics of this film have said that it shows only what happens when you abuse a particular product. McDonald’s, in particular, responded to Spurlock’s movie by saying that they do not recommend eating there every day, as shown.
In recent years, McDonald’s has been one of the many fast-food chains targeted by labor activists for their business practices and hiring policies. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has conducted multiple strikes in fast food restaurants nationwide. This includes McDonald’s. The Fight for Fifteen was born to raise the minimum wage in the United States to $15 per hour.
McDonald’s is not taking a strong stance on this issue, but it has begun to slowly roll out automated ordering kiosks in some of its restaurants. In 2019, the company acquired Apprente, which specializes in artificial intelligence. This acquisition indicates that McDonald’s wants to emphasize its low-employee business model, which uses high-tech and self-service to reduce costs.
This is not a new thing. The McDonald brothers started their hamburger restaurant by firing all 20 waitresses and replacing them with self-service. They were able to sell hamburgers at only 15 cents each.
McDonald’s stock fluctuated throughout 2019, but the overall trend was one of growth. Share prices rose from $176 to $221 at the start of 2019. Prices have fluctuated by 20 points over several months but haven’t dropped below $200 per share since early summer.
This is a situation that has historically solid growth—McDonald’s shares in the boom of the stock market since 2009. In the last 15 years, the share price has grown significantly.
In January 2004, the company’s stock traded at approximately $25 per share. In the years that have passed, this has nearly doubled.
Most of this growth occurred over the last five years. McDonald’s stock was trading at $100 or less per share for several years by late 2015. In 2016, the price started to rise steadily. In the last four years, McDonald’s stock prices have doubled to their current $200-$220 price.
The author worked at McDonald’s for many years.
McDonald’s: An International Culinary Icon
From its humble beginnings in 1948 as a hotdog stands to its present status as an international culinary icon, McDonald’s has left a lasting mark on the fast food industry. In 1948, Maurice and Richard McDonald founded the first McDonald’s. This was a revolutionary concept in fast food. They pioneered the fast-food restaurant model by focusing on burgers and fries and employing self-service.
Ray Kroc, the architect of McDonald’s global success
Ray Kroc was a kitchen appliance salesman who, after the McDonald brothers, turned McDonald’s from a local phenomenon into an international one. Kroc, a visionary leader, acquired the franchise rights for McDonald’s nationwide in 1955. The company grew explosively under Kroc’s leadership. Kroc’s genius was his financial model, which allowed McDonald’s to own the land where its franchisees build their restaurants. This decision continues to influence the success of the company to this day.
A timeline of milestones: from the Golden Arches and McCafe
McDonald’s rich history is filled with important milestones. The company’s growth has been remarkable. From the launch in the early 1960s of the iconic golden arches and Ronald McDonald to the opening of the first international restaurant in Canada, its expansion is nothing short of impressive. The opening of a McDonald’s in Moscow in 1990 was a significant moment for the Cold War’s end and highlighted the cultural importance of the brand.
Coffee Lawsuits and Controversies
Despite its incredible success, McDonald’s has been involved in several controversies over the years. In the early 1990s, the infamous “coffee suit” involving Stella Liebeck and her severe burns caused by spilled coffee brought McDonald’s into the spotlight. McDonald’s also faced criticism for its low-cost and low-quality food. This was due to concerns that it could contribute to obesity.
McDonald’s and The Changing Landscape of Fast Food
McDonald’s is changing its business model in response to the growing pressure of the labor movement. Adopting automated ordering kiosks and acquiring an artificial intelligence company are signs of a future that places a higher emphasis on self-service and technology. This move is similar to the original McDonald Brothers’ shift towards self-service. It shows the company’s flexibility and commitment to innovation.
McDonald’s Stock: A Testament to its Enduring Success
McDonald’s stock performance is a testament to the company’s enduring success. The company’s stock has grown steadily, indicating its reliable and stable investment status. The stock price of McDonald’s has doubled over the last five years. This is a testament to its ability to adapt to a constantly changing market and to maintain its appeal to investors.
McDonald’s Future: A Continuing Legacy
McDonald’s legacy as the pioneer of fast-food and global brands is intact, even though it continues to face new challenges and evolve. Its ability to innovate, adapt and maintain an iconic brand is a testament to the company’s enduring impact in the culinary world. McDonald’s will continue to be a global icon for dining with its golden arches in more than 100 countries.