restaurant company based in Oak Brook, Illinois. Since the 1950s,
family-oriented restaurants have revolutionized the fast-food business
company has become one of the best known in the world. Thousands of
restaurants in countries around the world serve millions of customers a
McDonald’s restaurants, which offer toy promotions and often feature
playgrounds, are especially popular with children.
In 1948 brothers Dick and
Mac McDonald remodeled their McDonald’s drive-in restaurant in San
California, creating the prototype for the modern fast-food restaurant.
menu was limited to nine items: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, three types
drinks, milk, coffee, potato chips, and pies. French fries and
soon added. By focusing on efficient production and service, McDonald’s
price of their hamburgers from 30 cents to 15 cents.
By the mid-1950s the original
generated $350,000 a year in revenues. In 1954 Ray Kroc, then a
salesman of milkshake machines, visited the restaurant and became
that its concept could work in other cities. The McDonald brothers
let Kroc sell McDonald’s franchises (the right to market the company’s
within a certain area). In 1955 Kroc established a franchising company
McDonald’s Systems, Inc. and opened a second McDonald’s restaurant in
Plaines, Illinois. Within its first four years, the company had opened
restaurants, which generated $37.6 million in annual sales. In 1961
out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million.
1960s, McDonald’s began to mount aggressive advertising and marketing
campaigns. In 1962 the company adopted the golden arches as its
Ronald McDonald, the familiar clown that serves as McDonald’s mascot,
introduced in 1963. That year, signs at McDonald’s restaurants
the company had sold more than 1 billion hamburgers. In 1968 McDonald’s
restaurants began serving the Big Mac, a two-patty burger that became
company’s flagship product. The company launched its highly successful
deserve a break today” advertising campaign in 1970. By 1972 McDonald’s
2000 restaurants and $1 billion in annual sales.
McDonald’s also began to
establish high-profile charities. The company opened the first Ronald
House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1974. Ronald McDonald Houses
temporary housing near hospitals for the families of seriously ill
Today, Ronald McDonald House Charities operate more than 170 Ronald
Houses in 13 countries.
McDonald’s remained dedicated to its established format, the company
a number of new products and services in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of
innovations proved startlingly successful. McDonald’s began serving
in 1973. By the late 1980s, one-fourth of Americans who ate breakfast
home did so at McDonald’s. In 1975 McDonald’s introduced drive-through
service, enabling motorists to make purchases without leaving their
the mid-1990s, drive-through business accounted for about half of all
McDonald’s sales in the United States. In 1983 the company introduced
McNuggets, bite-sized fried chicken morsels accompanied by dipping
Within a few months McDonald’s ranked as the world’s second largest
expansion also became an important part of the company’s business
McDonald’s opened its first restaurant outside the United States in
1988 McDonald’s operated 2600 stores outside the United States,
billion in annual revenues. By 1994 the company had 4700 international
franchises, producing $3.4 billion in annual revenues. The first
Moscow, Russia, served more than 30,000 customers on its first day of
in 1990, setting the record for the most people served by one
restaurant in a
single day. In 1992 McDonald’s opened a restaurant in Beijing, China.
Beijing McDonald’s—-which featured 700 seats, 2 kitchens, 29 cash
and 850 employees—is the company’s largest. The Beijing McDonald’s
40,000 customers on its first day, breaking the record established by
Moscow McDonald’s two years earlier.
attempted to accommodate increasing customer demand for healthier food.
McDonald’s began offering nutritional information about the items on
The company also began to offer lighter entrées, such as salads and
yogurt. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, a hamburger marketed to adults,
disappointing sales when it was introduced in 1996.
In the mid-1990s
the company earned about $1.4 billion a year in profits on $30 billion
and opened a new restaurant every three hours. The company has
grow in the United States by opening new restaurants in urban areas and
establishing smaller outlets in hospitals, zoos, airports, and many
locations. In 1993 McDonald’s began opening outlets in Wal-Mart Stores
throughout the United States. In 1996 McDonald’s signed a 10-year
with The Walt Disney Company.
Under the terms of the
McDonald’s will operate restaurants at Disney theme parks, and Disney
promote its films through McDonald’s. In 1997 McDonald’s announced a
to increase sales at its restaurants by cutting prices.