8 Surprising Facts About McDonald’s
We all know their juicy burgers, crispy fries, and the friendly Ronald McDonald, but what secrets lie behind McDonald's golden arches?
McDonald’s is inescapable. They are constantly launching bigger and better locations worldwide, to join their fleet of approximately 37,000 existing locations. But there’s more going on behind the business that you probably don’t know. Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about McDonald’s.
Craving a Big Mac right now? Whip up one of our McDonald’s copycat recipes.
Shutterstock/Dawid S Swierczek
Its roots are in BBQ
The first McDonald’s opened way back in 1940 in San Bernadino, California, but they weren’t flipping burgers and serving up fries until 1948. Richard and Maurice McDonald’s first location is now a museum, but the first franchised McDonald’s location you’ll recognize designed in the traditional McDonald’s style was opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
You’re really never that far from your next Happy Meal.
You can count on a McDonald’s never being more than 115 miles away from you in the United States, so it’s a no wonder they top the list of the biggest franchises. They also rank number one as the top distributor of toys in the world, giving away 1.5 billion toys annually in their Happy Meals.
The Queen owns one
The Queen of England owns approximately $11 billion of real estate in the United Kingdom, including a McDonald’s near Buckingham Palace. We wonder what the Queen would order on the menu?
Not all arches are gold
Taking a trip abroad? Or to the Grand Canyon? You might spot arches that aren’t golden. On the Champs-Elysees in Paris, one of the top shopping destinations in the world, the arches are neon white. And in Sedona, Arizona the arches are a shade of turquoise, to blend with the blue sky and desert surroundings.
“I’m Lovin’ It” isn’t as old as you think
The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign was the first global ad campaign from McDonald’s, launching in September 2003 out of Munich, Germany as “Ich Liebe Es,” and has now appeared in over 120 countries in 20 languages. The first TV commercials in the United States feature Justin Timberlake singing the iconic “ba-da-ba-ba-bah” jingle, for which he was paid approximately $6 million.
There are exotic menu offerings
International McDonald’s locations typically have menus that stray from the usual quarter-pounder based on their location. Germany locations offer a nurnburger, three bratwursts on a bun, or you can try a McAloo Tikki burger, a spiced-potato burger, in India. There are even regional options in the United States, like a McLobster Roll in New England.
Hamburger University exists
There are now seven Hamburger University campuses worldwide, with the first opening in 1961. Providing education and training to company-owned restaurant employees, franchisees and eligible employees, attendees are taught leadership and management skills, with college credit even available to students for their taken courses.
Gimme that Filet-O-Fish
You might recognize the silly commercial, but the backstory is a little more interesting. Lou Groen, a franchise owner in Monfort Heights, Ohio, a predominantly Catholic area, noticed that during Lent, he was not selling as many hamburgers and cheeseburgers, so in 1962 the File-O-Fish graced the menu.