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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?

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA-October 6, 2014: McDonald's food. McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countriesAndrey Armyagov/Shutterstock

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.

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Des Plaines, IL - May 20, 2017: First ever location of McDonald's, located at 400 Lee St in Des Plaines, IL, at night, which is now a McDonald's Museum, is seen in state of despair. ; Shutterstock ID 644462128; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeShutterstock/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.

Get in the spirit of the original McDonald’s with these retro barbecue recipes.

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BANGKOK,THAILAND - MARCH 10,2018 :little Asian girl holding happy meal box at McDonald's restaurant; Shutterstock ID 1047090799; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeShutterstock/Ratana21

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.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 17 2012: Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II visits Liverpool Albert Dock during her Diamond Jubilee tour of Great Britain, Liverpool, England. May 17 2012; Shutterstock ID 114857485Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

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?

We do know she loves these foods when she’s at home, though!

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Sedona, AZ - May 13, 2017: McDonald's in Sedona, AZ is the only one in the world with turquoise arches. City officials said to feel the yellow would contrasting too much against the scenic red rock.; Shutterstock ID 643234660Shutterstock/Sheila Fitzgerald

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.

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Minsk, Belarus, January 8, 2018: Man is eating at McDonald's restaurant. ; Shutterstock ID 790873426Shutterstock/8th.creator

“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.

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BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - CIRCA MAY, 2017: worker at McDonald's. McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain.; Shutterstock ID 692595700; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeShutterstock/Sorbis

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.

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Nonthaburi, Bang Yai 29, there is a 2017 logo McDonald's. On the sky background Famous in Thailand; Shutterstock ID 773094754; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeKAE CH/Shutterstock

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.

You can learn how to make the perfect burger at home with our Test Kitchen’s advice.

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Gdansk, Poland - November 4, 2017: McDonald Filet-O-Fish in a McDonald's restaurant.; Shutterstock ID 754611985Shutterstock/Robson90

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.

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.