The History and Evolution of McDonald's

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What replaced Speedee as the universal mascot of McDonald's in 1962?

What is the world's second-largest private employer?

What is the name of McDonald's plant-based burger that was announced in November 2020?

What did McDonald's attempt in 1994 that was rolled out for the first time in Darien, Illinois?

What is the estimated probability of food preparation and serving becoming automated in fast food establishments in the succeeding decades, according to the University of Oxford in 2013?


  • In 1940, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first McDonald's in San Bernardino, California.

  • In 1948, they introduced the Speedee Service System, which put into expanded use the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant.

  • In 1962, the Golden Arches replaced Speedee as the universal mascot.

  • In 1965, Ronald McDonald was introduced as the mascot.

  • In 1955, businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent and purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers.

  • McDonald's has been the recipient of criticism for the unhealthiness of their food.

  • The McDonald's Corporation revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants.

  • McDonald's is the world's second-largest private employer with 1.7 million employees (behind Walmart with 2.3 million employees).

  • As of 2022, McDonald's has the sixth-highest global brand valuation.

  • McDonald's is a global fast food chain with restaurants in over 100 countries.

  • The menu in the United States is streamlined, and high-fructose corn syrup has been removed from hamburger buns.

  • In September 2018, McDonald's announced that they no longer use artificial preservatives, flavors and colors entirely from seven classic burgers sold in the U.S.

  • In November 2020, McDonald's announced McPlant, a plant-based burger, along with plans to develop additional meat alternative menu items.

  • McDonald's restaurants are found in many different types of locations, such as standalone restaurants, inside service stations, inside shopping malls, and inside retail parks.

  • McDrive locations near highways offer no counter service or seating.

  • In 1994, McDonald's attempted Hearth Express, a prototype specializing in homestyle takeout meals. It was rolled out for the first time in Darien, Illinois, but closed in only one year.

  • In 2015, McDonald's tried a new gourmet burger service and restaurant concept based on other gourmet restaurants such as Shake Shack and Grill'd. It was rolled out for the first time in Australia during the early months of 2015 and expanded to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Arabia and New Zealand, with ongoing trials in the US market.

  • As of 2016, most McDonald's in Australia have McCafés located within the existing McDonald's restaurant.

  • In the United Kingdom, McDonald's restaurants can be found in service stations, petrol stations, McDrive Thru, Asda Superstores and Supercenters, shopping centres, retail parks and high street restaurants.

  • McDonald's restaurants are designed to look more like coffee shops with wooden tables and chairs, and modern hanging lights.

  • Since the late 1990s, McDonald's has attempted to replace employees with electronic kiosks which would perform actions such as taking orders and accepting money.

  • In 2013, the University of Oxford estimated that in the succeeding decades, there was a 92% probability of food preparation and serving to become automated in fast food establishments.

  • By 2016, McDonald's "Create Your Taste" electronic kiosks were seen in some restaurants internationally where customers could custom order meals.

  • Automation has led to higher wages for employees, but it has also led to the closure of seating and all play areas in many of McDonald's restaurants.


Test your knowledge about the history, evolution, and global impact of McDonald's, from its founding in 1940 to its expansion into over 100 countries and various attempts at new restaurant concepts.

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