By the mid-1950’s, automobiles and drive-in restaurants were part of the American lifestyle. McDonald’s successfully met the need for fast service, low-cost meals, convenience, and a child-friendly atmosphere. It became the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain and a symbol of American culture. The term “McDonalization” was coined to describe the homogenization accompanying the globalization of American culture.
The original business concept behind
In 1954, Ray
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, pictured in 1982.
Kroc proposed a franchise program. On April 15, 1955, he opened the first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois; he incorporated later that year. Kroc sold franchises, requiring owners to become restaurant managers and to follow the McDonald’s automation and standardization models. In 1961, Kroc purchased the McDonald brothers’ equity in the business for $2.7 million. By then, sales had reached $37 million and there were 228 restaurants. Over one billion hamburgers had been sold by the end of 1963. McDonald’s issued stock, becoming a publicly traded company in 1965. When Kroc died in 1984, there were more than 7,500 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide.
McDonald’s introduced the Big Mac sandwich in 1968, the Egg McMuffin in 1973, Happy Meals for children in 1979, Chicken McNuggets in 1983, salads in 1985, and a premium salad line in 2004. In 2006, McDonald’s premium coffee made its debut to compete with Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. In response to health concerns, McDonald’s began including nutritional information on packaging.
By early 2008, the McDonald’s Corporation had 30,000 local restaurants in more than one hundred countries. With 75 percent of the restaurants owned and operated by franchisees and affiliates, McDonald’s was serving more than 54 million customers daily.
Kroc, Ray, and Robert Anderson. Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1987. Love, John F. McDonald’s: Behind the Arches. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam Books, 1995. Spurlock, Morgan. Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005.
Retail trade industry