Brothers Maurice ("Mac") and Richard McDonald opened the first McDonald's in San Bernardino, California, in 1940. It was originally a drive-in that sold a wide range of goods. However, in 1948, the brothers made the decision to restructure the company, and after three months of work, a new McDonald's opened. The small restaurant was built to sell a lot of food for a low price. The brothers limited the menu to hamburgers, drinks, pie, potato chips (which were later replaced by french fries), and developed a straightforward and effective format that they dubbed the Speedee Service System in order to accomplish this. This included a self-service counter that made it unnecessary to have waiters and waitresses, and hamburgers were cooked ahead of time, wrapped, and warmed under heat lamps so that customers could get their food quickly. The brothers were able to charge just 15 cents for a basic hamburger thanks to these innovations, which was roughly half the price of similar establishments. The brothers started a franchise program after McDonald's was a huge success.
A salesman by the name of Ray Kroc bought McDonald's appliances because he was interested in their need for eight malt and shake mixers. He went to the restaurant in 1954 to find out how a small store could sell so many milk shakes. Kroc became a franchise agent for the brothers because he realized that their restaurant concept had a lot of potential. Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise east of the Mississippi River in Des Plaines, Illinois, in April 1955, when he founded McDonald's Systems, Inc., which would later become McDonald's Corporation. Kroc acquired the McDonald brothers in 1961.
constructing the brand: from franchisees to Big Macs Kroc established stringent guidelines for how each McDonald's should be run, from food preparation to cleaning, because he was aware that franchisees were crucial to the company's success. He developed a franchisee training program in 1961, which became known as Hamburger University, to ensure the uniform operation of the stores. In addition, he eventually altered the restaurant layout by adding counter staff to take orders. In 1975, a McDonald's in Arizona opened the first drive-through window in the chain, which was soon adopted by all McDonald's locations.
McDonald's also introduced three features at this time that would help define its brand and increase public recognition. First, Ronald McDonald, a clown, was made the company's public face in 1963; However, in the early 21st century, the company largely ignored the character due to criticism over marketing to children and the growing negative image of clowns. The Big Mac was added to McDonald's national menu in 1968, which may have been the most notable addition. After french fries, the iconic hamburger reportedly became the company's most popular product. In addition, the chain worked on improving its logo in the 1960s, finally introducing the well-known double-arch M design, which went on to become its enduring symbol and one of the most well-known logos in the world; The tall yellow arches that had dominated previous McDonald's restaurant rooftops served as inspiration for it.
McDonald's expanded as a result of these changes. After Kroc became McDonald's sole owner, the number of McDonald's locations surpassed 1,000 in less than ten years. The company's stock began trading publicly in 1965, buoyed by these numbers.
The chain's domestic and international expansion continued. McDonald's opened its first franchise outside of the United States in 1967 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. There were approximately 34,000 locations operating in over 115 nations and territories at the beginning of the 21st century. In the 1990s, McDonald's was said to open a new location every five hours due to its rapid expansion. It quickly established itself as the most well-liked family restaurant thanks to its low prices, fun atmosphere, and flavors that kids and adults alike enjoyed.
Filet-O-Fish sandwiches were introduced by McDonald's in 1965; Quarter Pounders were introduced in 1973; Egg McMuffins were introduced in 1975; Happy Meals were introduced in 1979; and Chicken McNuggets were introduced in 1979. In addition, restaurants in other nations adapted their menus to cater to the tastes and traditions of that nation.
In the latter half of the 20th century, McDonald's ventured outside of the hamburger industry by acquiring Chipotle Mexican Grill (1998), Donatos Pizza (1999), and Boston Market (2000) in the United States. In the United Kingdom, McDonald's also made acquisitions of Aroma Cafe (1999) and an interest in Pret A Manger (2001), a sandwich restaurant chain. However, by the end of 2008, McDonald's had shifted its focus to its own brand and no longer owned or held any stake in any of those businesses.
As a result of McDonald's success, there was more criticism, most of which focused on the company's perceived connection to an increase in obesity around the world. At the beginning of the new millennium, a number of lawsuits were brought against the company in the United States, claiming that its food caused health issues. Despite the fact that none of the plaintiffs were successful, legislation banning obesity lawsuits against fast food chains was passed in a number of states. Following the popular documentary Super Size Me (2004), in which the director saw his health dramatically deteriorate while consuming only McDonald's foods, McDonald's also faced criticism.
As a response to the criticism, McDonald's added healthy items to its menu and began developing a vegan "hamburger," which would come to be known as the McVegan, P.L.T., and McPlant varieties. The company introduced its first plant-based hamburger in 2017, but it was only available in select markets at the time. It began testing yet another vegan hamburger two years later. In addition, McDonald's announced in 2018 that the majority of its hamburgers no longer contained preservatives. During this time, the company also stopped serving supersized portions and stopped using trans fat in some of the foods served in its restaurants in the United States and Canada. However, these measures did little to alleviate health issues.
McDonald's was repeatedly urged to raise wages because it is one of the largest private employers in the world. The Merriam-Webster dictionary now includes the expression "mcjob," which means "low-paying job." Additionally, the company received criticism for its negative environmental impact, particularly with regard to its contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. At the beginning of the 21st century, McDonald's began taking steps to cut down on emissions in both its restaurants and the beef production facilities of its suppliers. In addition, there was concern about the company's packaging, so McDonald's started a program to use bags, utensils, and other items made of renewable or recycled materials during this time.
McDonald's was involved in a number of charitable organizations. The Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia was founded in 1974 by it and Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill, whose daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia. Families were able to live close to the hospital where their children were receiving treatment thanks to the residence. More than 360 of these homes were in existence worldwide at the start of the 21st century. Other endeavors are also supported by the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which was established in 1987. Additionally, McDonald's launched additional initiatives, one of which was a Hispanic college scholarship program.
Different titles: Stephen James Easterbrook is the full name of the English-born business executive and accountant Stephen James Easterbrook, who was born on August 6, 1967, in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. He is best known for revitalizing McDonald's Corporation beginning in March 2015. Before ascending to the position of president and CEO of McDonald's, Easterbrook, a longtime executive at McDonald's, briefly led a few other fast food chains.
Born: Easterbrook was born on August 6, 1967, in Watford, England. He received his undergraduate degree in natural sciences from St. Chad's College, Durham University, where he also played cricket for the school. Easterbrook was 55 years old at the time. He worked as an accountant at Price Waterhouse, which provided auditing and professional services.
Easterbrook began working for McDonald's in London in 1993 as a manager of financial reporting. He progressed to the position of executive in charge of all McDonald's restaurants in the southern United Kingdom territory of the company. He was given charge of all UK operations at the beginning of 2006. His responsibilities were expanded to encompass all of northern Europe and its approximately 1,800 restaurants less than a year later. Easterbrook held that position for almost four years and briefly held a number of senior executive positions before leaving the company in 2011 to lead the PizzaExpress and Wagamama restaurant chains from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, he was promoted to senior executive vice president and chief brand officer at McDonald's. He was also a visiting fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation beginning in 2008.
In March 2015, Easterbrook was appointed McDonald's president and CEO to succeed Don Thompson. The time was crucial for McDonald's, which had lost market share to other fast-food hamburger chains like Five Guys and Shake Shack and had suffered a loss of profits of 15% in 2014.
Easterbrook took steps to improve the organization's efficiency, which had approximately 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. One of the most extensive aspects of his company-wide restructuring plan was the elimination of redundant managerial and store operations positions. In addition, Easterbrook sought to better cater to the distinctive requirements of various corporate territories and to reestablish the company's collective focus on the requirements and desires of customers. Easterbrook set out to change people's perceptions of the food they were eating in China, where a scandal in 2014 involving tainted meat had damaged the brand. He oversaw the removal of a number of items from the menu and the introduction of new products, such as customized hamburgers in Australia and the United States. He also increased the emphasis on convenience by expanding dual-lane drive-through restaurants and creating highly profitable all-day breakfast options in the United States. Many of Easterbrook's changes were successful. By the end of 2015, the company's profit margin had increased from 13.62 percent in March 2015 to over 25 percent, erasing the earlier decline. Sales at U.S. businesses increased by 5.7% in the first half of 2016 as a result of this success. Success also continued into the following year. The decision to use fresh beef in the production of its hamburgers as opposed to frozen beef was made public in 2017 with the intention of increasing the brand's appeal.
Easterbrook was fired from McDonald's in November 2019 after it was revealed that he had an affair with an employee. Easterbrook was immediately replaced by McDonald's USA president Chris Kempczinski. McDonald's announced in December 2021 that it had settled a lawsuit with Easterbrook to reclaim the $105 million severance package it had granted him after an investigation revealed that Easterbrook had had affairs with additional subordinates during his tenure.
A type of mass-produced food that is sold by certain restaurants, concession stands, and convenience stores and is made to be prepared and distributed quickly and efficiently. Fast food is probably most commonly associated with fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell. These chains typically provide takeout and drive-through services because they prioritize speed and convenience. Burgers, hot dogs, french fries, pizza, burritos, and other fast foods are common.
The production of fast food, according to critics, frequently places efficiency, affordability, and profit ahead of quality. In addition to containing a lot of sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat, refined grains, sugar, and artificial preservatives, fast food items are frequently highly processed, precooked, or frozen. As a result, the term "fast food" has acquired negative health connotations and raises ethical concerns regarding labor and agriculture. Despite its polarizing nature, fast food is still extremely popular worldwide due to its convenience and flavor.
The concept of ready-to-eat meals that are quick to prepare dates back many millennia. As far back as Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, there is evidence that people ate on the go. Self-service food establishments known as "automats" and "smash-and-grabs" gained popularity in the early 20th century among hurried customers looking for a quick meal. In Wichita, Kansas, in 1921, the first White Castle, which is frequently regarded as the first American fast food chain, opened. With an assembly line that allowed for prompt service and consistent output, it paved the way for the future fast-food chains with its five-cent burgers.
After World War II, the rise of suburbia, interstate highways, and other car-oriented infrastructure helped propel the fast food industry to great heights. The drive-through model was a natural progression from the drive-in restaurants that had sprung up all over the United States in the years leading up to World War II. Fast-food establishments made more money from drive-throughs than they did from drive-ins because drive-throughs only required a smaller number of employees and catered to customers who were on the move and did not wish to stop in for a meal. In-N-Out Burger, a restaurant chain based in California, is generally credited with being the first to use the modern drive-through, which has two-way speakers, in 1948. In the latter half of the 20th century, the fast food industry experienced rapid growth. There were nearly 200,000 fast-food restaurants in the United States alone at the beginning of the 21st century, and companies like McDonald's, Subway, and Starbucks had thousands of locations worldwide. Over $250 billion in revenue was generated collectively by American fast food restaurants in 2021.
The fast-food experience became more convenient and efficient as technology advanced. Customers can order and pay for their food on a screen when self-order kiosks are installed in a variety of restaurants, resulting in increased sales and decreased labor costs. In comparison to drive-through restaurants, third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub offer even more convenience.
The industry's expansion has affected other industries. KFC is frequently cited as the world's largest purchaser of chicken, and McDonald's rose to become one of the world's largest buyers of beef and potatoes. A lot of industrial livestock production has been driven by the high demand for such goods. Critics view this as an inhumane and unsustainable method of food production for the environment, referring to it as "factory farming." As a result, the fast food industry's large carbon footprint is frequently cited. As a response, some businesses have launched initiatives to cut emissions at their restaurants and in the beef production of their suppliers.
Corporations turned their attention to urban areas after fast-food chains spread throughout suburban America. Nowadays, fast-food restaurants abound in cities and are known to contribute to the "food desert" phenomenon, in which low-income urban neighborhoods lack access to healthy food. In food deserts, convenience stores that sell prepared fast foods like hot dogs, pizza, and sandwiches are also common. People who live in food deserts are disproportionately affected because fast food consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
In particular, fast food is linked to the rise in obesity, especially in the United States. Super Size Me, a documentary made in 2004 by American filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, is perhaps the most well-known work to examine fast food and its effects on the body. Spurlock documented a month in his life when McDonald's was his only source of food. He had gained more than 20 pounds (9 kg) during the experiment, and his health had deteriorated to the point where even his doctors were shocked. The movie was a wake-up call about the negative effects of fast food on the body for both the general public and health professionals. Many fast-food chains started removing trans fat from their menus and expanding their menus to include healthier options like salads, low-fat milk, and fresh fruit as a result of this and other efforts.
Additionally, fast-food companies have been criticized for their labor practices. Low wages and limited benefits, including health insurance, plague many fast-food workers. As a result, public assistance programs frequently provide assistance to employees, resulting in accusations that taxpayers are essentially subsidizing fast food restaurants. Additionally, some point to hazardous work environments that can result in injuries. Unionization efforts in the sector have met with strong opposition.
Various chains have altered the language surrounding their service models because they are aware of the negative connotations of the term "fast food." In the middle of the 2010s, for instance, the American sandwich chain Arby's introduced the slogan "Fast crafted." Around the same time, the ice cream chain Dairy Queen introduced the slogan "Fan food, not fast food." The term "quick-service restaurant," or "QSR," is widely used within the sector itself.