McDonald’s is the most popular fast food restaurant in the world. Almost every country sees the food chain have household name value. Everyone knows what McDonald’s is, which is the biggest sign of success for an international brand. The history of McDonald’s has become a fascinating story as many people enjoy learning about how they reached this level. Respected actor Michael Keaton even took a role portraying businessman Ray Kroc in The Founder film looking at how McDonald’s started and what led to the major steps. Basically, there is a lot of information out there about the fast food chain and most foodies have read about it.
However, some information remains less known as it flies under the radar. We will look at some of the more interesting things that most people have no idea about when it comes to McDonald’s. Any company that big and well known is likely to have some skeletons in the closet. All these tidbits aren’t even negative as they range between fun facts and things that McDonald’s would not want the general public to know. The curtain will be pulled back as an inside look of the world’s top fast food chain will be the journey we embark on today. Find out more trivia about the restaurant juggernaut. These are twenty things that even foodies don’t know about McDonald’s.
20 Chipotle Used to Be Owned by McDonald's
Chipotle has become one of the most successful fast food chains in the world. The food served at Chipotle is considered a higher quality of food and has healthier options than places like McDonald’s. However, the origin of Chipotle started with McDonald’s surprisingly owning most of the company.
McDonald’s invested enough to own 90% stake in Chipotle back in 1996. It helped the brand grow from having 14 locations to 460. The relationship lasted for eight years before McDonald’s sold their stake. They made their money back after realizing Chipotle would not become the Tex-Mex version of McDonald’s. It worked out for both sides as Chipotle found its identity and McDonald’s made a profit.
19 Ski-Thru Location in Sweden
Many people joke that McDonald’s will put a restaurant anywhere given how commonly found they are in most places. Sweden has one of the most unique locations for a McDonald’s anywhere in the world. Instead of it being a normal drive-thru for cars, there is a ski-thru for those on the slopes.
Skiers at this resort will be able to stop and get an order without having to get off their skies. The location makes it ideal for those want to spend a long day on the slopes without having to head back in for good. Naturally, McDonald’s was the company that wanted to have a location like this for the world’s strangest fast food ordering process.
18 Debated Breakfast Rules for Years
The breakfast menu at McDonald’s is extremely popular and arguably the most beloved when it comes to fast food breakfast. McDonald’s found success with items like the Egg McMuffin, McGriddle and their Big Breakfast platter. Their old rules would see these items stop selling around 11AM or earlier.
It led to many customers feeling upset if traffic or work made them show up a few minutes too late. McDonald’s debated going with all day breakfast for many years before making it official in 2015. The concern was that the items would lose its luster by becoming a normal menu category. However, the decision turned out to be an instant success with McDonald’s making even more off the breakfast items.
17 Multiple Popular Off-Menu Items
Secret menu items are a beloved aspect of the fast food world. Many of these items are just normal things offered and combining them to make a unique meal. McDonald’s is one of the more famous restaurants that features quite a few off-menu dishes that people enjoy experimenting with.
Breakfast fans sometimes orders a hash brown place inside their Egg McMuffin to add another dynamic to it. The Monster Mac features eight burgers being placed together for an intimidating massive burger. There’s a Surf and Turf Burger that places together a McBurger Supreme with a Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Most of these likely never crossed your mind, but they are popular things people love eating from McDonald’s.
16 Multiple Celebs Worked There
The duties that come from working at McDonald’s makes it a tough job to have. Employees that prepare the food or take orders must deal with a large number of customers most days. There is no room for error in an environment like McDonald’s.
Quite a few celebrities have worked at McDonald’s at some point in their lives. Some confirmed names to be employed at Mickey D’s before making it big are Pink, Rachel McAdams and Shania Twain. Comedic talk show legend Jay Leno not only worked at McDonald’s before his fame, but he returned to his old location to try his hand flipping burgers again for a 60 Minutes special looking at his past.
15 Shamrock Shake Is Not That Special
The Shamrock Shake is considered a specialty item from McDonald’s due to the limited availability. Fans of the shake usually only get the chance to order it in March as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The combination of a colorful drink and the fewer options to order it makes it a popular and special item.
Aside from the green mint flavor, there’s nothing really unique about the Shamrock Shake. Many customers assume there’s a special ingredient or something truly rare and amazing that makes it stand out. Corn syrup is the main ingredient along with other basic items like vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and the shake syrup.
14 McNuggets Might... Melt
The Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s are arguably the chain’s most popular item. Many people enjoy ordering 10-20 nuggets and eating as much as they can handle. The bite size food with various dipping sauces is a foolproof menu item. However, there are many concerns over the quality of them.
A former employee revealed some information that made people wonder how good the McNuggets are for us. He claimed he left about 100 nuggets on a counter for too long and they melted into a pool of liquid. While that may convince many people to think twice about ordering them, the McNuggets will always remain a top seller.
13 Stats Showed Young Female Adults Are Strongest Demo
The demographics of restaurants is always hit or miss to figure out. McDonald’s popularity makes it more important for them to research every aspect of their customers. Their research found that females between the ages of 25 and 39 were the most common of the customers to order at McDonald’s.
Obviously, the variety of customers at a place like McDonald’s sees every demographic enjoying the food, but the most popular customer is not one most expected. McDonald’s often would make ads that marketed towards men first. That must change with more ladies giving them business, especially in the relatively young adult age range.
12 Organic Burgers Sold in Germany as Test Item
The idea of McDonald’s getting healthy enough to sell organic burgers seem impossible. However, Germany is serving as a test to see just how well they would sell. The burger was made from antibiotic-free and humanely-raised organic beef. McDonald’s is hoping to figure out if the burger will garner enough sales to add to other menus all over the world.
This is one concern that many people that enjoy McDonald’s have about it. The addition of organic burgers could erase that doubt and see the restaurant getting even more customers returning or trying them for the first time. Hopefully Germany finds success with it so we can at least try it out.
11 Smoothies Have Quietly Become Important Part of Menu
Very few people think about smoothies when coming up with their top items on the McDonald’s menu. The drinks section has been upgraded in recent years with smoothies becoming a huge part of it. No one expected to love the smoothies and McDonald’s likely didn’t expect it to become a hit, but here we are.
The smoothies from McDonald’s have become a big part of their success. Many locations even have an area set up just to prepare the fancier drinks. McDonald’s is likely looking to add more smoothie flavors after seeing just how well the ones they have are already thriving.
10 Michael Jordan Branding Surprisingly Disappointed
Michael Jordan was one of the biggest cultural phenomenons in the 90s. The iconic basketball player not only thrived on the court, but he helped various businesses outside of it. Brands like Hanes, Gatorade and Ballpark all were taken to the next level thanks to the endorsement from Jordan.
One endorsement that should have worked out better and didn’t was McDonald’s. Jordan had his own burger on the menu called the McJordan. The problem is it was a standard item of an ordinary burger with bacon and a special sauce. McDonald’s expected more success from the McJordan than it received and scrapped the item from a wide release and fixture.
9 Weddings Take Place There in Hong Kong
Another interesting international element to McDonald’s features it finding another form of popularity in Hong Kong. People in Hong Kong don’t just love the food enough to make it a successful restaurant chain. They take it to the next level by wanting to spend the biggest day of their lives there.
Many couple opt to get married inside of McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong. The service is not just offered but a part of their business plan. Happy couples tie the knot and then eat the McDonald’s food items with their friends and family to officially celebrate the occasion. If you try this in North America, chances are your partner will not be thrilled.
8 Golden Arch Logo Was Not Originally There
The golden arch is one of the most successful marketing plans for visibility of a brand. Most people in the world take one glance at the yellow M and know it represents McDonald’s. This wasn’t always there from day one as it would become a concept later in the planning to grow the brand.
McDonald’s introduced the golden arch logo back in 1953 at a location in Phoenix. The restaurant looked so good with it on their McDonald’s logo that it became a fixture at other locations. Now it’s impossible to find a McDonald’s restaurant with a golden arch on the logo because it’s the visual we associate with the restaurant.
7 Hamburger University Training Program
The idea of a McDonald’s class seems ridiculous on first thought, but there is a good reason for it. A company as big as McDonald’s has the resources to ensure their employees know everything needed to succeed in their jobs. There is a hamburger university training program intended to pass along that information.
A total of 7,500 students take the class to learn the cooking process along with aspects of the managing work. It is supposed to have employees ready to work at the pace needed a place with McDonald’s as well as give the blueprint how to work up the ranks if desired.
6 More Children Recognize Ronald McDonald Than Santa Claus
Ronald McDonald is the unofficial face of McDonald’s. The fictional clown became a mascot of sorts for the brand. Ronald was and is still spotted in commercials or statues at the restaurants. McDonald’s even has people dressing like Ronald for special events.
A study showed that Ronald was more recognized from children all over the world than Santa Claus. The book titled Fast Food Nation revealed that 96% of children knew of Ronald from a picture. Fewer children could name Santa. There you have it – McDonald’s wacky clown is more popular than the fictitious Christmas hero that gives out free gifts.
5 Cares About Healthy Options
Many customers assume McDonald’s does not care about offering healthy foods. Some of their popular items are among the unhealthiest foods in the world. Most of the menu features things that are unhealthy in general. However, the company has tried to make changes in terms of variety.
McDonald’s is trying to make more health-conscious changes to the menu to appease everyone. Some of their salads offer a lot of food for a healthy purchase. Sandwiches like the Artisan Grilled Chicken sandwich is a nice alternative to a greasy burger. Test markets in Hong Kong even have a salad bar called McDonald’s Next to try to make that a fun addition.
4 Chicago is Home of the Headquarters
The assumption has been that McDonald’s does most of their business in places like New York or Los Angeles. However, another city in the United States is the home of McDonald’s headquarters. Chicago is the place where the most important meetings and ideas come for the fast food brand.
Oak Brook is the exact location where McDonald’s headquarters have been for the past few decades. A change in 2018 featured a move to the West Loop area of Chicago. The fun fact of the new location is that it used to be the home of Harpo Productions where Oprah’s shows were produced.
3 Subway Passed McDonald's in Total Locations
Most people would easily name McDonald’s when picking the food chain with the most locations in the world. McDonald’s may make the most money in the fast food industry, but it does not have the most locations total. Subway passed McDonald’s a few years ago to gain the top spot.
The most updated numbers show Subway with 44,229 locations compared to McDonald’s having 36,900 of their own in second place. Starbucks, KFC and Burger King round out the rest of the top five. Subway’s expansion has them selling sandwiches to countless people all over the world. Over 7,000 more locations make Subway the king of outreach over McDonald’s.
2 World’s Largest Distributor of Toys
McDonald’s not only dominates the food industry, but it is also at the top of the toy industry. Happy Meals are among the most beloved staples of the McDonald’s menu all over the world. Children love the reward of getting a small toy included in every meal sold.
The surprising fact is that the international reach of McDonald’s has made it the largest toy distributor in the world. Over 1.5 billion toys per year are sold by McDonald’s in the Happy Meals. It has passed Mattel and Hasbro to reach the top spot as the company to distribute the most toys globally.
1 Happy Meals Used in Unique Way
The power of the mind can be a huge help when it comes to dieting. No one would suggest McDonald’s is the best place to find a great diet, but many people have used it to start one. The Happy Meal specifically can help one start to eat a little healthier to take a small step in the right directions.
A meal this small is marketed towards children, but it provides an interesting option for dieters. The smaller burger and fries portion is enough to fill a crave of missing such foods without feeling the impact of a Big Mac or 10 McNuggets. They also offer apple slices or milk as a health addition as well. The toy even adds more enjoyment from the meal which makes your mind feel like it was a success rather than missing out.