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40+ Fascinating McDonald’s Facts Most People Don’t Know

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McDonald’s has played such an important role in defining international culture. McDonald’s is based in almost every country in the world, and nothing brings joy to young children as birthday celebrations in McDonald’s.

Still, not a lot of people actually know some shocking facts about McDonald’s history, practice, or cleanliness practice. Some McDonald’s fact is well-hidden or forgotten that even the most loyal customers may not know about. Here, you can find the most honest list of McDonald’s facts that will definitely surprise you.

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46. It Started As A BBQ Restaurant

The very first McDonald’s was actually a BBQ joint, located in San Bernardino, California. It was open in 1940, by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. This BBQ is today museum and you can visit all year round.

After the first eight years, the BBQ expanded it’s an offer to burgers, pie, shakes, and potato chips. The McDonalds purchased several Multi-mixers for use in their restaurant when salesman Ray Kroc visited, he was blown away by their efficiency and success. Ray purchased franchise right from the brother, and opened his franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955.

45. Drive-Through Wasn’t Planned

Originally, no McDonald’s restaurant had a drive-through option, nor it was planned. This concept was born in 1975 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

This Arizona-based restaurant was based near the military base, and soldiers were not allowed to leave their cars while wearing fatigues. So, drive-through was born thanks to military rule. We salute them!

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44. McDonald’s Beats Hospitals In Numbers

You may think that hospitals are more important than McDonald’s, but that’s simply not the case. Recent stats showed that there are actually more McDonald’s in the States than hospitals.

This is practiced only in the States. In other countries, McDonald’s restaurants are just added, not an asset. In the United States, you can find 14,350 McDonald’s restaurants opposite to 10,660 hospitals.

43. McDonald’s Gives Away Money

McDonald’s loves to give back. In 2013, Ronald McDonald House Charities – a nonprofit organization, raised around $450 million USD. This money had a very specific purpose.

The raised amount had to help nine-million children and their families worldwide. Today, this famous charity has nearly 300 local chapters in 58 countries and regions.

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42. Chipotle And McDonald’s Are Linked

Famous fast-Mexican chain Chipotle was founded in 1993, and people loved their menu’s from day one. Chipotle is also one of a few fast-food chains that actually offers a nutrition calculator on their website.

Did you know that McDonald’s actually invested in Chipotle in 1998? At that time, Chipotle only had 16 restaurants. By 2006, McDonald’s owned 90% of Chipotle, which had grown to 500 locations. However, the cut had to be made, so McDonald’s sold its share to focus on McDonald’s.

41. McDonald’s Is Not Really Fast

With so much presence in the media and with restaurants on almost every corner, it’s hard to imagine that anyone can beat McDonald’s. In anything. However, it turns out that McDonald’s is not as fast as many believe.

The average McDonald’s drive-through transaction lasts three minutes or exactly 189.49 seconds. Wendy’s beats this score, with 133.63-second turnaround time.

40. McDonald’s Logo Is Famous

The yellow McDonald’s logo is one of the most famous symbols globally. The Golden Arches used to look different, and it took founders five years to make it look like M.

The symbol is so famous that many claims that McDonald’s symbol is ahead of the cross. This is yet to be proven! Still, many can’t dispute that McDonald’s success is associated with its striking logo design.

39. The Golden Arches Aren’t Always Golden

The Golden Arches are irreplaceable parts of McDonald’s brand. You can spot McDonald’s from a far distance thanks to its yellow sign. However, in some countries, the famous golden arches aren’t always golden.

For example, in some European countries, McDonald’s typically Golden Arches are white to blend in with the location. In some cases, although the brand’s name is white, the famous M can be yellow. In Sedona, Arizona the golden arches are actually turquoise to keep with the distinct desert environment.

38. McDonald’s Menus Are Globally Different

You may be surprised to hear that your favorite McDonald’s food might not be available in the next state, or overseas. If you are located in States, you are actually missing some of the most interesting McDonald’s dishes ever.

Germany has three bratwursts on a bun, Israel offers McFalafel, Philippines Chicken McNuggets on the side, while in India they offer McAloo Tikki burger. The sky is the limit when it comes to global tastes.

37. Some Restaurants Have Unusual Design

Some countries took McDonald’s restaurant design to a whole different level. Some change letter color, while some go for unusual design objects, and various architectural tricks. Still, no country took it so seriously as New Zealand did.

How about a milkshake in an airplane? That’s right when you visit New Zealand, you get to visit McDonald’s in actual aircraft. Airline food like nowhere else.

36. McDonald’s Is Banned In Certain Countries

Some nations are not fond of McDonald’s at all. Actually, they are so against this fast-food chain that McDonald’s is banned forever. Some say it’s due to the United States politics, some blame poor nutrition, but one this is for sure, this brand is – McBanned.

McDonald’s keeps McDistance in Iceland, Montenegro, Bermuda, Iran, and many more. When it comes to Latin America, McDonald’s was harshly rejected in Bolivia. If you may ask if there is McDonald’s in Antarctica, the answer is no – there is no market for restaurants.

35. There Is A McBoat

One McDonald’s is floating around, and it’s located in Vancouver, Canada. McBarge was built for serving food at the 1986 World’s Fair, and it was one of the biggest places in the world to have a favorite hamburger or milkshake.

Nowadays, the McBarge is completely abandoned for almost 30 years. The initial cost for building this massive boat was around $9 million. Due to citizens’ efforts, the boat will be renovated, and McBarge will be back to business for almost $5 million. McBarge.

34. Queen Elizabeth II Owns A McDonald’s

The Queen of England is one of the richest people alive. Just in the United Kingdom, she owns $11 billion USD of real estate. Next to massive real estate wealth, she also owns cars, clothes, jewelry and so on.

Since the Queen owns numerous buildings, she owns a McDonald’s located near Buckingham Palace. So far, she wasn’t seen dining there… Maybe she is more of a drive-through type?

33. McDonald’s Will Cater Your Wedding

If you want your wedding ceremony in Hong Kong, you may order a variety of wedding packages in McDonald’s. You can choose between a basic package to the deluxe options.

For the deluxe package, you may expect to pay $1,200 including a two-hour rental of decorated McDonald’s location, McDonald’s gifts for up to 50 guests, a pair of McDonald’s balloon wedding rings, 50 invitations, emcee, a bridal bouquet, and an apple pie display.

32. McDonald’s Recycles Its Uniforms

In recent years, McDonald’s started taking huge steps toward being more environmentally friendly. Therefore, specific programs were born. One of the most interesting programs is being run in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom, McDonald’s has launched a program to recycle its employees’ uniforms. They are being used to create fiber for new uniforms, while the rest is being used to stuff mattresses.

31. Big Macs Aren’t Its Top Seller

Although Big Mac is present on almost every McDonald’s menu globally, this isn’t the top seller. The top seller holds no meat, and it’s more favorite food among meat-eaters, vegetarians, and even vegans.

McDonald’s top seller is french fries. You should know that this food is not rich in calories, and if you put too much salt they will actually be bad for you. Otherwise, McDonald’s french fries are no worse than the fries from anywhere else.

30. Potato Chips Before French Fries

When McDonald’s kicked of its business, the menu was very basic but yet delicious. From potato program, only potato chips were available, and this delicious food ruled the menu until french fries kicked in.

French fries debuted in 1949, nine years after the very first McDonald’s restaurant was open. As expected, french fries were an instant success. Originally, french fries were cooked in beef tallow, but nowadays, they are fried in vegetable oil.

29. Hula Burger Was The Worst-Selling Item

Meat-free alternatives are many, and they may vary from business to business. Even McDonalds tested many meat-free options, invented by Ray Kroc himself. Kroc wanted an original meatless alternative for Catholics on Lent, so he decided to try something new.

He was sure that grilled pineapple with a slice of cheese in a bun, will be a great meatless option. This unusual food mix was introduced to customers in 1962, and it lasted for a second only. People disliked ti and it is still officially the chain’s worst-selling item, otherwise known as Hula burger.

28. McDonald’s Coca-Cola Is Not Regular Coca-Cola

Many believe that Coca-Cola in McDonald’s is regular Coca-Cola diluted with water. Others claim that this Coca-Cola is even better than the real thing. One thing is for sure, compare to the original Coca-Cola, McDonald’s Coca-Cola really is different.

The truth is that McDonald’s Coca-Cola is really the Coke syrup delivered in stainless steel tanks. This way they preserve its freshness and unique taste. Elsewhere, this sugary drink is transported in plastic bags.

27. One Item Holds 1,880 Calories

To maintain a healthy weight, people should intake daily between 1,200 to 1,800 calories. Anything beyond 1,800 calories a day can lead to obesity unless you are a professional athlete. Everyone knows that McDonald’s food comes with high-calorie levels, but Chicken McNuggets top that.

However, if you choose to eat whole 40-piece Chicken McNuggets, you will intake in total 1,880 calories. Chicken McNuggets are the dish with the highest calories level. It holds more calories than an adult should consume in a single day.

26. McNuggets Were Too Popular

McNuggets were an instant success. Actually, they were so massive success that the chain couldn’t bare its success. McNuggets were too popular for the chain.

McDonald’s was forced to introduce a new dish to its menu – McRib because chicken farmers couldn’t keep up with the high demand for McNuggets. Therefore, McRib was introduced in 1981, and McNuggets are still more popular than ribs.

25. There Are No Ribs In McRib

McRib was a great business move to overcome the lack of chicken for McNuggets. Many believed that McRib is based on real pork ribs, but the truth is that McDonald’s approved no rib policy in McRib.

The truth is that McRib is completely made from pork shoulder meat. After one year McRib was pulled from the menu for more than three decades. However, this famous dish has a huge come back in 2019.

24. You Can Actually Have a Cheaper Big Mac

Real McDonald’s fans know numerous hacks that might help you get more from this fast-food chain. Big Mac is the most popular dish from McDonald’s’sMcDonald’s’s menu, next to delicious french fries. Still, some claim that you can get more for less if you order smarter.

Reddit users are prone to bragging that they can get you, Big Mac, for less money. How? It turns out that if you order a McDouble without ketchup or mustard and add special sauce and shredded lettuce, you can get a Big Mac for half the price. The only downside here? You won’t get the third bun.

23. No One Knows Who Created the Famous Clown

After the famous symbol, the red-haired clown is probably the best known McDonald’s symbol. Interestingly, no one knows for sure how this clown was born. It’s known that Willard Scoot was the first one to portray the famous clown in TV ads.

Scott later became popular for being The Today Show weatherman. Interestingly, Scott was fired from being Ronald McDonald. The reason? He was considered to be too fat.

22. Ronald Had Different Wardrobe

You may now know Ronald McDonald for being all dressed up in yellow and red, but that hasn’t been the case always. The truth is that Ronald has gone through wardrobe changes.

Just a few decades ago, Ronald looked slightly different. The original Ronald also wore a yellow-and-red striped suit, which was often matched with wearing fries, milkshake, or a hamburger as a hat.

21. One Lady Literally Shot at McDonald’s

The year 2015 was a big one for McDonald’s and their publicity. That year, a customer named Shaneka Torres of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was arrested for shooting a bullet in a McDonald’s drive-through window.

Shaneka was sentenced to three to seven years in prison. The reason for her shooting was bacon-related. Apparently, she failed to receive bacon on her burger. She is also banned from McDonald’s for life.

20. Customers Often Sue McDonald’s

McDonald’s is a big brand. Bigger the brand, higher the number of mistakes. Things happen. So, it’s common with big business to get sued for a bunch of things, and McDonald’s get sued a lot, being guilty or not.

McDonald’s issued for strangest things. Still, probably the most outrageous lawsuit was the one filled in 2014. The customer sued McDonald’s for $1.5 million after claiming to suffer “undue mental anguish” after he received only one napkin with his order.

19. Hollywood Star Is Banned From McDonald’s

Sarah Michelle Gellar was banned from McDonald’s for good. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not welcome to this famous fast-food chain for one reason only. The reason for this ban is linked to her past.

It turns out that the famous actress had a brief collaboration with McDonald’s rival, Burger King. Sarah appeared in Burger’s commercial when she was only six years old, back in 1981. Still, it seems that McDonald’s can’t and won’t forgive her for this move, so she is legitimately banned from all McDonald’s everywhere.

18. Countless Legal Battles

Big companies are used to being sued for various reasons. Still, it’s possible for companies to sue as well if they have a valid reason. In 1994, UK McDonalds sued two members of the London Greenpeace group for distributing pamphlets that claimed the company was responsible for hunger in the Third World, deforestation, food poisoning, cruel treatment of animals, and paying low wages.

This trial is known as McLibel case and it’s still the longest trial in English history. Thus trial lasted for 300 days, creating 20,000 pages of trial transcripts. The defendants were found guilty and they had to pay a fine. Interestingly, in 2005 they brought this case to the European Court, which declared the case was in breach of the right to a fair trial and right to freedom of expression.

17. One Man Has Eaten 30,000 Big Macs

Don Gorske of Wisconsin is an important name in McDonald’s history. This is the man who accomplished to eat 27,788 sandwiches. As a natural outcome, in 2016 he set a new record in category “Most Big Macs Consumed,” and entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

Don eats two burgers a day. He had his first burger when he was only 18 years when burger cost 49 cents. He liked the sandwich so much that after eating it, he had eight more – and that remains his limit ‘till today. He runs a marathon and his weigh and cholesterol is said to be normal.

16. This Is Why McDonald’s Keeps the Filet-O-Fish on Their Menu

The famous Filet-o-Fish was invented for Lent, when a McDonald’s franchise owner in Monfort Heights, Ohio, noticed an interesting thing. It came to his attention that in highly Catholic cities people never had cheeseburgers or hamburgers during Lent.

So, he decided to create a meat-free alternative, named the Filet-o-Fish. That was back in 1962. Nowadays, 23 percent of all Filet-o-Fish sales are thought to occur during Lent.

15. There’s a Big(gest) Mac Record

If you want a really huge Big Mac you should go to North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. There you will find the Big Mac Museum, which promotes itself as the most tasteful museum in the world.

Their Big Mac is really huge – it’s a 14-foot-tall statue – hungry visitors can eat the real thing at the on-premises McDonald’s restaurant.

14. The Big Mac Special Sauce Is In High Demand

Nothing like a sauce to make food more tasteful. According to reviews, McDonald’s known how to make a good sauce. The Big Mac Special Sauce is in high demand that only a few are blessed enough to own it.

The Big Mac Special Sauce is hard to find because only 200 are produced in the world, of 500ml bottle. Recently, a bottle was sold on eBay for an astonishing $16.144. One hundred percent of the profits went to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

13. Secret Sauce Ingredients Are no Longer Secret

Secret sauce ingredients are out, and ingredients are easy to find on the company’s website. It’s known that the sauce contains vegetable protein, salt, caramel color, turmeric, mustard, salt, garlic powder, etc.

It’s also stated that sauce contains sugar for sweetness, calcium disodium EDTA and sodium benzoate for taste and color, and soy lecithin for thickness and creaminess. Finding the right measure and balance between these ingredients is what is tricky.

12. McDonald’s Give Away Toys

McDonald’s is actually the world’s largest distributor of toys. The number of toys that McDonald’s gives away through its Happy Meal is enormous.

Actually, McDonald’s gives away around 1.5 billion toys each year with Happy Meals. Children are crazy about Happy Meals because they want to see what the toy is hidden inside. This is an effective McDonald’s practice that brings the company millions every month.

11. Usain Bolt loves McNuggets

It turns out that Jamaican runner Usain Bolt is a huge McNuggets fan. The rumor has it that during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he alone ate around 1,000 chicken McNuggets. It seems that the Olympics and McDonalds go hand by hand because McDonald’s had an outpost in the Olympic Village.

Still, that same year Usain won three gold medals and set three world record, with McNuggets or without. Since he must eat a lot of proteins, this story just might be true?

10. McDonald’s Is A Huge Employer

With so many restaurants across the country, it comes as no surprise that one in eight USA workers has been employed by this huge brand. Moreover, people loved working at McDonald’s.

It turns out that McDonald’s is a good place to work. The company offers great benefit programs, good work/life balance, and even a medical plan that includes vision and dental coverage.

9. Celebrities Have Worked At McDonald’s

Before they become famous people, celebrities had to work ordinary jobs, and many of them actually worked at McDonald’s. Did you know that the richest man alive, Jeff Bezos, used to work at McDonald’s?

Celebrities such as Jay Leno, Macy Grey, Pink, Seal, James Franco and so on, spend some period of their lives working at McDonald’s. Some loved it, some hated it but they do agree on one thing - it was an experience that has changed their lives.

8. “McJob” Is In The Dictionary

Yes, McDonald’s had such a massive influence on today’s world that you can find it even in the dictionary. Oxford English Dictionary decided to use “McJob” to describe a low-paid job with few prospects, especially those jobs of the service sector.

McDonald’s was ready to sue but ultimately decided to use it as an advantage in a commercial that celebrated the company’s employee benefits. It ended with the line: “Not bad for a McJob.”

7. You Can Attend A Hamburger University

McDonald’s is known for its original approach, interesting solutions, and doing things differently. Therefore, knowing that there is a real-life Hamburger University can’t be too weird, right?

In 1961, McDonald’s opened Hamburger University to train its executive employees. Today, this university has more than 275,000 graduates. University is located in Oak Brook, Illinois, where McDonald’s is headquartered. There are also other campuses in London, Munich, Tokyo, Shangai, and Sao Paolo. Hamburger University employs 60 full-time college professors.

6. Employees Have Their Own Singing Competition

You never heard about the Voice of McDonald’s? This is just one of the many benefits that McDonald’s employees can participate in. Numerous talents are hidden among 1.8 million employees in McDonald’s globally, and singing is just one of them.

The Voice of McDonald’s is a version of American Idol, where employees can also win huge awards, usually in cash. During the last competition, the third prize was $12,500 while the first place took home a $25,000 grand prize.

5. McDonald’s Food Has A Scary Side

In the 2003 documentary Super Size Me, made a big fuzz, when filmmaker Morgan Spurlock his 30-day, all-McDonald’s diet. In only 30 days, Morgan gain 11.3 kilograms and his cholesterol went up and even caused harm to his liver.

After this documentary, McDonald’s removed super size drinks, and fries from their menu. Although this move was made six weeks after the film’s release, McDonald’s management claim that the movie has nothing to do with their decision.

4. McDonald’s Jingle Was Made by Famous Pop Stars

Little is known, but McDonald’s is actually amazing when it comes to hiring the right people. Everything that McDonald’s does eventually turns to gold.

The famous jingle “I’m Lovin’ It” was actually created by major pop stars, Justin Timberlake and Pharell. Now when you know the big names behind the jingle it comes as no surprise that the jingle is so amazing/.

3. One Man Has a McDonald's Tattoo

Back in 2014, a Norweigan, Stian Ytterdahl decide to do something unusual. He was only 18 years old, so maybe he hasn’t had time to rethink his decision. One day, Stian decided to tattoo a McDonald’s receipt onto his arm after his friends dared him.

One week later he tattooed the same recipe on his other arm. Now, everyone knows what he ate at 7:36 PM on March 24, 2014: a Coke, three cheeseburgers, a cheeseburger Happy Meal, a McFlurry NonStop with three extra toppings, and an extra Happy Meal toy.

2. McDonald's Has Million Followers

In today’s world of social media and global connection, its crucial for brands to be seen online. Moreover, it’s essential for brands to communicate their values and engage with their followers/customers.

McDonald’s knows how to run its business online since the company has around 3.52 million followers. Also, both Ronald McDonalds and McDonald’s have separate Instagram accounts. McDonald’s wins over Ronald’s for 47,600 followers.

1. McNuggets Have Names

McNuggets are so loved by many, but it comes as no surprise that McNuggets shape actually has names. First, to understand why nuggets have names, you must understand that they actually come in four different shapes.

Common shapes are the bell, the bow-tie, the ball, and the boot. There is a reason for this: to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety.

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