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Without a doubt, McDonald’s is a household name when it comes to fast food, and I’ve always been fascinated by its global reach. It’s incredible to think that this giant started out in post-World War II California.

As I delved into its history, I was struck by the sheer scale of its success – it’s far beyond what even its original creators could have envisioned, though I suspect they had high hopes from the start.

Now, stands as one of the wealthiest businesses in history, a testament to its expansive global franchise network. It’s truly on par with some of the most significant international corporations out there.

During my research, I came across some staggering figures. Around 70 million people use McDonald’s daily, a number that becomes less surprising when you consider its presence in over a hundred countries.

What’s more, McDonald’s employs about half a million people worldwide, showcasing its vast resources and influence.

As I dug deeper, I found a wealth of information online, filled with anecdotes and fascinating tidbits about this fast-food giant. But what I’m really excited to share with you are some lesser-known secrets about McDonald’s that I’ve unearthed.

In this piece, I’ll be exploring its origins, growth, impact, and its current standing as of 2024. I’m confident that you’ll find the insights I’ve gathered as intriguing as I do.

Company Snapshot McDonald’s
Headquarters Chicago
Year Founded 1940
Founders Dick and Mac
CEO Chris Kempczinski

History Of Company: The Humble Beginnings

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In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald, two ambitious brothers, embarked on a business venture in San Bernardino, California. Their initial concept was far from the global fast-food empire we know today. It was a simple hamburger stand, a modest establishment that served the local community.

Fast forward to 1955, and the narrative of McDonald’s took a dramatic turn. Industrialist Ray Kroc entered the scene and saw potential in brothers’ business. He transformed the humble hamburger stand into a franchise, setting the stage for a revolution in the fast-food industry. Kroc’s innovative approach led to significant updates in the company’s operations, laying the groundwork for the McDonald’s we recognize today.

Interestingly, despite its early establishment and growth, McDonald’s didn’t apply for a trademark in the United States until 2004. This marked a significant milestone in the company’s history, further solidifying its identity and brand in the fast-food market.

In his autobiography, Kroc shared insights into the internal dynamics of the company. He revealed that there were disagreements between him and the McDonald brothers over the company’s direction. This power struggle, a battle for control over the fast-food giant, added another layer of complexity to the company’s intriguing history.

Growth: Unprecedented Expansion:

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McDonald’s has experienced an extraordinary growth trajectory. Today, it serves a staggering 69 million customers daily across its 40,031  locations spread over 120 countries. This impressive reach is largely attributed to Ray Kroc’s vision for the company. His relentless push for modernization played a pivotal role in catapulting McDonald’s to its current global stature.

The Buyout: Kroc’s International Ambitions

Kroc’s ambitions for McDonald’s were not limited to the United States. He had his sights set on international expansion. To achieve this, he bought out the McDonald brothers’ stake in the company. This move gave him the freedom to steer the company towards his vision of a global fast-food empire.

Diversification: Owning Multiple Brands

In its journey, McDonald’s didn’t limit itself to burgers and fries. The company expanded its portfolio by acquiring a variety of other food chains. Donatos Pizza, Aroma Cafe, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and many others were once part of the McDonald’s corporation. This diversification strategy allowed McDonald’s to tap into different segments of the food industry.

Refocusing: Back to the Roots

However, in the 1990s, McDonald’s made a strategic decision to sell its stake in these franchises. The company decided to refocus its efforts on its namesake brand. This move was aimed at strengthening the core McDonald’s brand and ensuring its continued dominance in the fast-food market.

Fall of Sales: A Break in the Winning Streak

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Despite its global dominance in the food service retail industry, McDonald’s faced an unexpected setback in 2012. For the first time in nine years, the corporation reported a monthly sales decline. This marked a break in the company’s impressive growth streak, raising eyebrows in the industry.

The Downward Trend: A Prolonged Slump

The situation worsened in 2014 when McDonald’s reported a decline in quarterly sales for the first time in 17 years. This continued a downward trend that had begun the previous year in 2013. These consecutive declines signaled a challenging period for the fast-food giant.

The Great Shutdown: Closing Doors Across the USA

In 2015, the impact of the sales decline became even more visible. A total of 184 McDonald’s locations across the USA shut their doors. This was a significant event, as the United States had not seen a net decline in the number of McDonald’s locations since 1970. This marked a challenging chapter in the corporation’s history, prompting a need for strategic reassessment.


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According to TheFoodXP, McDonald’s has always been known for its classic fast-food offerings. From burgers and chicken sandwiches to french fries and breakfast foods, the company has catered to a wide range of tastes. Not to forget the sweets and soft beverages that have become a staple of the McDonald’s menu.

Responding to Criticism: A Healthier Menu

In response to criticism regarding the healthiness of its food, McDonald’s has made significant changes to its menu. The company has expanded its offerings to include healthier options such as fish, salads, and smoothies. This move was a strategic response to growing health consciousness among consumers.

Flexibility in Dining: Eat-In or Takeaway

McDonald’s has always prioritized customer convenience. Whether customers prefer to dine in the restaurant or take their meals to go, McDonald’s has catered to both preferences, ensuring a flexible dining experience.

A Healthier Turn: CEO Steve Easterbrook’s Influence

Under the leadership of CEO Steve Easterbrook since 2015, McDonald’s has made notable strides toward healthier food options. One significant change was the elimination of artificial preservatives in Chicken Nuggets. Easterbrook’s vision was to introduce more healthful alternatives to the menu, aligning with the evolving dietary preferences of consumers.

Cultural Adaptations: A Global Menu

What’s fascinating about its ability to adapt to different cultures. The menu varies significantly from country to country, reflecting local tastes and preferences. For instance, some Asian McDonald’s locations offer soup, while in Germany, you can order a beer. Over in New Zealand, a meat pie is a unique addition to the menu. These regional variations showcase commitment to catering to the diverse tastes of its global customer base.

Net Worth

Statistic Value
Market Capitalization $211.66 billion
Current Stock Price $278,58
52-Week High $302.39
EBITDA $17.30 billion
Real Estate Value $16 to $18 billion
Monthly Sales Decline (First Time in 9 Years) 2012
Number of Employees 150,000
Number of Shares Outstanding 722,142,030 shares
Dividend Per Share $1.67
Dividend Yield 2.29%
PE Ratio 24
Forward PE 23.50
EPS Forward Estimate $12.11
Average Analyst Price Target $323.24
Average Analyst Rating 4.25/5
Number of Buy Ratings 23
Number of Hold Ratings 13
Number of Sell Ratings 0
Number of Strong Buy Ratings 19
Number of Strong Sell Ratings $317
Revenue (Last 12 Months) $6.406B
Gross Profit (Last 12 Months) $3.654 billion
Operating Margin 41.16%
Profit Margin 40%
Quarterly Earnings Growth (YoY) 65.5%
Quarterly Revenue Growth (YoY) 2%

Corporation, traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “MCD”, has a current market capitalization of approximately $211.66 billion. The company’s current stock price stands at $289.91, with a 52-week high of $298.07, indicating a strong performance in the stock market. The company’s financial health is further underscored by its EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) of approximately $17.30 billion.

The company’s net worth is not solely derived from its operations as a fast-food chain. A significant portion of McDonald’s value comes from its real estate holdings. The land on which McDonald’s restaurants are situated is valued at an estimated $16 to $18 billion. This real estate strategy is a key aspect of McDonald’s business model, with rental payments from franchisees contributing a substantial portion of the company’s income.

Despite the impressive figures, it’s worth noting that has faced its share of challenges. For instance, in 2012, the corporation reported a monthly sales decline for the first time in nine years. However, McDonald’s has shown resilience and adaptability, continually evolving to meet the changing demands of the global market.

This adaptability, combined with its strong brand and extensive global network, contributes to substantial net worth and positions it as a significant player in the global fast-food industry.

McDonald’s Revenue Streams

Despite being a colossal, global, and multibillion-dollar entity, McDonald’s maintains a surprisingly straightforward financial structure. The revenue it generates essentially boils down to two main categories: sales from company-operated restaurants and revenues from franchised restaurants.

When you purchase a Big Mac from a McDonald’s directly managed by the corporation, that revenue is directly recorded by the company. However, the scenario is slightly different for franchised restaurants, which make up about 93% of McDonald’s outlets worldwide. Instead of recording the direct revenue from sales at franchised restaurants,  recognizes revenue from rents, royalties, and initial fees paid by franchisees.

Who Owns McDonald’s?

Like many companies, the top 10 shareholders of McDonald’s stock are all mutual fund companies or asset managers. Institutions own a significant 69.60% of all shares.

If you’re an investor in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, there’s a good chance you already own a piece of McDonald’s

Awards and Achievements

McDonald’s has served millions of customers on a daily basis around the world, and this has resulted in high brand value. It has won various recognition awards and achievements over the years of working in the food industry.

It won the Best Company Work-Life Balance in the year 2020. It has also won various awards, including the Best Employee Engagement Award and Best Corporate Social Responsibility Award. It has become the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue and will create more than 40.000 outlets in the year 2021.



In conclusion, McDonald’s is a fascinating case study of a local business that transformed into a global phenomenon. Its journey from a humble hamburger stand to a fast-food empire is a testament to the power of innovation, strategic planning, and relentless pursuit of growth.

Despite the challenges it has faced, McDonald’s has demonstrated remarkable resilience, continually adapting to meet the evolving demands of the global market.

The company’s financial performance, as of 2024, is a reflection of its robust business model and strong brand. With a net worth in the billions, McDonald’s stands as one of the wealthiest businesses in history. Its extensive global network, coupled with its diverse revenue streams, positions it as a significant player in the global fast-food industry.