Monday, 9 April 2012

The McDonald's

A Brief History of McDonald's 
In early 1954 Ray Kroc drove to San Bernadino, CA to see what all the fuss was with a hamburger stand owned by Dick and Maurice (Mac) McDonald. Kroc, who sold Multimixers, wanted to know what the brothers were doing that they ordered so dang many of the things.
What Kroc discovered was a huge lunch line of ordinary people wanting a 15¢ burger (4¢ extra for cheese), a 5¢ coffee - and a third of them, a 20¢ milkshake! And all these people being served at a speedy 15 sec. apiece. You know, fast food!
The McDonald brothers had done for hamburgers what Henry Ford had done for cars. Inside the small restaurant, 3 grillmen did nothing but flip burgers, while 2 guys did milkshakes and another 2 did french fries. Throw in some countermen and a packager and you have mass production!
Their concept came at exactly the right time. America was booming as families moved to surburbia. McDonalds provided a cheap, easy dinner. And right from the start, McDonalds was kid friendly.
The brothers were getting attention and had already issued nine franchises. Surprised them when folks wanted to call these new restaurants, McDonalds.
Now, the Dick and Mac McDonald were men with priorities. They made a good living, had nice homes and cars, and didn't want to be on the road, sleeping in motels, while selling more franchises.
Not so for Ray Kroc. His vision was as limitless as his willingness to work. He persuaded the brothers to let him be franchise agent.
He opened his own first hamburger stand in suburban Chicago in 1955. But the money, as we all now know, was in franchises. Slowly, he grew. By 1956 there were 12, by 1960, 228. In the year 2000, McDonalds had grown to 25,000 restaurants in about 120 countries.
In 1961 Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers, whom he had come to see as lazy and unambitious. The brothers wanted, for the name and the company, $2.7 million, which was a million each after taxes. A huge amount for Kroc back then, but in retrospect, a great deal. Years later, Dick McDonald when asked if he had any regrets said, "I would have wound up in some skyscraper somewhere with about four ulcers and eight tax attorneys trying to figure out how to pay all my income tax."
I'd like to leave this story of the McDonalds and Ray Kroc with a happy ending. But it ended unneccesarily nasty.
Once Kroc had control, his long sublimated anger toward the McDonald brothers exploded. He forced them to remove the name - their own name - from the original restaurant. They renamed it Big M. But that wasn't all. Kroc opened a brand new McDonalds one block away.
  • Ray Kroc became the first franchisee appointed by Mac and Dick McDonald in San Bernardino, California.


  • Ray Kroc opened his first restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), and the McDonald's Corporation was created.


  • Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value (Q.S.C. & V.) became the company motto.


  • The 100th McDonald's opened in Chicago.
    PHOTO: The McDonald brothers (Dick right and Mac center) discussing plans with an executive.


  • Ray Kroc bought all rights to the McDonald's concept from the McDonald's brothers for $2.7 million.
  • Hamburger University opened in Elk Grove, near Chicago.


  • One billion hamburgers sold.
  • The 500th restaurant opened.
  • The 500th student graduates from Hamburger University.
  • Ronald McDonald made his debut.
  • McDonald's net income exceeded $1 million.


  • Filet-o-Fish sandwich introduced.


  • McDonald's Corporation went public. Per earning ratio varies from 10 to 22 during year; stock price range, 15 - 33.5.


  • McDonald's listed on the New York stock exchange on the 7th May.


  • The first restaurants outside of the USA opened in Canada and Puerto Rico.


  • The Big Mac was introduced.
  • The 1,000th restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois.


  • McDonald's restaurant in every US state.
  • Ray Cesca (Director of Global Purchasing of the McDonald's Corporation) has admitted that when McDonald's opened stores in Costa Rica in 1970, they were using beef from cattle raised on ex-rainforest land, deforested in the 1950's and 1960's.
  • New countries - Virgin Islands, Costa Rica.
    PHOTO: The first Japanese McDonald's in Tokyo.


  • The Egg McMuffin sandwich was test marketed in the US as McDonald's first breakfast menu item.
  • McDonald's Japanese President, Den Fujita, stated "the reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years"; "if we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blonde".
  • New countries - Japan, Holland, Australia, Germany, Panama, Guam.


  • Assets exceeded $500 million and sales surpassed $1 billion.
  • A new McDonald's restaurant opening every day.
  • New countries - France, El Salvador.
  • The 2,000th restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois.
  • The Quarter Pounder was introduced.
  • Ray Kroc made a $250,000 donation to the controversial 1972 presidential campaign of Richard Nixon, a donation which was perhaps a subject of investigation during the Watergate corruption scandal. Passages in the 'Behind The Arches' book (written with McDonald's backing and assistance) state that the donation came around the very time that McDonald's franchisees were lobbying to prevent an increase in the minimum wage, and to get legislation (dubbed 'The McDonald's Bill') passed to be able to pay a sub- minimum wage to some young workers.


  • McDonald's Golden Arches Restaurants Limited founded in UK as a joint venture partnership between the McDonald's Corporation and two businessmen; one British, one American.
  • New country - Sweden.
  • Egg McMuffin introduced.


  • The 3,000th McDonald's restaurant was opened in Woolwich (south east London) in October, the first in the UK. The company admitted that NOBODY went in and later decided to target children with TV ads.
  • The UK Head Office was sited in Hampstead, North London.
  • Up to 1974, McDonald's employees in Puerto Rico were unionised, but the company was sold to a new franchisee. A dispute followed, closing all the stores and McDonald's pulled out of Puerto Rico. They reopened in 1980 with non-union labour.
  • New countries - England, Netherlands, Antilles, Guatemala.
  • The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia.
  • At a San Francisco Labor Board hearing, McDonald's workers testified that lie-detectors had been used to ask about union sympathies, following which the company was threatened with legal action.
    PHOTO: McDonald's buildings have undergone dramatic changes from the first one opened by Kroc in 1955 (top) which is now preserved as a museum, to this ultra modern restaurant opened in 1983 in New Orleans (bottom).


  • The company's first Drive-Thru opened in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
  • New countries - Hong Kong, Bahamas, Nicaragua.
  • Fred Turner becomes Chairman, Ray Kroc Senior Chairman, and Ed Schmitt becomes President.
  • Broadcast advertising appeared in UK cinemas.


  • McDonald's first UK TV advertisement was broadcast.
  • 4,000th store opened in Canada.
  • New countries - Switzerland, New Zealand.
  • Largest restaurant opens - with 334 seats.


  • New countries - Ireland, Austria.
  • Breakfast menu introduced, nationally in America.


  • The 5,000th restaurant opened in Kanagawa, Japan and it made US $1 million in its first year.
  • Sundaes introduced in USA.
  • In one store in Chicago (USA), a majority of McDonald's workers joined a union. The company then took legal action to stop recognition for the union unless they could get a majority in the 8 stores run by the franchisee.
  • New country - Belgium.


  • A 7 month strike in Dublin (Ireland) lead to recognition of the ITGWU union. In 1985, two union activists won a victory at a labour court after claiming victimisation and unfair dismissal.
  • New countries - Brazil and Singapore.


  • The 6,000th restaurant opened in Munich.
  • After workers in a store in Detroit (USA) joined a union, the company organised a visit by a top baseball star, staff disco, and 'McBingo' prior to elections for union representation.
  • First floating restaurant on a steamer in Missouri.
  • 1,000th international restaurant opened.


  • New countries - Spain, Denmark and Malaysia.


  • Geoffrey Guiliano, a main Ronald McDonald actor, quit and publicly apologised, stating "I brainwashed youngsters into doing wrong. I want to say sorry to children everywhere for selling out to concerns who make millions by murdering animals".
  • 7,000th restaurant opened in Washington DC.
  • McDonald's were responsible for food poisoning outbreak caused by E. Coli bacteria, which affected 47 people in Oregon and Michigan, USA.
  • Egon Ronay calls McDonald's burgers 'uninspiring'.
  • Breakfast was introduced to the British menu.
    PHOTO: The $40 million 'Hamburger University'.


  • The McDonald's Corporation became sole owners of McDonald's in the UK. The Company is named McDonald's Hamburgers Limited.
  • Five consignments of Brazilian beef are secretly imported for McDonald's UK stores.
  • The 100th UK restaurant opened in Market Street, Manchester.
  • New country - Norway.
  • Introduction of Chicken McNuggets in USA.
  • New Hamburger University campus opens in Oak Brook, Illinois. Set in 80 wooded acres. Training is provided for every level of McDonald's management worldwide. A lodge with 154 rooms in also on the same site.
  • In Arkansas (USA), the UFCW union, which was interested in recruiting McDonald's workers, was involved in a union dispute at a chicken processing plant supplying McDonald's. The union launched a boycott of McDonald's 'McNuggets' and picketed many of its stores. Stan Stein (McDonald's Head of Personnel and Labour Relations) spent up to '80%' of a whole year fighting the union's campaign.


  • Founder Ray Kroc dies.
  • James Huberty shoots 22 people dead at a McDonald's in San Diego (USA).
  • 50 billionth hamburger sold.
  • Ronald McDonald Children's Charities is founded in his memory to raise funds in support of child welfare.
  • A McDonald's pamphlet which is distributed to health professionals in the UK states:
      "There is a considerable amount of evidence to suggest that many of the diseases which are more common in the western, affluent world - diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer - are related to diet. The typical western diet is relatively low in dietary fibre (roughage) and high in fat, salt and sugar."
  • McDonald's now serves 17 million customers a day - equivalent to serving lunch to the entire population of Australia and New Zealand. If McDonald's lined up all the hamburgers sold since 1955, they would:-
    • Circle the equator 103.75 times;
    • Reach to the moon and back 5 times.

    PHOTO: Ray Kroc demonstrating his fetish for cleanliness.


  • London Greenpeace (a radical group of civil rights and environmental campaigners, independent of Greenpeace International) launches a campaign intended to expose the reality behind the advertising mask of the fast food chains, including McDonald's.
  • Sergio Quintana, the sales director of Coop Montecillos (the sole supplier of beef to McDonald's stores in Costa Rica since 1970), stated on camera that his company's beef was being supplied to McDonald's in the USA.


  • Drive-Thru restaurants opened in UK at Fallowfield, Dudley, Neasden and Coventry.
  • Four workers in Madrid who had called for union elections were sacked by McDonald's. The company was forced to reinstate the workers after the labour court ruled that the dismissals were illegal.
  • The 200th UK restaurant opened in lpswich. PICTURE: Cover of the "What's wrong with McDonald's?" factsheet produced by London Greenpeace.
  • McDonald's became the first UK restaurant group to introduce nutritional information, throughout the country, for the benefit of customers.
  • London Greenpeace published a 6-sided factsheet entitled "What's Wrong With McDonald's? - Everything They Don't Want You To Know".
  • The first UK franchisee-operated restaurant opened in Hayes, Middlesex.
  • The first World Day of Action Against McDonald's was held on 16th October (UN 'World Food Day').


  • The Attorneys General of Texas, California and New York threatened to sue McDonald's under the consumer protection laws over an advertising campaign claiming that McDonald's food is nutritious. The Attorneys General concluded that the campaign was deceptive because "McDonald's food is, as a whole, not nutritious."
  • McDonald's is serving 20 million people a day in nearly 10,000 restaurants in 47 countries.
  • The UK Midlands regional training centre opened in Sutton Coldfield.
  • McDonald's started legal proceedings against the Transnationals Information Centre (an independent research and action group based in London) over a booklet they produced called "Working for Big Mac" which was highly critical of the company's employment practices. The TIC backed down lacking resources to fight the case to trial, discontinued publication and distribution of the booklet (which was pulped), and the organisation itself went bust.


  • McDonald's sponsored the Child of Achievement Awards.
  • CFCs ceased to be used for most of McDonald's styrofoam packaging.
  • 300th UK restaurant opened in Dagenham, Essex.
    PHOTO:An ad in a German newspaper which aims to counter criticism that McDonald's is changing German restaurant traditions for the worse.


  • Italian designer Valentino attempts in a Rome court to stop McDonald's opening near the Piazza di Spagna, complaining of "noise and disgusting odours".
  • McDonald's is listed on the Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and Tokyo stock exchanges.
  • The Bournemouth Advertiser (UK) is threatened with a libel action by McDonald's over an article which discussed the captive-bolt method of slaughter for cattle. The newspaper backed down and published an apology.
  • Michael Quinlan is appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
  • The UK company's name was changed to McDonald's Restaurants Limited.
  • McDonald's send undercover private investigators to infiltrate London Greenpeace over a period of 20 months.
  • McDonald's charity for child welfare fundraising, Ronald McDonald Children's Charities, was registered.
  • McDonald's Child of Achievement Awards were presented by UK Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher.
  • The UK Manchester regional training centre was opened.
  • McDonald's stores in Philadelphia (USA) were independently surveyed and accused of having racist differential wage rates between the inner-city stores (mostly black workers) and the suburbs (mostly white workers).


  • September - libel writs were served on five supporters of London Greenpeace, three of whom feel unable to fight the case. The McLibel Support Campaign is set up to generate solidarity and financial backing for the McLibel Defendants.
  • McDonald's opened in Pushkin Square and Gorky Street, Moscow.
  • McDonald's opened at a UK airport at North Terminal, Gatwick.
  • The first Ronald McDonald House opened at Guy's Hospital, London.
  • McDonald's Child of Achievement Awards attended by HRH The Princess of Wales.


  • McDonald's were responsible for a serious food poisoning outbreak in Preston (UK), when several customers were hospitalised as a result of eating undercooked burgers contaminated by potentially deadly E.Coli 0157H bacteria.
  • The 150th Ronald McDonald House opened in Paris.
  • McDonald's opened in Beijing, China.
  • The 400th UK restaurant (and first in Northern Ireland) is opened in Belfast.
  • McDonald's opens in Hampstead (North London) despite strong opposition from local residents.
    PHOTO: A 1950's newspaper advert.


  • Mark Hopkins, a McDonald's worker in Manchester (UK), was fatally electrocuted on touching a 'fat filtering unit' in the 'wash-up' area of the store.
  • The manager of a Newcastle store (UK) was jailed for 6 months for inducing a crew member to phone through a hoax bomb threat to nearby Burger King in order to boost sales at McDonald's.
  • McDonald's Child of Achievement Awards attended by UK Prime Minister John Major.
  • McDonald's opened in a railway station at Liverpool Street, London.
  • A UK Health & Safety Executive report made 23 recommendations for improvements in the safety of employees. One of its conclusions was "The application of McDonald's hustle policy [ie. getting staff to work at speed] in many restaurants was, in effect, putting the service of the customer before the safety of employees."
  • Visitors to Salisbury Cathedral (UK) are offered two burgers for the price of one if they buy a commemorative parchment scroll. The idea is dropped when the bishop gets back from holiday.
  • First restaurant in a European hospital opened at Guy's Hospital, London.


  • The first McDonald's at sea opened aboard the Silja Europa, the world's largest ferry sailing between Stockholm and Helsinki.
  • The Paris planning authorities refuse permission for a McDonald's under the Eiffel Tower.
  • The second Ronald McDonald House opened at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.
  • 500th UK restaurant opened in Notting Hill Gate, London.
  • First UK operated restaurant on a ship opened on the Stena Sealink ferry "Fantasia" sailing between Dover and Calais.
  • McDonald's sponsored athletics in the UK through the McDonald's Young Athletes' League and the International invitational meeting the McDonald's Games.


  • McLibel Trial starts on 28th June.
  • Restaurants opened in Bahrain, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kuwait, Latvia, Oman, New Caledonia, Trinidad and United Arab Emirates, bringing the total to over 15,000 in 79 countries on 6 continents.
  • McDonald's celebrated twenty years of operating in the UK.
  • McDonald's environmental image was revealed to be a sham, and customers being conned when it was discovered that rubbish which customers were asked to put into separated recycling bins throughout New Zealand stores was sent to the tip.
  • McDonald's achieved the highest ever grade under the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)Quality Safety Audit scheme.
  • McDonald's was voted the 'Most Parent Friendly' restaurant in the UK for the second successive year by the Tommy's Parent Friendly Campaign, supported by the Daily Telegraph.
  • Workers in an Ontario store (Canada) joined a union, but the company managed to avoid recognition by ensuring victory in Labour Board sponsored elections.
  • The McLibel Defendants issue a countersuit for libel against McDonald's over the company's accusation in a leaflet that they are telling lies.
  • Five McDonald's managers are arrested in Lyon, France for trying to rig union elections.
  • On 1st October, McDonald's UK executives held a celebration along with a jazz band and clown at their Woolwich store to mark 20 years since this first store opened in the UK. Twenty five London Greenpeace and McLibel supporters gathered with a banner reading "20 Years of McGarbage" and handed out 4000 "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" leaflets to passers-by.
  • In October, there is an demonstration at McDonald's European headquarters in London where sackfuls of the company's litter picked up off the streets are returned. 500 people attend the National March Against McDonald's through central London to protest against the company's exploitation of people, animals and the environment.
  • The company threatens legal action against a topless restaurant in Australia called "McTits". PHOTO:An ad in a German newspaper which aims to counter criticism that McDonald's is changing German restaurant traditions for the worse.


  • McLibel Trial becomes the longest libel trial in British history on Day 102 in March.
  • On 15th April, there were international protests to mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of the world's first store of the McDonald's Corporation, and to celebrate 10 years of co-ordinated international resistance to McDonald's.
  • On the first anniversary of the McLibel Trial (28th June), it becomes known that McDonald's had initiated secret settlement negotiations and had twice flown members of their US Board of Directors to London to meet with the McLibel Defendants in an attempt to bring the case to an end.
  • 12th October, the third anniversary of the death of Mark Hopkins, was a Day of Solidarity With McDonald's Workers in the UK.
  • On 16th October, the 11th annual Worldwide Day of Action Against McDonald's, there were protests in at least 20 countries. In the UK, at least 250 of the company's 600 stores were leafletted.
  • On 11th December (Day 199 of the trial), the McLibel Trial becomes the longest civil case in English history.
  • Following widespread opposition by local residents, McDonald's were refused permission to open an outlet at their European headquarters in north London.


  • February 16th 10am, the McSpotlight website was launched.
  • In March, the public's intense concern over the links between the cattle disease BSE and its human equivalent CJD forced McDonald's UK to ban British beef. The company did not sell any beef products for a week while supposedly waiting for beef supplies to arrive from other EU countries.
  • The "Vegetable Deluxe" was launched in the UK.
  • McDonald's opened stores in India.
  • McDonald's and Disney announced a deal giving McDonald's exclusive rights to use characters from Disney films in its promotions around the world for 10 years. Commentators called it the biggest global marketing alliance yet devised.
  • McDonald's opened a store in Belarus, its 100th country.
  • The movie star Robin Williams turned down a million-pound offer to advertise McDonald's.
  • McDonald's threatened the owner of a UK sandwich bar called "McMunchies" with legal action for breach of trademark. A retired Scottish school-teacher called Ronald McDonald, and the chief of the McDonald clan in Scotland were both outraged at this further attempt by McDonald's to claim global dominion over the prefix "Mc" and the name "McDonald" which has been an Irish and Scottish family name for centuries.
  • The Supreme Court of Denmark ruled against McDonald's claim that a sausage stand called "McAllan's" was in breach of its trademark.
  • Following widespread opposition by local residents in Winchmore Hill (north London) which put a lot of pressure on the local MP (Michael Portillo, the Defence Secretary), McDonald's were refused permission to convert the local Conservative Association HQ into a Drive-Thru.
  • McDonald's sued for breach of trademark a Jamaican fast-food company (called the McDonald's Corporation Limited) which had been operating in Jamaica since the early 1970's. The Jamaican company succeeded in getting information from the McLibel Trial taken from the Internet ruled admissible in the case, and in getting an order barring McDonald's from opening stores in the country until the courtcase was completed.
  • McDonald's succeeded in its trademark battle in South Africa, when an appeal court prohibited competitors from using its name and the golden arches symbol.
  • McDonald's began spending $200 million on a promotional blitz in the USA & Canada to lure adults to visit their outlets. This included the launch of the new adult burger, the "Arch Deluxe" in May. Despite this blitz, US sales continued to fall.
  • The parents of a child, who died from E.Coli 0157 food poisoning after eating McDonald's burgers in Spain and England, began legal proceedings for compensation in the USA. Meanwhile, three children who suffered E.Coli 0157 food poisoning in England also from McDonald's burgers were granted legal aid to sue McDonald's and their supplier McKey's.
  • McDonald's opened the world's first fast-food ski-through in the Lindvallen resort (Sweden).
  • The McLibel Trial became the longest trial of any kind in English legal history in November. The evidence was completed in July, and the closing speeches in December, but the Judge reserved his Judgment until the following year.          
    McDonald's restaurants are found in 119 countries and territories around the world and serve 58 million customers each day. McDonald's operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 1.5 million people. The company also operates other restaurant brands, such as Piles Café.
    Focusing on its core brand, McDonald's began divesting itself of other chains it had acquired during the 1990s. The company owned a majority stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill until October 2006, when McDonald's fully divested from Chipotle through a stock exchange. Until December 2003, it also owned Donatos Pizza. On August 27, 2007, McDonald's sold Boston Market to Sun Capital Partners.
    Types of restaurants
    Most standalone McDonald's restaurants offer both counter service and drive-through service, with indoor and sometimes outdoor seating. Drive-Thru, Auto-Mac, Pay and Drive, or "McDrive" as it is known in many countries, often has separate stations for placing, paying for, and picking up orders, though the latter two steps are frequently combined; it was first introduced in Arizona in 1975, following the lead of other fast-food chains. The first such restaurant in Britain opened at Fallowfield, Manchester in 1986.
    In some countries, "McDrive" locations near highways offer no counter service or seating. In contrast, locations in high-density city neighborhoods often omit drive-through service. There are also a few locations, located mostly in downtown districts, that offer Walk-Thru service in place of Drive-Thru.
    To accommodate the current trend for high quality coffee and the popularity of coffee shops in general, McDonald's introduced McCafé, a café-style accompaniment to McDonald's restaurants in the style of Starbucks. McCafé is a concept created by McDonald's Australia, starting with Melbourne in 1993. Today, most McDonald's in Australia have McCafés located within the existing McDonald's restaurant. In Tasmania, there are McCafés in every store, with the rest of the states quickly following suit. After upgrading to the new McCafé look and feel, some Australian stores have noticed up to a 60% increase in sales. As of the end of 2003 there were over 600 McCafés worldwide.
    Some locations are connected to gas stations/convenience stores, while others called McExpress have limited seating and/or menu or may be located in a shopping mall. Other McDonald's are located in Wal-Mart stores. McStop is a location targeted at truckers and travelers which may have services found at truck stops.
    Since 1997, the only Kosher McDonald's in the world that is not in Israel, is located in the "Abasto de Buenos Aires", Argentina.
    McDonald's in Los Angeles.
    Some McDonald's in suburban areas and certain cities feature large indoor or outdoor playgrounds. The first PlayPlace with the familiar crawl-tube design with ball pits and slides was introduced in 1987 in the USA, with many more being constructed soon after. Some PlayPlace playgrounds have been renovated into "R Gym" areas.
    McDonald's in Exeter, UK.
    In 2006, McDonald's introduced its "Forever Young" brand by redesigning all of its restaurants, the first major redesign since the 1970s.
    The design includes the traditional McDonald's yellow and red colors, but the red is muted to terra cotta, the yellow was turned golden for a more "sunny" look, and olive and sage green were also added. To warm up its look, the restaurants have less plastic and more brick and wood, with modern hanging lights to produce a softer glow. Contemporary art or framed photographs hang on the walls.
    Business model
    McDonald's Corporation earns revenue as an investor in properties, a franchiser of restaurants, and an operator of restaurants. Approximately 15% of McDonald's restaurants are owned and operated by McDonald's Corporation directly. The remainder are operated by others through a variety of franchise agreements and joint ventures. The McDonald's Corporation's business model is slightly different from that of most other fast-food chains. In addition to ordinary franchise fees and marketing fees, which are calculated as a percentage of sales, McDonald's may also collect rent, which may also be calculated on the basis of sales. As a condition of many franchise agreements, which vary by contract, age, country, and location, the Corporation may own or lease the properties on which McDonald's franchises are located. In most, if not all cases, the franchisee does not own the location of its restaurants.
    The United Kingdom and Ireland business model is different than the U.S, in that fewer than 30% of restaurants are franchised, with the majority under the ownership of the company. McDonald's trains its franchisees and others at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Illinois.
    In other countries, McDonald's restaurants are operated by joint ventures of McDonald's Corporation and other, local entities or governments.
    As a matter of policy, McDonald's does not make direct sales of food or materials to franchisees, instead organizing the supply of food and materials to restaurants through approved third party logistics operators.
    According to Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (2001), nearly one in eight workers in the U.S. have at some time been employed by McDonald's. (According to a news piece on Fox News this figure is one in ten) The book also states that McDonald's is the largest private operator of playgrounds in the U.S., as well as the single largest purchaser of beef, pork, potatoes, and apples. The selection of meats McDonald's uses varies with the culture of the host country.
    Shareholder dividends
    McDonald's has increased shareholder dividends for 25 consecutive years, making it one of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats.
    As a prominent example of the rapid globalization of the American fast food industry, McDonald's is often the target of criticism for its menu, its expansion, and its business practices. The McLibel Trial, also known as McDonald's Restaurants v Morris & Steel, is an example of this criticism. In 1990, activists from a small group known as London Greenpeace (no connection to the international group Greenpeace) distributed leaflets entitled What's wrong with McDonald's?, criticizing its environmental, health, and labor record. The corporation wrote to the group demanding they desist and apologize, and, when two of the activists refused to back down, sued them for libel in one of the longest cases in British civil law. A documentary film of the McLibel Trial has been shown in several countries.
    Despite the objections of McDonald's, the term "McJob" was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2003.The term was defined as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement". In an open letter to Merriam-Webster, Jim Cantalupo, former CEO of McDonald's, denounced the definition as a "slap in the face" to all restaurant employees, and stated that "a more appropriate definition of a 'McJob' might be 'teaches responsibility.'" Merriam-Webster responded that "we stand by the accuracy and appropriateness of our definition."
    In 1999, French anti-globalisation activist José Bové vandalized a half-built McDonald's to protest against the introduction of fast food in the region.
    In 2001, Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation included criticism of the business practices of McDonald's. Among the critiques were allegations that McDonald's (along with other companies within the fast food industry) uses its political influence to increase its profits at the expense of people's health and the social conditions of its workers. The book also brought into question McDonald's advertisement techniques in which it targets children. While the book did mention other fast-food chains, it focused primarily on McDonald's.
    McDonald's is the world's largest distributor of toys, which it includes with kids meals. It has been alleged that the use of popular toys encourages children to eat more McDonald's food, thereby contributing to many children's health problems, including a rise in obesity.
    In 2002, vegetarian groups, largely Hindu and Buddhist, successfully sued McDonald's for misrepresenting its French fries as vegetarian, when they contained beef broth.
    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), continues to pressure McDonald's to change its animal welfare standards, in particular the method its suppliers use for slaughtering chickens. Most processors in the United States shackle the birds upside down, then run them through an electrically charged water tub to render them unconscious before slitting their throats. PETA argues that using gas to kill the birds (a method known as "controlled atmosphere killing" or CAK) is less cruel.Both CAK and "controlled atmosphere stunning" (CAS) are commonly used in Europe.
    Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary film Super Size Me said that McDonald's food was contributing to the epidemic of obesity in society, and that the company was failing to provide nutritional information about its food for its customers. Six weeks after the film premiered, McDonald's announced that it was eliminating the super size option, and was creating the adult happy meal.
    The soya that is fed to McDonald’s chickens is supplied by agricultural giant Cargill and comes directly from Brazil. Greenpeace alleges that not only is soya destroying the Amazon rain forest in Brazil, but soya farmers are guilty of further crimes including slavery and the invasion of indigenous peoples’ lands. The allegation is that McDonald's, as a client of Cargill's, is complicit in these activities.
    Arguments in defense
    In response to public pressure, McDonald's has sought to include more healthy choices in its menu and has introduced a new slogan to its recruitment posters: "Not bad for a McJob". (The word McJob, first attested in the mid-1980s and later popularized by Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland in his book Generation X, has become a buzz word for low-paid, unskilled work with few prospects or benefits and little security.) McDonald's disputes this definition of McJob. In 2007, the company launched an advertising campaign with the slogan "Would you like a career with that?" on Irish television, outlining that its jobs have many prospects.
    In an effort to respond to growing consumer awareness of food provenance, the fast-food chain changed its supplier of both coffee beans and milk. UK chief executive Steve Easterbrook said: "British consumers are increasingly interested in the quality, sourcing and ethics of the food and drink they buy". In a bid to tap into the ethical consumer market, McDonald's switched to using coffee beans taken from stocks that are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, a conservation group. Additionally, the company started using organic milk supplies for its hot drinks and milkshakes. According to a report published by Farmers Weekly in 2007, the quantity of milk used by McDonald's could have accounted for as much as 5% of the UK's organic milk output.
    McDonald's announced on May 22, 2008 that, in the U.S. and Canada, it would switch to using cooking oil that contains no trans fats for its french fries, and canola-based oil with corn and soy oils, for its baked items, pies and cookies, by year's end.
    With regard to acquiring chickens from suppliers who use CAK or CAS methods of slaughter, McDonald's says that it needs to see more research "to help determine whether any CAS system in current use is optimal from an animal welfare perspective."
    Environmental record
    In April 2008, McDonald's announced that 11 of its Sheffield, England restaurants have been using a biomass trial that had cut its waste and carbon footprint by half in the area. In this trial, waste from the restaurants were collected by Veolia Environmental Services and used to produce energy at a power plant. McDonald's plans to expand this project, although the lack of biomass power plants in the U.S. will prevent this plan from becoming a national standard anytime soon. In addition, in Europe, McDonald's has been recycling vegetable grease by converting it to fuel for its diesel trucks.
    Furthermore, McDonald's has been using a corn-based bioplastic to produce containers for some of its products. Although industries who use this product claim a carbon savings of 30% to 80%, a Guardian study shows otherwise. The results show that this type of plastic does not break down in landfills as efficiently as other conventional plastics. The extra energy it takes to recycle this plastic results in a higher output of greenhouse gases. Also, the plastics can contaminate waste streams, causing other recycled plastics to become unsaleable.
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized McDonald's continuous effort to reduce solid waste by designing more efficient packaging and by promoting the use of recycled-content materials. McDonald's reports that it is committed towards environmental leadership by effectively managing electric energy, by conserving natural resources through recycling and reusing materials, and by addressing water management issues within the restaurant.
    In an effort to reduce energy usage by 25% in its restaurants, McDonald's opened a prototype restaurant in Chicago in 2009 with the intention of using the model in its other restaurants throughout the world. Building on past efforts, specifically a restaurant it opened in Sweden in 2000 that was the first to intentionally incorporate green ideas, McDonald's designed the Chicago site to save energy by incorporating old and new ideas such as managing storm water, using skylights for more natural lighting and installing some partitions and tabletops made from recycled goods.
    When McDonald’s received criticism for its environmental policies in the 1970s, it began to make substantial progress towards source reductions efforts. For instance, an “average meal” in the 1970s—a Big Mac, fries, and a drink—required 46 grams of packaging; today, it requires only 25 grams, allowing a 46% reduction. In addition, McDonald’s eliminated the need for intermediate containers for cola by having a delivery system that pumps syrup directly from the delivery truck into storage containers, saving two million pounds of packaging annually.Overall, weight reductions in packaging and products, as well as the increased usage of bulk packaging ultimately decreased packaging by 24 million pounds annually. 
    Legal cases
    McDonald's has been involved in a number of lawsuits and other legal cases, most of which involved trademark disputes. The company has threatened many food businesses with legal action unless it drops the Mc or Mac from trading names. In one noteworthy case, McDonald's sued a Scottish café owner called McDonald, even though the business in question dated back over a century (Sheriff Court Glasgow and Strathkelvin, November 21, 1952). On September 8, 2009, McDonald's Malaysian operations lost a lawsuit to prevent another restaurant calling itself McCurry. McDonald's lost in an appeal to Malaysia's highest court, the Federal Court.
    It has also filed numerous defamation suits. For example, in the McLibel case, McDonald's sued two activists for distributing pamphlets attacking its environmental, labor and health records. After the longest trial in UK legal history, the judge found that some claims in the pamphlet were untrue and therefore libellous. The company, however, had asserted that all claims in the pamphlet were untrue, essentially obliging the judge to publicly rule on each one. Embarrassingly for the company, several of the specific allegations were upheld.
    McDonald's has defended itself in several cases involving workers' rights. In 2001 the company was fined £12,400 by British magistrates for illegally employing and over-working child labor in one of its London restaurants. This is thought to be one of the largest fines imposed on a company for breaking laws relating to child working conditions (R v 2002 EWCA Crim 1094). In April 2007 in Perth, Western Australia, McDonald's pleaded guilty to five charges relating to the employment of children under 15 in one of its outlets and was fined AU$8,000.
    Possibly the most infamous legal case involving McDonald's was the 1994 decision in The McDonald's Coffee Case where Stella Liebeck was awarded several million dollars after she suffered third-degree burns after spilling a scalding cup of McDonald's coffee on herself.
    In a McDonald's American Idol figurine promotion, the figurine that represents "New Wave Nigel" wears something that closely resembles Devo’s Energy Dome, which was featured on the band's album cover, Freedom of Choice. In addition to the figurine's image, it also plays a tune that appears to be an altered version of Devo's song "Doctor Detroit." Devo copyrighted and trademarked the Energy Dome and is taking legal action against McDonald's.
    McDonald's predominantly sells hamburgers, various types of chicken sandwiches and products, French fries, soft drinks, breakfast items, and desserts. In most markets, McDonald's offers salads and vegetarian items, wraps and other localized fare. On a seasonal basis, McDonald's offers the McRib sandwich. Some speculate the seasonality of the McRib adds to its appeal. Various countries, especially in Asia, are currently serving soup. This local deviation from the standard menu is a characteristic for which the chain is particularly known, and one which is employed either to abide by regional food taboos (such as the religious prohibition of beef consumption in India) or to make available foods with which the regional market is more familiar (such as the sale of McRice in Indonesia).
    The McDonald's headquarters complex, McDonald's Plaza, is located in Oak Brook, Illinois. It sits on the site of the former headquarters and stabling area of Paul Butler, the founder of Oak Brook. McDonald's moved into the Oak Brook facility from an office within the Chicago Loop in 1971.
    McDonald's has for decades maintained an extensive advertising campaign. In addition to the usual media (television, radio, and newspaper), the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, sponsors sporting events ranging from Little League to the Olympic Games, and makes coolers of orange drink with its logo available for local events of all kinds. Nonetheless, television has always played a central role in the company's advertising strategy.
    To date, McDonald's has used 23 different slogans in United States advertising, as well as a few other slogans for select countries and regions. At times, it has run into trouble with its campaigns.
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