McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948 they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand using production line principles. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955. He subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers and oversaw its worldwide growth.
A McDonald's restaurant is operated by either a franchisee, an affiliate, or the corporation itself. The corporation's revenues come from the rent, royalties and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. McDonald's revenues grew 27 percent over the three years ending in 2007 to $22.8 billion, and 9 percent growth in operating income to $3.9 billion.
McDonald's primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, wraps, smoothies and fruit.
The first McDonald's in the UK opened in 1974. – less