MC Donalds

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McDonald's Corporation

legal form Corporation
ISIN US5801351017
founding May 15, 1940
Seat Oak Brook , Illinois ,
United States
management Chris Kempczinski
( President and CEO )
Number of employees 205,000 (end of 2019)
sales 21,070,000,000 US dollars (2019)
Branch Quick service system catering

McDonald's logo on a pylon

The McDonald's Corporation is an American operator and franchisor of the world represented fast food restaurants and the top-selling fast food Corporation the world.

With sales of US $ 20.8 billion and a profit of US $ 5.8 billion, McDonald's is the 20th largest company in the world according to Forbes Global 2000 (as of 2020). The company had a market capitalization of approximately $ 139.5 billion in mid-2020 .



The McDonald's restaurant at 10207 Lakewood Blvd., Downey, California has been open since 1953 and is the oldest operating McDonald's restaurant.
33 ° 56 '50.9 "  N , 118 ° 7' 4.3"  W.

The first McDonald's restaurant (internally called “store (s)”) was opened on May 15, 1940 by the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald (“Dick & Mac McDonald - McDonald's Bar-BQ”) in San Bernardino , California . The restaurant became famous after 1948 when the brothers introduced an innovative and rational way of preparing hamburgers - the Speedee System - and switched to self-service . Neil Fox became the brothers' first franchisee in 1953 . For the first time, the "Golden Arches" (German "golden arches") adorned his restaurant in Phoenix (Arizona) . In 1954, the milkshake mixer salesman Ray Kroc approached the McDonald brothers with a proposal to open more McDonald's restaurants because he was impressed with the efficiency of the restaurant. He tried to get Walt Disney , his comrade from the war days, to allow him to open a McDonald's fast food restaurant in Disneyland, which was then under construction . When Disney declined, Kroc opened his first own restaurant in Des Plaines . Kroc recruited the first franchisees mainly from his close circle of friends and acquaintances. Due to the unsuitability of some of them and conceptual flaws such as B. pledges to protect the area , the now rapidly expanding company almost threatened to go under; Today the group tries to ignore this critical period in its publications as far as possible.

The success of Krocs is based on several factors: on the one hand on a sophisticated system of co-determination rights of the franchisees in strategically important decisions, especially in planned campaigns at restaurant level, on the other hand on the development of a lucrative real estate marketing concept. A Krocs employee originally responsible for real estate development, Harry Sonneborn, had developed the concept of inseparably linking the hamburger and real estate business by first attempting to acquire the land on which its branches were to be built and then excluding the franchisees In addition to the actual franchise fee, they also had to pay turnover-dependent leases (which made McDonald's - little noticed - at the same time one of the world's largest real estate companies).

Strategic partnerships with other large corporations secured the “Hamburg sales” that are important for this development. Examples are the cooperation with the Coca-Cola Company and the close relationship between McDonald's and Disney. The latter is evident, for example, in the regular collaborations, such as B. film-related additions to the HappyMeals and corresponding advertising material in the branches.

Logo from 1968 to 2006

The contract with the McDonald brothers stipulated that Kroc would be responsible for the expansion of the chain , while the brothers retained control of production and shared in the profits. In 1961, Kroc became increasingly dissatisfied with this constellation . After some negotiations, the now wealthy McDonald brothers agreed to sell the rights to the McDonald's brand to Ray Kroc for $ 2.7 million. Kroc had borrowed the money for this from several investors , including an investment portfolio in which Princeton University and several other elite American universities were involved. The contract allowed the brothers to continue to call their restaurant The Big M. It stayed open until Kroc dislodged the brothers by opening a McDonald's eatery just across the street. If the brothers had kept the original contract that guaranteed them 0.5% of the chain's annual revenue, they would now receive nearly $ 180 million a year. Kroc's company was originally called McDonald's Systems Inc. and was renamed McDonald's Corporation in 1960 . In 1977, Kroc wrote his autobiography Grinding It Out .

International expansion

Restaurants worldwide
Branch in Saint Petersburg
McDonald's Hemer branch in a new green color scheme
Kosher McDonald's restaurant in Buenos Aires on the Sabbath (therefore closed)
Interior of a McDonald's in the Netherlands

Since 1967, McDonald's has also opened restaurants outside of the United States (for the first time in Canada and Puerto Rico ). The first McDonald's branch in Europe opened in Amsterdam in 1971 . In contrast to the USA, where McDonald's is seen by many as the epitome of cheap and unhealthy food, McDonald's food is a status symbol in other parts of the world, for example in the People's Republic of China . McDonald's opened the 100th restaurant in Shanghai. In the US, 50% of residents live less than a three-minute drive from the nearest McDonald's. In Germany there is an average location every 16 km. According to its own information, the company was active in around 120 countries towards the end of the 1990s. Since then, the Group has withdrawn from some regions due to difficult economic conditions. The IPO of his Japanese subsidiary fell short of analysts' expectations.

In Latin America, the franchisee Arcos Dorados operates 2100 restaurants in 20 countries. The group, which was founded in 2007, was able to increase sales by 26% to USD 3.5 billion by 2008 and again achieve USD 3.3 billion in 2017.

McDonald's has been represented in Israel since 1993 and has opened restaurants there, some of which comply with the kosher rules. Since 1999, in the Abasto - shopping mall in Buenos Aires ( Argentina a kosher restaurant). All restaurants that offer kosher food are closed on the Sabbath . In 1963, a place in a Catholic neighborhood in Cincinnati , Ohio , offered the FishMac for the first time because it didn't eat meat on Fridays. Similarly, in Islamic countries there are halāl (i.e. McDonald's which are laid out according to Islamic food regulations) and in Hindu India there are no beef dishes, instead poultry burgers and the lamb-based “McMaharajah”. In 1992 the first Moroccan McDonald's restaurant opened on the fashionable Corniche of Casablanca , not far from the newly built Hassan II Mosque . In the fasting month of Ramadan , McDonald's in Morocco offers a typical menu with harira and dates. Today there are 28 branches in Morocco, 50% of the products come from local suppliers. McDonald's is the main sponsor of the Moroccan SOS Children's Villages .


From 1991 until his death on April 19, 2004, Jim Cantalupo was the head of the world's largest restaurant group. His successor at McDonald's, CEO Charlie Bell , resigned from his post on November 23, 2004 because of colon cancer. The new CEO was 60-year-old Jim Skinner . President and new CEO became the head of US operations, Mike Roberts. Under the leadership of Cantalupo and Bell, the fast food chain was able to increase its sales significantly. New menus with salads and new breakfast options were given as the reason. During this time the German Gerd Raupeter, the Dutch Adrian Hendrix (2003) and the Serbian Bane Knezevic (July 2005) alternated in quick succession as CEOs. Bane Knezevic, who previously worked in Austria, has since been responsible as President Western Division not only for Germany but also for Austria and the Central and Eastern European countries of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia. This continued the trend of creating supranational administrative associations within Europe in order to use synergies on the one hand and to reduce national competencies on the other. In October 2013, Knezevic was replaced as head of Germany by Holger Beeck, who joined the group as a management trainee in 1984, after the first drop in sales in Germany.

McDonald's Europe has been divided into three divisions (south, north, west) and the Eastern Europe region since mid-2005. The French Denis Hennequin has been President McDonald's Europe since July 1, 2005, responsible for operations in 51 countries, after serving as President and Managing Director of McDonald's France from 1996-2004. In 2004, Hennequin was named Executive Vice President of McDonald's Europe and in this role worked closely with Russ Smyth, President of McDonald's Europe, until he left the company.

The Austrian subsidiary of the group has been subordinate to the “West Region” in Munich since 2005, after previously being subordinate to the “Central Europe headquarters” at Schwechat Airport. From there, Central Europe boss Andreas Hacker opened around 1,400 branches in Eastern Europe. In the fourth quarter of 2005, Andreas Hacker left the company with the comment that the "fun factor" had been increasingly lost.

At the beginning of March 2006, the "Managing Director" of McDonald's Austria, Harald Sükar, announced his retirement from the executive chair of the Group's Austrian subsidiary. The Briton David Newman, born in 1958 and has been with the fast food group since 1986, became the new Austrian boss. Before that, he was responsible for the McDonald's subsidiaries in eleven Central and Eastern European countries.

On November 23, 2009, McDonald's announced that at least in Europe it would change its corporate color. The yellow logo will be retained, but the background will in future be green instead of red. As the first branch in Germany with a new color scheme, a restaurant opened at Munich Airport on November 21, 2009 . The new color scheme will initially only be used for new openings, but will later be extended to existing establishments. A color change also took place in Austria, which was completed at the end of 2009. In Switzerland, the brand's first restaurant with a new color scheme opened in December 2009 in Kölliken ( canton Aargau ). The new color scheme is already widespread in France, and the McDonald's France website has also been adapted to the new color scheme.

CEO Jim Skinner announced on March 22, 2012, to retire from the group after 41 years. His successor was the previous US CEO and Don Thompson , who has been with the group for over 25 years , and his replacement was announced in March 2015. A decline in sales and image problems would be the reason why the Board of Directors elected Steve Easterbrook as the successor. In 2014, the prices of the products were raised, and the eating habits of customers had changed. In November 2019, Steve Easterbrook had to vacate his position as CEO and President due to an internal love affair , successor was Chris Kempczinski , who was previously responsible for McDonald's USA.

In March 2015, as part of an offensive against customer loss, a table service was promised for branches that are important to the company and the range of products on offer was expanded in the higher-quality area. The German head office announced that it had hired another advertising agency.

Since May 2015, the company is testing as an image measure the use of spinach and kale in its products in nine branches in southern California .

In March 2020, many branches had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic as numerous governments have banned restaurants from opening.


"Mak Drayv" (McDrive) in Baku ( Azerbaijan )
One of the typical products from McDonald's: the Big Mac

McDonald's is a system catering company and currently operates restaurants in 120 countries. Of the 36,899 restaurants (as of the end of 2016), 31,230 are operated by franchisees and 5,699 by McDonald's as their own restaurants. 1.8 million people are employed by McDonald's Corporation or one of its franchisees around the world, around 60,000 of them in Germany. The company was originally founded in 1940 by the brothers Richard and Maurice ("Dick & Mac") McDonald. The foundations of the corporate concept were laid by sales representative Ray Kroc , who later bought the restaurant concept from the brothers and developed it into the restaurant concept with the highest international sales. Through the franchise structure, in which each restaurant is an independent company that employs its employees, the group protects itself against violations of labor law, which are attributed to the respective restaurant operator. At the end of July 2014, the US National Labor Relations Board decided that in future the licensor McDonald's Corporation would be treated as a joint employer together with the respective restaurant operator . Violations of labor law, including the unlawful prevention of union activity, can result in fines and restrictions on McDonald's Corporation. The company announced that it would defend itself against the decision. If the decision is upheld in court, it would have major consequences for the structure of McDonald's and all other franchise-based companies in the USA.

The group receives its income primarily from fixed or percentage monthly rents, which are based on net sales. Harry J. Sonneborne, one of the founders of McDonald's, said the following one day: “We are actually a real estate company. The only reason we sell hamburgers is because they make the most profit that our restaurant owners can use to pay us rent ”. If you calculate the real estate rent per square meter, you will also come across higher prices in the “provinces” than in the Frankfurt banking district. The group itself emphasizes in this context that it is about lease income, since in addition to the actual property, it also provides the special kitchen technology and above all the business concept, the brand and the advertising controlled by the franchisor. In Germany, some licensees had sued the company in the past because of the high rents.

International business figures
year Sales
in billion US dollars
in billions of dollars
Number of
2000 14,172 1,977 28,603
2001 14.738 1.637 29,916
2002 15,201 0.893 30,876
2003 16.825 1.471 30,824
2004 18,594 2.279 31,152
2005 19.832 2.602 31,397
2006 21,586 3.544 31,667
2007 22.787 2,395 31,377
2008 23,522 4,313 31,967
2009 22.745 4,551 32,478
2010 24.075 4,946 32,737
2011 27.006 5.503 33,510
2012 27,567 5.464 34,480
2013 28.105 5,585 35,429
2014 27,441 4.757 36,258
2015 25,413 4,529 36,525
2016 24.622 4.687 36,899
2017 22.820 5.192 37.241
2018 21.025 5.924 37,855
2019 21,077 6.025 38,695


In Europe, the group is represented in 39 countries with more than 7,300 restaurants. It employs 415,000 people serving 14.5 million customers every day. Sales in 2011 were approximately $ 10.9 billion and operating profit was $ 3.2 billion.

Top 15 countries by number of McDonald's restaurants (as of December 2018)
rank country Number of restaurants
1 United StatesUnited States United States 13,914  
2 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 3.002  
3 JapanJapan Japan 2,899  
4th GermanyGermany Germany 1,489  
5 CanadaCanada Canada 1,472  
6th FranceFrance France 1,463  
7th United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1,292  
8th AustraliaAustralia Australia 982  
9 BrazilBrazil Brazil 968  
10 RussiaRussia Russia 682  
11 PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 620  
12 ItalyItaly Italy 578  
13 SpainSpain Spain 515  
14th PolandPoland Poland 421  
15th Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 415  
total approx. 37,000


In Belgium , the first McDonald's restaurant opened in 1978 opposite the Brussels Stock Exchange. Today there are 63 Belgian restaurants with 2,750 employees, which in 2008 generated a turnover of 110 million euros.


McDonald's Germany LLC
legal form Limited Liability Company
founding 1971
Seat Munich , BavariaBavariaBavaria 
management Holger Beeck (chairman)
Number of employees 58,000 (2018)
sales 3.247 billion euros (2012)
Branch Quick service system catering
As of March 22, 2018

The first McDonald's restaurant opened on December 4, 1971 in Munich

The McDonald's Germany GmbH started in September 1971. Already on December 4, 1971 the first German store opened in the Martin-Luther-Strasse in Munich in the district Obergiesing , it is still in operation today. The first branch in the new federal states was opened on December 21, 1990 in Plauen , Saxony . The German branch with the highest turnover is located at Munich's Stachus . The largest McDonald's branch in Germany has been located at Frankfurt Airport in Terminal 2 since April 1, 2015 ; the McCafe there is the largest in Europe.

In Germany, the company operates as McDonald's Germany LLC, a company under the laws of the US state of Delaware . Most of the restaurants run by franchisees , however, are German GmbH . Since the mid-1990s, more and more locations have been handed over to franchisees. Breakfast has been available since April 1994. Hochland has been the official partner and cheese supplier of McDonald's Germany since 1973 . OSI is the only supplier of meat products for McDonald's Germany.

The German headquarters are now in Munich . In addition to this so-called main service center (HSC), there are three other regional service centers (RSC) in Munich, Offenbach am Main and Berlin . The former regional service centers in Hamburg and Düsseldorf were converted into subordinate regional offices (RS) following regional reforms. The test kitchen in which McDonald's Europe tests and develops products is located in Frankfurt-Niederrad . At the company's headquarters in Oak Brook , Illinois , McDonald's runs a training facility for selected employees, known as the Hamburg University . Like its German counterpart, this in-house training institution only awards internally recognized degrees, i.e. no generally recognized university degrees.

Some cities and property owners with strict design statutes and requirements have created McDonald's branches with special logos and designs. The former branch on Arnulfsplatz in Regensburg was housed in a historic, former tavern and was called "Zum Goldenen M", while the branch in Rothenburg ob der Tauber had a golden M emblazoned on a wrought iron nose shield . Both branches are now closed.

In Germany, the first worldwide slogan campaign “i'm lovin 'it”, which has been running since 2003, uses the German-language variant “I love it”. The English version is used in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The most popular products in Germany are the cheeseburger, followed by the chicken burger and the Big Mac. From February 14, 2013 to April 24, 2013, McDonald's Germany offered currywurst for the first time (already withdrawn from the offer). In 2013, annual sales in Germany fell by a few percent for the first time. In October, the company changed its long-time boss in Germany. One of McDonald's new competitors in Germany is called Hans im Glück . At the end of April 2019, McDonald's launched the Big Vegan TS with an imitation meat from Nestlé .

In the area of mobile commerce , Mobile Order & Pay was launched in February 2018 . The service was offered in around 980 German branches in May 2019.

McDonald's is a member of the Employers' Association of the Federal Association of System Catering (BdS). The collective bargaining agreement concluded with the food-gourmet restaurant union and the collective wage and salary agreement are implemented in all McDonald's branches in Germany. Was 2015 McDonald's of the largest US employers in Germany (including franchises), but was in terms of sales with around 3 billion euros in 15th place this ranking .

Business figures Germany
year Sales
in billions of euros
Number of
(Ø number of locations
/ franchisees)
Number of
(including satellites )
Number of
(approx. / Annual mean )
Number of
guests (in millions)
Number of
2000 1,091 (21) 50,000
2001 1,152 (32) 47,000
2002 2.28 263 ("Two or more") 1,211 (62) 47,000 715.0 788
2003 2.27 272 (3.2) 1,244 (90) 47,000 740.8 920
2004 2.30 271 (3.3) 1,262 (107) 47,000 751.8 1,432
2005 2.42 268 (3.4) 1,264 49,000 848.0 1,669
2006 2.57 265 (3.5) 1,276 52,000 891.0 1,949
2007 2.69 268 (3.5) 1,302 55,000 926.9 2,028
2008 2.83 258 (4.0) 1,333 58,000 941.7 2,398
2009 2.91 259 (4.3) 1,361 60,000 973.0 2,208
2010 3.02 251 (4.5) 1,386 (174) 62,000 981.9 2,099
2011 3.20 247 (4.7) 1,415 64,000 1,008.0 2.131
2012 3.25 243 (4.8) 1,440 64,265 2.140
2016 3.13 1,470
2017 3.25 1,480


Plaque commemorating the opening of the Les Halles shopping center in Strasbourg

In France , the brand's first restaurant opened on June 30, 1972 in Créteil . After disputes with the French general franchisee Raymond Dayan, McDonald's France withdrew its license after a few years and even opened a restaurant in Strasbourg on September 17, 1979 , which McDonald's France now regards as the first French branch. In 2011, the company said it had 63,000 employees and served around 1.7 million guests per day in 1,226 restaurants. In 2010 it generated sales of 3.9 billion euros.


In Greece , the first store opened on November 12, 1991 in Syntagma Square in central Athens . There are currently around 29 Greek restaurants of the brand with 1,200 employees. The branches are located in metropolitan areas as well as on numerous islands. In Greece, McDonald's is in particular competition with the national fast-food chain Goody’s .


Branch in Viterbo, Italy

In Italy , the first branch was opened in 1985 in the South Tyrolean capital Bozen . After ten weak years in which only 33 restaurants were opened, the economic rise began with the takeover of the Italian competitor Burghy from Cremonini , which at that time had around 80 locations. In 2004, the company had 12,000 employees in administration and around 340 branches; 180 million visitors brought the company a turnover of 527 million euros.


McDonald's in Oldenzaal , Netherlands

In August 1971, McDonald's opened its first European branch in Zaandam , the Netherlands . In 2011, 230 Dutch McDonald's restaurants with over 17,000 employees achieved sales of 627 million euros.

A specialty of the Dutch branches is the "McKroket", a burger made from a roll with meat croquettes, which are very popular in the Netherlands, and a dressing sauce. Since June 1, 2015, gluten-free burgers have also been offered in around 50 Dutch branches . With Spain and Sweden, you are one of the few countries in which this is possible.


Branch in Zell am See

The first branch in Austria opened on July 27, 1977 on the ground floor of Palais Wertheim on Schwarzenbergplatz in the inner city of Vienna. At first there were differences with the authorities, because according to the commercial custom laid down in the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus , minced beef had a fat content of 10%, but the McDonald's patties had a fat content of 17% according to the American model. This was specially signposted at the beginning. McDonald's Austria now employs around 9,500 people with 195 branches, who served around 158 million guests in 2016 and generated sales of 586 million euros.


The first branch in Russia was opened on January 31, 1990 on Pushkin Square in Moscow during the times of the Soviet Union . At the time it opened, this was the largest McDonald's restaurant in the world and, with over 20 checkouts (2006), is still the largest in Europe. In July 2012 there were 319 stores in Russia.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Counter of a McDonald's restaurant in Winterthur - Grüze

In Switzerland , the first branch was opened in Geneva in 1976 . In 2016, 7,000 employees in 165 branches served around 100 million guests in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Together with its 43 licensees, McDonald's Switzerland achieved sales of CHF 708.7 million in 2016 and bought food for more than CHF 127 million in Switzerland. This corresponds to a share of 86 percent of local ingredients. 78 percent of the restaurants in Switzerland are run by licensees. Originally, the first restaurant was to be opened on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich , but due to protests among the city population, the group initially decided in favor of Geneva. A branch in Zurich only opened three years later, and McDonald's has been operating in the canton of Ticino since 1993 . The only branch in Liechtenstein is in Triesen .

Frigemo has been the exclusive French fries supplier to McDonald's Switzerland since 1976 and Bell is responsible for the beef patties. Around 12% of the beef is imported from Austria. In 2017, 85.2 tons of bacon from Germany were consumed. This will in future be supplied by the Ospelt Group . The Cheddar cheese comes from the Allgäu .

In March 2020, all branches across Switzerland completely ceased operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic .


In Serbia (at that time still part of Yugoslavia ) the first branch was opened on March 24, 1988 on Slavija Square in Belgrade . It was also the first McDonald's restaurant in Southeast Europe . Today (as of July 2012) McDonald's operates 16 branches in Serbia. There are 11 in Belgrade. Others are active in Niš , Novi Sad and Subotica as well as at the motorway service station at Velika Plana and in the shopping center in Kragujevac . In the medium term, McDonald's plans to open additional branches in other locations. In 2009 McDonald's was one of the 300 most successful companies in the Balkans.

United Kingdom

McDonald's in Stratford-upon-Avon

In the United Kingdom , the first McDonald's restaurant opened in Woolwich , London, in October 1974 . In 2012 there were 2,600 restaurants, making the country one of the largest markets for McDonald's.


In Hungary , the first branch opened its doors in Budapest at the end of May 1988 , which at that time was also the first in the so-called Eastern Bloc . By 2010 a network of 100 branches had been established. The company employs around 5,000 people in Hungary, 50% of whom are students. The restaurant in Budapest's West Train Station was integrated into Gustave Eiffel's existing industrial design .


Due to the Arab League 's boycott of Israel, McDonald’s first branch in Israel was not opened until 1993 in Ramat Gan . McDonald's operates several kosher and non-kosher restaurants. Both types of restaurants use kosher beef. The difference in the non-kosher restaurants is that those are open on the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays and that dairy products are also offered in addition to meat. Most branches only sell special unleavened burger bread on Passover . The largest burger restaurant chain after McDonald's is Burgeranch here . Burger King withdrew from the country in 2010 and became active again in 2016. A former competitor was the Israeli chain MacDavid , which was dissolved in 2003 .


Branch types and distribution channels

Affiliated branch in Darmstadt

Conventional branches

McDonald's distinguishes between four main variants:

  • In-store : restaurants located in existing buildings in city centers, shopping centers or train stations.
  • Freestander : Restaurants in standardized new buildings built for this purpose on the outskirts or near the autobahn and on main roads. Wherever possible, these are carried out with a McDrive , i. H. an additional car counter and an advertising tower ( pylon ).
  • Satellites : very small branches without seating and with a limited range of products, always logistically linked to a larger McDonald's restaurant. The name McExpress originally used is generally no longer used in Germany.
  • Affiliated branches : very small restaurants with seating. Usually they are connected to a gas station or a motorway service station. The first branch of this kind is in Darmstadt . The product range is limited.

An additional pedestrian counter called McWalk or McStop can be found at individual branches in city centers ( in-stores ), i. H. mostly in pedestrian zones. A McWalk can be found in Hamburg ( ZOB ), in Hanover (Bahnhofstraße), in Oldenburg (Lange Straße), in Flensburg and in the Bavaria Filmpark Munich.

In Duisburg , Cologne and Frankfurt am Main there was a cooperation with C&A in the nineties , in whose department stores smaller restaurants with the name "McDonald's Express" and a limited product range opened.

The world's smallest McDonald's restaurant (with an area of ​​just under 46 m²) is located in Tokyo , Japan ; the largest was the restaurant in the Olympic Park built for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The northernmost restaurant is in Murmansk , Russia , the southernmost in Invercargill , New Zealand . Nearly 400 meters below sea level on the Dead Sea coast in En Bokek , Israel , is the chain's lowest-lying restaurant. The highest McDonald's density (with a branch distance of about 400 meters) can be found in Manhattan in New York .


McDrive in Sindelfingen

The first McDrive , a drive-in of a McDonald's branch, was introduced in 1975 in the city of Sierra Vista , Arizona . In Germany, the corresponding first car track was not created until the early 1980s (in Ludwigsburg ).

The names McDrive or Drive-in do not come from the US branches, where it is called drive-thru (drive-through). The name McDrive was chosen because of the easier pronunciation for German-speaking people compared to the English " th ". The first Swiss drive-in was built in 1990 in Wil SG .


The McCafé logo

The first McCafé opened in Australia in 1993 , the first official McCafé in Germany didn't open until 2003 in Cologne . At first there were McCafés mostly at airports, train stations and in large cities, but only as “shop within a shop”, that is, they are located in a McDonald's restaurant. Previously, the largest franchisee in southern Germany, Michael Heinritzi, had already opened his own McCafé concept in his restaurant on Irschenberg (on the autobahn) in 2000. At the end of 2004, the headquarters in Munich named Braunschweig (four McCafés) and Helmstedt as test markets.

By the end of 2005, a total of 54 McCafés had opened in Germany. In the course of 2008, the 500th German McCafé branch was opened. By mid-2013, the number of German McCafés had risen to 817. At the end of 2011 there were 143 McCafé branches in Austria. By February 2012, 27 McCafés had opened in Switzerland.

In 2012 McDonald's sold bubble tea in its McCafés in Germany and Austria .

Other forms of distribution

Further attempts to open up new forms of distribution were z. B. in Switzerland and Germany the McTrain , a dining car from McDonald's for the SBB and the DB , the McPlane , an airplane with McDonald's offers, again in Switzerland the McBus and, as a private project of the then Swiss franchisee, the McHotel am Zürcher Airport . A McDonald's branch was also operated on the Stena Explorer high-speed car ferry , which operates between Holyhead in the UK and Dún Laoghaire in Ireland , but this has now been transferred to the competitor Burger King. In Osnabrück , Lower Saxony , McDonald's is also currently testing a delivery service model called McHome , based on the already established delivery service of its main competitor Burger King . In 2017 McDelivery was launched in cooperation with UberEATS and is available as of January 2019. a. available in the USA, Germany (with ), Great Britain and Switzerland.

Social relevance

The name and logo of McDonald's are among the best-known symbols in the world, the international spread of the chain and its business model gave rise to various concepts. The Big Mac Index compares the prices of the chain's internationally popular product in different countries and enables a very simply structured global comparison of purchasing power. In a theory from 1993, American sociologist George Ritzer describes McDonaldization as the application of various aspects of fast food restaurants, such as the underlying management and rationalization model, in other areas of society. As a McJob , little permanent and poorly paid jobs are called and criticized.

With reference to Richard Cobden , Thomas Friedman described the McDonald's logo as a symbol of an increasingly peaceful world, intertwined by strong trade relationships, and he pointed this out in 1999 in his humorous thesis of the golden arcs of conflict prevention . It is extremely unlikely that two states, in which the American fast food chain operates restaurants, waged war against each other. A well-known counterexample, however, is the war in Kosovo that began the same year . Naomi Klein's book No Logo , published in 2000, on the other hand, criticizes the worldwide distribution of the chain and the intensive marketing of McDonald's and other international companies, especially among young people and children, as an expression and cause of “brand madness” at the expense of local production and trade relationships.

According to Eric Schlosser, the success of McDonald's in the early days of the chain was primarily due to the fact that the restaurant was more family - friendly than classic American diners . Many diners and hamburger restaurants attracted mostly young men with loud music and attractive female waitresses. McDonald's, on the other hand, was intent on offering "morally clean" offers for the whole family in the puritanical sense. McDonald's also benefited from public and press support.

According to Schlosser's otherwise very critical book, McDonald's is now the largest private supplier of playgrounds in the United States and its logo and in-house identification figure Ronald McDonald is almost as well known among American children as Santa Claus . A charity organization of McDonald's in Germany, the Ronald McDonald House Charities - Foundation , builds and operates so-called Ronald McDonald Houses in the environment of nationally important children's hospitals to jointly accommodate families during the treatment of seriously ill children.

In the McLibel case , a long-standing libel suit in Great Britain over a leaflet critical of McDonald's, the company's business practices and dealings with critics, as well as the British libel case law, were heavily criticized. The Stella Liebeck case also became internationally known . McDonald's was fined over half a million US dollars in pain and suffering after a woman was scalded from a coffee spilled in a car. The case led to the dedication of the Stella Award, which is presented for exaggerated or curious claims for damages and court rulings.

On July 18, 1984, the 41-year-old mentally disturbed American James Huberty entered a McDonald's branch in San Ysidro , a district of San Diego , California with several firearms , killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before he was caught by the police was shot. This rampage went down in criminal history as the McDonald's massacre . The branch was demolished after the bloody event. In 1985, director Mark Gilhuis filmed the rampage under the title Bloody Wednesday . The death metal band Macabre wrote McMassacre a song about the event.

Angry farmers, led by the sheep farmer José Bové, devastated the shell of a McDonald's branch in the southern French city of Millau on August 12, 1999 . They were protesting against punitive tariffs on French products such as Roquefort cheese , which the US introduced as a "retaliatory measure" when the European Union had previously refused to import genetically modified food from the US. Bové was sentenced to three months in prison in 2000 for instigating this action.

McDonald's sells most of the children's toys worldwide through the addition of toys in its Happy Meals . The addition of these toys is said to cause the children to eat more. In November 2010, the San Francisco City Council decided that the distribution of free toys with children's meals would be banned from December 2011. McDonald's bypasses the ban by selling the toy for ten cents.

Due to the littering (English littering) through carelessly thrown away packaging waste by customers, for example in the surrounding parking lots, paths or green spaces, McDonalds has launched various initiatives such as "Anti-Littering" or "Dispose of garbage".


As the market leader, McDonald's often stands for fast food and system catering in general. The criticism mostly relates to environmental protection , quality and health aspects of food, hygiene and working conditions ( McJobs ). The following actions and reports received public attention:

Environmental degradation

The environmental protection organization Greenpeace accused McDonald's in its 2006 report "Eating up the Amazon" of being partly responsible for the decline of the Brazilian rainforest. Greenpeace sees a connection between the consumption of meat and the cultivation of soybeans on illegally cleared areas in the Amazon region . Soy meal is the most important protein-containing feed in animal fattening . That is why McDonald's was named as an example for other restaurants and supermarket chains in the study.

Further protests by Greenpeace followed, including in front of McDonald's branches. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise blocked the port of the main soy exporter Cargill in Santarem . Following the protests, McDonald's decided to work with Greenpeace. In McDonald's product policy, buying meat from the Amazon region was already excluded, so an agreement was reached on this point very quickly. Greenpeace and McDonald's put together a group of experts and visited Brazil in January 2007 to negotiate the issue. Cargill, which at first saw no urgent problem in its business policy, was convinced by the team of experts. Cargill itself helped to get the rest of the soy exporters to agree. The solution was to force the farmers to reforest their land. Otherwise their soy would not be bought.

Disregard for privacy

McDonald's requires potential franchisees to provide information on illegitimate relationships, "physical ailments" and "date and reason for the last medical examination".

Working and hygiene conditions

In 1985 , Günter Wallraff criticized the working and hygienic conditions of a McDonald's restaurant in Germany in his book Ganz unten .

In a study by the Dortmund Social Research Center , the company is accused of actively obstructing the formation of works councils at individual locations.

Jamie Oliver criticized in his TV show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" that McDonald's, Taco Bell and Burger King had treated meat products in the USA using ammonium hydroxide (ammonia dissolved in water), the boiling point of which is below that of water, to prevent salmonella and Kill E. coli bacteria. McDonald's quality manager Todd Bacon had already announced in early 2011 that this production process would be discontinued.

Genetic engineering

In 2014, McDonald's Europe-wide ended its voluntary commitment to refrain from using genetically modified feed in chicken fattening. According to calculations by Greenpeace, a chicken burger would become less than a cent more expensive if McDonald's continued to forego genetically modified feed.

Reserve antibiotics

After massive criticism, McDonald's has announced that from January 2018 in Europe it will only process chickens that have not been treated with reserve antibiotics . The aim is to prevent human resistance from developing through eating chicken meat.

Avoidance of tax payments

The Black Book Brand Companies mentioned McDonald's. The international trade union confederation PSI announced in May 2015 that McDonald's should have saved around 1.8 billion dollars between 2009 and 2013 through clever tax practices. The group is said to have directed payments to tax havens, where the company operates 42 subsidiaries - McDonald's reported 11 subsidiaries for 2014. Income from Europe often went to Luxembourg , those from Australia to Singapore and the USA in Delaware .

In November 2017, McDonald's is listed in the Paradise Papers publications .



Web links

Commons : McDonald’s  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 41 ° 50 ′ 6.1 ″  N , 87 ° 56 ′ 39.7 ″  W.