Photo: Dan Perry/Flickr
But, still, it’s an American institution. It was a groundbreaking restaurant that that changed the way Americans eat food and the food industry for better or worse. And for many, going to the Golden Arches brings back memories of road trips, weeknight family dinners, or hanging with your friends after school.
In honor of the burger chain’s 75th birthday, here are some facts you may not know about the fast-food forefather:
— When the McDonald’s brothers started their food stand in California in 1937, they initially sold hot dogs, not hamburgers.
— When it eventually opened as a restaurant in San Bernadino, Calif., in 1940, it was called McDonald’s BBQ.
— In 1948, it shut down for a few months and reopened as the McDonald’s we know today: It sold hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soft drinks, coffee, potato chips, and a slice of pie. A year later, they started selling french fries and milkshakes.
— It sells more than 75 hamburgers every second.
— The most popular item sold, worldwide, is the Happy Meal. It accounts for 20 percent of all sales.
— The eponymous golden arches were designed by an architect named Stanley Meston in 1953.
— McDonald’s started its Hamburger University in Elk Grove Village, Ill., in 1961. The first graduating glass, who were given a bachelor of hamburgerology degree, had 15 students. Now more than 7,500 students graduate each year.
— The restaurant didn’t offer indoor seating until 1962.
— Ronald McDonald made his first TV appearance in a 1966 commercial. His friends — the Hamburglar, Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Captain Crook and the Big Mac join him in 1971.
— The first person to portray Ronald McDonald was Willard Scott.
— The Egg McMuffin wasn’t added to the menu until 1975. (See how it fares compared to its other fast food competitors).
— McDonald’s is banned in Bermuda, Macedonia and Montenegro, among other places.
— The fast food chain serves 47 million people each day around the globe.
— Fast Food Nation estimates the chain hires 1 million workers in the U.S. every year.
— The average Big Mac bun has 198 sesame seeds on it.
— Famous people who have worked at McDonald’s include James Franco (who wrote about the experience recently). He revealed that workers often eat french fries right from the hopper and that cheeseburgers are only allowed to sit under the heat lamp for 7 minutes before they’re thrown away.
— Franco is not the only celeb to work at the golden arches! He’s joined by Shania Twain, Jay Leno, Rachel McAdams, Sharon Stone, and Pink.