McDonalds’s is the largest restaurant company in the world with a market cap of more than $94B. Their brand is also one of the most pervasive around the world, with the golden arches being ubiquitous in just about every country. Here are four things from the Motley Fool you probably didn’t know about the company.
- Ronald McDonald wasn’t the first mascot. Ronald was introduced in 1963, but before he arrived, a caricature of a chef called Speedee was in charge of marketing for the company. It was discovered Alka-Seltzer had the same mascot, so McDonald’s went another way with their iconic brand.
- A Mixer Salesman transformed McDonald’s into what it is today. Though the McDonald brothers started the business, Ray Kroc a salesman at the now defunct Prince Castle Multi-Mixer company bought the company for $2.7M in 1961 after selling the company 8 mixers. Even before he purchased the company, he helped the McDonald brothers go from 34 locations in 1958 to 102 in 1959.
- The Big Mac wasn’t always synonymous with McDonalds. It was developed first in 1967 at a franchise in the Pittsburgh area. The franchisee who developed it called it the Aristocrat. Unfortunately, local residents were unable to pronounce its name and were confused by the meaning (true story) so the name had to be changed. It was sold nationally a year later under the name Big Mac. There is now a Big Mac Museum located in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, because why wouldn’t there be?
- McDonald’s has been allegedly linked to terrorism. In 1974, McDonalds was expanding around the world and was wrapped up in a controversy suggesting association with the Irish Republican Army or IRA. When the company opened its first location in the UK, it used the same employment forms it did in the U.S. On the forms, it asked if employees wanted to contribute money to an I.R.A. (Individual Retirement Account), but people thought they meant the terrorist organization. Classic miscommunication.