McDonald’s is arguably the most well-known fast food chain in the world. The company was founded in California, United States, in 1940 when brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened their first barbeque restaurant. The restaurant was transformed eight years later by a production line system that rolled out burgers in a quick-service style similar to the one we know today. Since then, the famous golden arches of McDonald’s have become a familiar spectacle in towns and cities all over the globe. In 2016, the chain not only had 14,155 restaurants in the United States, but a further 22,744 in international locations.
McDonald’s is the largest fast food chain worldwide in terms of both revenue and brand value. In 2016, the company had a brand value exceeding 88 billion U.S. dollars – more than double its closest competitor, Starbucks. McDonald’s is so globalized that the Big Mac index, a scale that measures the Purchasing Power Parity between countries using the price of a Big Mac burger, is now a standard global indicator. Regardless of the price, Big Macs purchased all over the world contributed to McDonald’s 24.62 billion U.S. dollar revenue in 2016.
As with the global fast food arena, McDonald’s is a big player in the United States fast food industry – an industry which was forecasted to generate 223.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. In 2015, McDonald’s accounted for almost one fifth of the market. According to a national survey by market research company Nielsen Scarborough, more than 106.5 million Americans had visited a McDonald’s restaurant in the past month as of spring 2016.
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