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McDonald's Corporation
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McDonald's Corporation

McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of fast-food restaurants. Although McDonald's did not invent the hamburger or fast food, its name has become nearly synonymous with both.

Table of contents
1 Corporate overview
2 History
3 Challenges
4 Criticism
5 Emblem for globalization
6 Nicknames
7 Food offered at most McDonald's outlets
8 See also
9 Reference
10 External links

Corporate overview

McDonald's Corporation operates more than 31,000 quick-service restaurant businesses under the McDonald's brand, in 121 countries around the world. In addition, the company operates other restaurant brands, such as Aroma Café, Boston Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Donatos Pizza and Pret A Manger. Revenues for 2001 were US$14.87 billion, with net income at $1.64 billion.

Most McDonald's offer both counter and drive-through service, with indoor and sometimes outdoor seating. Drive-throughs often have separate stations for placing, paying for, and picking up orders, though often the latter two steps are combined. In some countries "McDrive" locations, near highways, offer no counter service or seating. Locations in high-density neighborhoods, as in many downtowns, often omit drive-through service.

Specially themed restaurants also exist, such as Rock-and-Roll McDonald's, 50's themed restaurants. Many newer McDonald's in suburban areas feature large indoor or outdoor playgrounds, called McDonald's Playlands or PlayPlaces.

The McDonald's Corporation's business model is slightly different from that of most other fast-food chains. In addition to ordinary franchise fees, supplies and percentage of sales, McDonald's also collects rent, partially linked to sales. As a condition of the franchise agreement, McDonald's owns the property on which most McDonald's franchises are located. According to Harry J. Sonneborne, one of McDonald's founders:

"We are in the real estate business. The only reason we sell hamburgers is because they are the greatest producer of revenue from which our tenants can pay us rent."

McDonald's trains its franchisees and others at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Illinois.

History

Challenges

As the world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's is the target for criticism. Even though the majority interest in its foreign franchise locations are locally owned, the company is seen as a symbol of American domination of economic resources. Urban legends about the company and its food abound and it is often the target of unusual lawsuits.

Some franchises in the Middle East have been targets of arson and other acts of violence because the business represents, to the attackers, an invasion by American business and culture that they oppose based on a nationalist or Islamist ideology.

However, McDonalds has modified its products to cater for local tastes, not least in countries that have special dietary laws. In Muslim countries like Malaysia, bacon is not served in McDonalds burgers or in its breakfast menu, as pork is haram, or not permissible under Islamic dietary law. In Israel, the nature of kosher dietary laws, forbidding the mixture of meat and dairy products, means that cheeseburgers are not popular among Jewish customers; furthermore, all meat not prepared in a certain manner is considered unkosher by strict observers of the dietary laws. McDonalds has taken steps to cater to Jewish customers by opening a kosher McDonalds in Jerusalem and by offering a 'Passover Bun' for the eight-day period in which practicing Jews abstain from leavened bread. In India, the fact that Hinduism forbids the eating of beef has prompted McDonalds to look for alternatives, like lamb.

Soft drinks on offer also vary from country to country, with local brands available on tap alongside Coca Cola, Fanta, etc. For example, Irn Bru in Scotland and Guarana in Brazil are more popular in those countries than the leading international brands.

Criticism

As the world's largest fast-food company, McDonald's has been the target of criticism for allegations of exploitation of entry-level workers, ecological damage caused by agricultural production and industrial processing of its products, selling unhealthy (non-nutritious) food, production of packaging waste, exploitative advertising (especially targeted at children), and contributing to suffering and exploitation of livestock.

In the high profile McLibel Trial McDonald's took two anti-McDonald's campaigners, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, to court for a trial lasting two and a half years - the longest in English legal history. McDonald's won the case, however many of the campaigner's criticisms of the company were found to be fair, creating a great deal of bad publicity for the company. The judge's summary can be read at this external link

McDonald's has also been criticised for its litigious and heavy-handed approach to preserving its image and copyrights - in one case suing a Scottish cafe owner called McDonald for infringement of the name McDonald's, even though the business in question was a family business dating back well over a century. In South Africa, however, McDonald's had to battle against the country's trademark laws, which stated that a registered trademark had to be used within a certain period of time. This resulted in a local company announcing plans to launch its own fast food chain using the McDonalds name, although the South African High Court eventually ruled in McDonalds' favour.

In addition, the poor nutritional value of the food served was highlighted in the documentary Super Size Me in which the director, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's food for a month to see the consequences of such a diet. His health seriously declined as his body weight rose over the course of that month. Some suggest the film contributed to McDonald's decision to discontinue the super size option for its meals.

In June 2004 the UK's Private Eye reported that McDonald's was handing out meal vouchers, balloons and toys to children on paediatric wards. This was especially controversial as the report was made within weeks of a British Government report stating that the present generation may be the first to die before their parents due to spiralling obesity in the British population.

Emblem for globalization

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McDonalds has become emblematic of globalization. The Economist magazine uses the "Big Mac index" (the price of a Big Mac) as an informal measure of purchasing power parity among world currencies. Thomas Friedman suggested that no countries with McDonald's would go to war with each other, a "rule" broken by the American bombing of Serbia. It is also a target of anti-globalization protesters such as José Bové.

Nicknames

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McDonald's is also known as

Food offered at most McDonald's outlets

See also

Reference

External links