The answer to this question depends on who you ask. The business began in 1940 in San Bernardino, California with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. However, the present corporation of McDonald’s dates its founding to 1955 when businessman Ray Kroc purchased the rights to the small hamburger chain run by the McDonald brothers. The first franchised McDonald’s opened in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15th, 1955. It was actually the 9th McDonald’s restaurant overall.
Control over the business caused much feuding between the McDonald brothers and Kroc. Kroc later purchased the brothers’ equity in the company compelling them to leave the fast food industry. However, the site of the original McDonald brothers’ restaurant is now a monument.
McDonald’s original mascot was a man named “Speedee” with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger shaped head. Speedee was replaced with Ronald McDonald by 1967. McDonald’s first filed for a U.S. trademark on the name McDonald’s on May 4, 1961 with the description “Drive-In Restaurant Services.” The company filed for the famous double arching “M” trademark on November 18, 1968. McDonald’s was first listed on the public stock market in 1965.
McDonald’s is now one of the world’s largest chains of hamburger fast food restaurants. It serves over 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. The company’s prominence has now made it a frequent topic of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics, and consumer responsibility.