Even if you don’t partake in eating the fries, burgers, nuggets, and shakes at McDonald’s (or try really hard to avoid the greasy goodness and consequently fail each time), you’ve likely heard of the fast food joint before.
You probably know a few other things about Mickey D’s too—like the significance of their signature golden M or the background of their mascots like Ronald McDonald or the Hamburgler.
But there’s actually a lot of interesting facts about McDonald’s that you might not know—things that’ll probably make you raise an eyebrow.
Read on for 27 weird things that might surprise you about McDonald’s:
It started as a BBQ joint.
In 1940, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened up the first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California, but it was they served BBQ foods at the time. In 1948, they switched to burgers, shakes, potato chips, and pie.
Ray Kroc took it to a new level.
The McDonald brothers were looking for a new agent in 1955, so this man Ray Kroc took it as an opportunity to found McDonald’s System, Inc., the predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation. By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger. In 1961, he bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name. Brilliant man, that Ray Kroc.
The M is one of the most recognizable symbols.
Even more than you might think. A survey by Sponsorship Research International of 7,000 people in six countries revealed that 88 percent of participants were able to identify McDonald’s arches, but only 54 percent could identify the Christian cross. Err.
The arches are usually yellow, except…
The McDonald’s on the Champs-Elysees in Paris has a white M to blend in with the lighting of the posh shops on the strip. And in Sedona, Arizona, there’s a location with turquoise arches in order to keep with a desert-y feel.
There’s a Big Mac Museum.
It’s located in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where you can find crazy things such as a 14-foot-tall Big Mac, a Big Mac toaster, and assorted awards such as, “A Long And Tasteful Partnership: Coca-Cola and Big Mac.” Um, we’re definitely visiting next time we’re in Pennsylvania.
The burgers might be healthier than the salads.
For instance, the premium southwest salad with buttermilk crispy chicken packs more calories and fat than the BBQ ranch burger.
There’s an even bigger restaurant chain in America . . .
I know it’s hard to believe, but a common misconception is that McDonald’s the largest restaurant chain in the U.S. But it’s not. It’s Subway! Subway has almost 45,000 locations worldwide, and McDonald’s only has about 36,000.
…but it’s still the most frequented chain in America . . .
Almost half of the entire country eats McDonald’s each month, according to 24/7 Wall Street, taking first place on the most visited restaurant in the U.S.
…and the second most popular store.
McDonald’s comes second in popularity only to Walmart.
They don’t sell their veggie burger in America.
True that McDonald’s isn’t really known for being healthy, but a few years ago, there were 87,000 people who petitioned for the restaurant to add a veggie burger to their menu, and they didn’t’ oblige. They do sell veggie burgers in India though, just not the U.S. yet. So better start planning your trip to India if you want one.
Breakfast is served 24/7.
Despite movies always showing people racing to McDonald’s before 10:30 a.m. to get their McGriddle fix (Big Daddy anyone?), breakfast is actually served all day, every day.The breakfast-until-10:30 stopped in 2015. That means you can have McMuffins, hotcakes and sausage, and fruit and maple oatmeal for dinner (or should we say brinner?) if you really want to.
The food isn’t actually made of pink goop.
We’re sure you’ve seen that viral photo that circled the internet a few years ago of McDoanld’s adding gross-looking pink mechanically separated chicken, but they’ve actually served all white meat chicken in their nuggets since 2003.
There’s one ski-thru location.
And it’s located in the Lindvallen resort area in Sweden.
McDonald’s is the world’s largest toy distributor.
They give away around 1.5 billion toys each year with their Happy Meals.
Japan pronounces the mascot differently.
In Japan, Ronald McDonald is known as Donald McDonald, due to the lack of a clear “R” sound in the Japanese language.
The famous jingle was recorded by an unexpected singer.
The “I’m Lovin’ It” song that gets stuck in everyone’s head was recorded by Justin Timberlake, and produced by The Neptunes. It’s also credited as being written by Pharrell Williams, Tom Batoy, Andreas Forberger and Franco Tortora.
They serve this many burgers a second.
About 75! The McDonald’s Operations and Training Manual states the restaurant sells “more than 75 hamburgers per second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of the year.”
Donald Trump is a frequent customer.
That’s right, the president of the United States sometimes asks some of the chefs at the White House to recreate some of their burgers, like the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese.
You can get a Big Mac cheaper than its retail price.
Here’s a Big Mac hack for ya: Order a McDouble with no ketchup or mustard, just Mac Sauce and lettuce—and boom, you’ve got a Big Mac (minus the middle bun) for a little over a dollar, versus the $4-$5 you’d pay for an actual Big Mac. Who needs that middle piece of bread anyway? #EmptyCarbs
Hamburger University exists.
While it isn’t a place you chow down on burgers all day (we wish), it does help current McDonald’s employees advance their careers. Located at McDonald’s Corporate Offices in Illinois, Hamburger University offers staff the opportunity to train in management, mid-management, executive duties, and more. Today, more than 80,000 people have graduated from HU.
There are a select few locations with PlayPlaces.
There are only about 73 McDonald’s in the country that offer an indoor or outdoor PlayPlace (AKA a playground for kids 3-12). These have ball pits, slides, game, and more—great for a kid’s birthday party, if you can find one near you.
There’s no rib in the McRib.
It’s actually just pork shoulder meat pressed into a mold to create the rib-like shape. Yum.
The best-selling menu item goes to…
French fries! That wasn’t too surprising—who goes into McDonald’s without adding a pouch of these salty, greasy, delicious sticks to their order?
And the worst was…
The Hula burger. In 1962, Ray Kroc added a grilled piece of pineapple with a slice of cheese in a bun as a meatless option for Catholics on Lent. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long.
The unhealthiest item is the 40-piece nuggets.
They come in at 1,880 calories, which is more than many adults should consume in a single day. I mean, it is 40 pieces of fried food, so…
The healthiest item is the Happy Meal.
That’s really because the food is portioned smaller. Another good option if you’re watching your weight is the Southwest Salad with grilled chicken, coming in at 350 calories, 27 grams of protein, and six grams of fiber. And a nutritious breakfast option is their Egg White Delight McMuffin for only 260 calories.
Someone paid 20K for the special sauce.
Only 200 500-ml bottles of McDonald’s Big Mac Special Sauce was produced in the world—and one was sold on eBay in Australia for $20,600 in Australian dollars (around $16,144 U.S.). The profits went to Ronald McDonald House Charities—thank goodness!