The McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948 they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand using production line principles. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955. He subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers and oversaw its worldwide growth.
▲▼ MacDonald's in Groningen
A McDonald's restaurant is operated by either a franchisee, an affiliate, or the corporation itself. McDonald's Corporation revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. In 2012, McDonald's Corporation had annual revenues of $27.5 billion, and profits of $5.5 billion.
McDonald's primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, fish, wraps, smoothies, and fruit.
Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was an American businessman. He joined McDonald's in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. In 1961 Ray Kroc bought all rights to the McDonald's concept from the McDonald's brothers for $2.7 million. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and amassed a fortune during his lifetime. He owned the San Diego Padres baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984. Similar to another fast-food giant, KFC founder Harland Sanders, Kroc's success came late in life when he was past his 50th birthday.