10 Lesser Known Facts About McDonald's

It started as a BBQ restaurant Seventy-five years ago, in 1940, brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened up the first McDonald’s restaurant—a BBQ joint—in San Bernardino, California (it’s now a museum). Eight years later, they switched to burgers, shakes, potato chips, and pie. The McDonalds purchased several Multi-mixers for use in their establishment, and when Multi-mixer salesman Ray Kroc visited, he was impressed by their success and efficiency. Kroc purchased franchise rights from the brothers. In 1955, he opened his first franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The military inspired its first drive-through

McDonald’s first drive-through opened in 1975 in Sierra Vista, Arizona. What inspired the then-revolutionary concept? The restaurant was located near a military base, and soldiers were not allowed to leave their cars while wearing fatigues.

There are more McDonald’s restaurants than hospitals

There are almost more than one-and-half times more McDonald’s locations than hospitals in the United States: 14,350 versus 10,660

It used to own most of Chipotle

McDonald’s invested in Chipotle in 1998, back when the fast-Mexican chain consisted of 16 restaurants. By 2006, McDonald’s owned 90 percent of Chipotle—which had grown to 500 locations—but it sold its stake in order to focus on McDonald’s.

It doesn’t have the fastest drive-through

The average McDonald’s drive-through transaction took roughly three minutes, or 189.49 seconds, according to one study; the fast-food leader was Wendy’s with a 133.63-second turnaround time.

McDonald’s Coca-Cola really is different

Some discerning diners believe that the Coke served at McDonald’s tastes better than it does at other places. They may be onto something: Only at McDonald’s is the Coke syrup delivered in stainless steel tanks to preserve its freshness; elsewhere, it’s transported in plastic bags.

One location is floating around

In all the world, there is one floating McDonald’s. Known as the McBarge, it’s in Vancouver, Canada. It was built for and served food at the 1986 World’s Fair, but it is now abandoned. Perhaps it should open as a sail-through?

Queen Elizabeth II owns a McDonald’s

The Queen of England owns approximately $11 billion of real estate in the United Kingdom; among her holdings is a McDonald’s near Buckingham Palace.

The Filet-o-Fish was invented for Lent

A McDonald’s franchise owner in Monfort Heights, Ohio, noticed that residents in his highly Catholic town did not eat hamburgers or cheeseburgers during Lent so he created a meat-free alternative, the Filet-o-Fish, which swam onto menus in 1962. Today, 23 percent of all Filet-o-Fish sales are thought to occur during Lent.

Usain Bolt loves McNuggets

Jamaican runner Usain Bolt claims to have eaten around 1,000 chicken McNuggets during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where McDonald’s had an outpost in the Olympic Village. It was the lunch (or dinner) of champions: At those games, he won three gold medals and set three world records.