McDonald's has become the best-known fast food brand in the world. It has 30,000 restaurants in 120 countries, and for many has come to symbolize the hopes and the fears of the Americanization of global culture. McDonald's revolutionized the food industry, affecting the lives both of the people who produce food and the people who eat it. .
It all began quite humbly nearly fifty years ago when a salesman got excited by his visit to a California burger bar. Ray Kroc was 52 years old, and he had been selling paper cups, and then milk-shake mixers, for over 30 years. In San Bernardino, California in 1954, he saw the McDonald brothers" hamburger restaurant selling tasty food to big queues, and he had a vision of its endless possibilities. He struck a deal with the McDonald brothers to buy locations and franchise their restaurants all over the country, guaranteeing uniform quality, service, cleanliness and value. The first McDonald's opened in Des Plaines, Illinois in June 1955. In five years there were 200 restaurants. After ten years the company went public, and the share price doubled to $50.00 in the first month. By 1995 there were over 18,000 restaurants worldwide. In 1996, McDonalds signed a ten year global marketing agreement with the Walt Disney Company to promote and help each other. Xerox took 63 years to make its first billion dollars; IBM took 46 years. But the McDonald's Corporation managed to surpass one billion dollars in total revenue in just 22 years. The perfectionist Ray Kroc was the driving force behind it. .
The largest fast food corporation in the world now has over 30,000 franchise outlets in 121 countries, and serves about 46 million people a day. It has become a symbol of the American way of life. The largest McDonald's in the world opened in 1992 in Beijing, and there are over 400 McDonald's in China. It was once suggested by a journalist, who called it "the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention", that no two countries with branches of McDonalds had gone to war.