MCDONALD'S is a household name across the world and you will be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't heard of it.

We all love a Big Mac or Happy Meal, but who founded the fast food giant and who owns it now?

Who owns McDonald's?

McDonald's has been owned by Kroc, set up by Ray Kroc, since April 1955 after he went into business with the McDonald brothers.

Kroc’s first McDonald’s location was opened in Illinois, USA, on April 15 the same year.

Soon after, Kroc founded McDonald's System, Inc., what's today known as the McDonald’s Corporation.

In 1961, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers, who founded the franchise, for $2.7million (£2million).


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Ever since, Kroc has owned the exclusive brand rights for all McDonald's locations.

Who founded McDonald's?

McDonald's was founded by the McDonald brothers, Richard (Dick) and Maurice (Mac).

At the same time as founding McDonald's, the two brothers also created the "Speedie Service System", now what we call fast food.

Who were the McDonald brothers?

Richard and Maurice McDonald were two American entrepreneurs, they founded the business.

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The idea for the restaurant came to them in 1937 after they opened a hot dog stand in California, USA, which proved a massive hit with customers.

In 1940, they decided to branch out and open a bigger hot dog stand at a different California site to entice in more people.

It proved successful and soon the McDonald brothers adapted their business to focusing on their most popular items: hamburgers, milkshakes, and French fries.

Richard McDonald died on July 14, 1998, at the age of 89, having outlived Maurice, who died aged 69 on December 11, 1971.

Who was Ray Kroc and what was his net worth?

Ray Kroc was an American businessman, who went into partnership with the McDonald brothers in 1955.

In the early 1940s, Kroc became the exclusive distributor in the United States of the “multimixer”, a blender that could simultaneously mix five milkshakes.

In 1954, he was intrigued to receive an order for eight of these multimixers from just one restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

He visited the restaurant to find the original branch of McDonald’s, being run only by the two McDonald brothers.

Impressed with what he saw, Kroc went into partnership with the McDonald brothers the following year, and was the first to suggest franchising the restaurant.

Kroc managed to open three McDonald’s restaurants in 1955, including the first franchised restaurant in Illinois.

Kroc bought the McDonald brothers out in 1961 – leading some today to believe that he ‘stole’ their enterprise from them.

Kroc died on January 14, 1984, with a net worth of $600 million – which today would be the equivalent of $1.4 billion (£1.06 million).

His story is told in the 2016 biopic film, The Founder.


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How much does a McDonald's franchise cost?

There are 38,000 McDonald's restaurants in 100 countries with the vast majority being franchise operations.

Buying into one, or building an entirely now store, is a massive emotional and financial commitment.

But opening one could lead to mouth-watering returns – between £1.5m and £4.3m a year, according to McDonald's.

To invest in a McDonald's franchise, you'll need about 25% of unencumbered funds, or roughly £100,000.

The remaining 75% can be funded by a bank, and franchisees may use banks which McDonald's has a relationship with that offer competitive rates.

For 80% of restaurants franchised in 2018, the cost of purchasing franchise rights and equipment was between £350k and £1.85m – and this was priced on profitability over a 10-year period.

On top of this, you'll need to pay a monthly 5% franchise fee on net sales and a 4.3% contribution to the company's marketing fund.

The monthly fee paid by 80% of franchises in 2018 and 2019 ranged between 12.25% and 21% of your restaurant's net sales.

Does the original McDonald's still exist?

The very first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California, in May 1940.

It does not exist anymore. It was demolished in 1972 – but part of the original famous ‘Golden Arches’ sign, introduced at the site in 1953, still exists.

An independent McDonald’s museum was opened on the San Bernardino site in 1998.

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The oldest existing McDonald’s restaurant today is a drive-up hamburger stand in Downey, California.

It was the third McDonald’s restaurant to open, on August 18, 1953.

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