Have you ever eaten a Big Mac? If you have been to a McDonald's, then the answer is probably yes. McDonald's was the very first fast-food restaurant chain, and it is still one of the largest ones on the planet. A chain is a group of restaurants that do almost everything the same way. They use the same name, serve mostly the same food, and maintain the same level of quality control.
Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald's in California in 1940. Around 1948, the brothers started using new techniques to cook their food. These techniques helped to increase speed and efficiency in the restaurant. Eventually, they began to call their product "fast food." In 1961, an Illinois businessman named Ray Kroc bought the company from the brothers and began to open several new franchise locations. A franchise is a store, restaurant, or other business that is granted the license by a company to operate in a specific territory and use that company's name and business techniques.
McDonald's now has over 37,000 franchised restaurants in 120 countries. These franchises employ over 1.9 million people around the world, and they serve almost 69 million customers each day. McDonald's is seen as a symbol of the American lifestyle, and some people believe that the international spread of McDonald's represents a triumph of American values.
Despite all this success, there are some people who don't like to eat at McDonald's. These critics say that eating too much fast food is very unhealthy. Many doctors agree, and studies have found that too much fast food can lead to obesity. Maybe that's why more and more people are too large to fit into airplane seats. McDonald's is also aware of this problem. In response, many of their restaurants have begun to introduce healthy choices, like salads.