5 Startling Things About McDonald's Corporation

Everybody knows McDonald's, but even the most ardent fan will find some surprises behind the Golden Arches. Here are five McDonald's facts you probably didn't know.

May 19, 2014 at 2:00PM

Everybody knows the basics about McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). The fast-food giant sports a $101 billion market cap and $28 billion in annual sales. The company has been a Dow Jones (DJINDICES:^DJI) component since 1985. The stock has absolutely trounced its Dow peers since joining the index. The painted face of corporate mascot Ronald McDonald has either comforted or terrified billions of children across the globe, being one of the most recognizable characters in the history of everything.

MCD Chart

MCD data by YCharts

That being said, some Mickey D facts are not so well known. Here's a handful of the most striking, surprising, or even shocking McDonald's morsels you probably never consumed before.

  • McDonalds is beyond huge, with 35,000 locations in over 100 countries. It's nearly twice the size of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), and collects more than three times the coffee chain's annual revenue. The company is as ubiquitous as oxygen and running water. But here's the potential shocker: McDonald's is not the undisputed king of fast food. That honor goes to privately held Subway, which sports 41,300 global sandwich shops. And the gap is only growing: Subway added 2,700 new locations in 2013, compared to McDonald's 949 new restaurants. For those keeping score at home, Starbucks expanded by 1,701 locations.

  • You may have heard rumors of McDonald's using icky not-quite-meat ingredients in its burgers and McNuggets. These claims pop up once in a while and are, for the most part, outright hoaxes. The company promises that its nuggets are made from perfectly normal white-meat chicken breast; alternative protein sources may be the future, but worm meat is still more expensive than high-volume orders of USDA-inspected beef. The exception? McDonald's did use ammonia-treated beef filler, popularly known as "pink slime," until 2011.

  • In 1996, a widely quoted study said that more than 12% of all Americans had, at some point, worked at McDonald's. That figure has surely increased over the last 18 years: Annual employee turnover is above 100% system-wide (including workers in franchisee locations), and the global workforce has also more than tripled since 1996.

  • Mcd

    Welcome to McDonald's -- unless you're a reporter with question for the 2014 shareholder meeting.

    Here's the latest and, to my mind, the largest McDonald's puzzler. The company will hold its annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday. The most controversial item on the meeting's agenda is a bog-standard shareholder request to let stockowners take action by written consent. Passing this proposal would strengthen McDonalds' corporate governance. Pass or fail, nothing on this proxy card seems likely to seriously affect the stock's value in the long or short term.

    Yet McDonald's has decided to lock media coverage out of the meeting. According to company spokespeople, reporters aren't welcome because they haven't shown enough interest in the meeting -- and besides, limiting the press to the same view-only webcast as everybody else will "level the playing field" for media outlets outside Chicago. Travel budgets ain't what they used to be, you know.

    Analysts disagree, arguing that the company is trying to control its brand message by limiting press coverage of this shareholder event. Hat tip to Business Insider for spilling these beans at the last minute, or you might never have heard this news at all.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
McDonald's offers a juicy 3.1% dividend yield right now. That's enough to make many income investors forgive all of Mickey D's sins real or imagined and start drooling uncontrollably. The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends McDonald's and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers