McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) is a worldwide chain of fast-food restaurants. It is headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill. and was founded in 1948.
Though known as "fast food," the industry is usually called "quick service" by those in the know.
Ray Kroc, originally a seller of milkshake machines, visited a restaurant called McDonald's, operated by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, which had purchased eight of his machines. He thought that he could open several of these restaurants, selling milkshake machines to each. Instead, he created an industry.
The company went public in 1965 and is now a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The Big Mac celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2008, having been invented by one of the earlier franchisees, Jim Delligatti back in 1968. The Egg McMuffin isn't much younger.
The company runs a series of living spaces called "Ronald McDonald Houses" for families to stay at when their children are in the hospital.
And, yes, they really do have a management training center called Hamburger University.