Day 001 - 28 Jun 94 - Page 03
1 complained of in the leaflet which is the subject of the
libel action, or else reassert the truth of the original
2 allegations or does both. My Lord, I will return to all
of this in more detail at a later stage.
First, I wish to say something about the McDonald's -- not
4 very much because, of course, there will be a good deal of
evidence about it during the course of the case -- my
5 Lord, to understand why it is that McDonald's have sued
these two individuals on this leaflet, and why they have
6 pressed this action to trial, it is necessary to know
something of their business.
My Lord, the company, an American company, was founded in
8 1955 by a Mr. Ray Kroc. It is called McDonald's because
the original store in Des Plaines, Illinois, which sold
9 hamburgers, milk shakes, french fries and so forth, was
inspired by a fast service restaurant in California which
10 Mr. Kroc had visited which was owned by two brothers
called the McDonald's. Mr. Kroc acquired the right to
11 franchise the operation from the McDonald's brothers and
eventually was able to buy the whole business.
The nature of the business, that is to say, hamburgers,
13 milk shakes, french fries and so on, has remained the same
in the intervening 39 years, but it has grown somewhat in
14 size. The 1993 Annual Report of the McDonald's
Corporation which is in volume 3 of the trial bundles at
15 tab 5 -- I do not ask your Lordship to get it out; I will
read it out -- shows at page 135 of the bundles that there
16 are now about 14,000 McDonald's restaurants worldwide,
there having been only short of 8,000 in 1983; that these
17 extend in 70 countries throughout the world as compared
with 32 10 years before and their annual turnover is
18 US $23.5 billion.
19 In consequence, my Lord, McDonald's is now the largest
food service organisation in the world. My Lord, I note
20 in passing (because this may be of some significance later
on in the case) that worldwide about 70 per cent of the
21 restaurants are operated by franchisees and under 20 per
cent by the company itself and its subsidiaries.
There is a further ten per cent which are operated by what
23 are called affiliates. That is, roughly speaking, joint
venture partnerships. My Lord, that said, it should not
24 be thought that McDonald's is likely to tolerate any
departure by their franchisees or joint venture partners
25 in the high standards they set for themselves. On the
contrary, any serious deviation in quality of foods or
26 service or in the treatment of their employees is quickly
and sometimes severely dealt with.
My Lord, it is the fact that this is one of the principal
28 reasons why this action has been brought, that McDonald's
has for all the years of its existence set and maintained
29 the highest standards in those areas as well as in the
area of responsibility to various communities, large and
30 small, in which it operates throughout the world.