PR NewsWire (source: McDonald's)

9th Dec 1996; USA

OAK BROOK, Ill. - The following is being released by McDonald's International:

1. McDonald's Corporation opened its first restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA (Country no.1) in 1955. Today, the company operates more than 20,000 restaurants in 100 countries on six continents. McDonald's first began to expand internationally in 1967 with the opening of restaurants in Canada (Country no.2) and Puerto Rico (Country no.3).

2. Today, on average, McDonald's opens a new restaurant every three hours. McDonald's expects to open at least 2,500 restaurants this year - about 2/3 of those will be located outside the U.S.

3. During the first twenty years of its international expansion, McDonald's opened - on average - two countries per year. In the following nine years - from 1988 to the present - McDonald's entered 53% of its international countries, opening nine markets in 1994 alone. In fact, in the last three years, McDonald's has entered 31 new countries, bringing the running total to 100.

4. The sun never sets on the Golden Arches. As a matter of fact, the northernmost McDonald's is located in Oulu, Finland (Country no.35). The southernmost McDonald's is located in Invercargill, New Zealand (Country no.20). The world's easternmost McDonald's restaurant is in Gisborne, New Zealand - and the westernmost McDonald's restaurant is in Western Samoa (Country no.91) - as they are the closest to either side of the international date line.

5. McDonald's largest market outside the United States is Japan (Country no.7). "Makadonaldo" first opened in 1971 on the world-famous Ginza. Located inside the Mitsukoshi Department Store, it was the smallest McDonald's restaurant in the world - at 500 sq. ft. Today, that restaurant has been relocated and expanded and has been joined by another 2,000 McDonald's restaurants.

6. The oldest structure to house a McDonald's restaurant is located in Shrewsbury, England (Country no.17). One of the restaurant's exterior walls dates back to the thirteenth century and served as part of Shrewsbury's medieval town wall.

7. McDonald's first restaurant in China (Country no.51) opened in 1990. The country's more than 100 McDonald's restaurants use the Chinese characters "Mai Dang Lao," to phonetically approximate the word "McDonald's."

8. Every day, McDonald's serves more than 35 million customers - yet on any day, and as the industry leader - McDonald's still serves less than one-percent of the world's population.

9. Since its founding in 1955, McDonald's has sold well over 100 billion hamburgers.

10. McDonald's prepares more than 6.8 million pounds of french fries every day to meet customer demand around the world.

11. Ronald McDonald made his first U.S. TV appearance in the 1966 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. In 1967 he became McDonald's official spokesperson for children. Today, Ronald McDonald can be found in every McDonald's market around the world - and speaks more than 25 languages, including Cantonese, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Papiamento, and Hindi. Sometimes the name of the world's most famous changes slightly with translation - in Japan he's called "Donald McDonald," in Singapore (Country no.26) he's known as "Uncle McDonald."

12. McDonald's Brazil (Country no.25) opened its first restaurant on Rio's famous Copacabana in 1979. Today, the company has more than 200 locations - making it the largest quick-service restaurant company in Brazil. Since its opening it has served Big Macs and "McFritas" to more than 1.4 billion customers - that's almost ten times the country's population.

13. Today you can find a McDonald's restaurant on every continent - except Antarctica. By continent - the first McDonald's restaurants have been:

North America Des Plaines, Illinois, USA April 15, 1955

Asia Tokyo, Japan July 20, 1971

Europe Zaandam (Amsterdam), Netherlands August 21, 1971

Australia Yagoona Bankstown (Sydney), Australia December 30, 1971

South America Rio di Janeiro, Brazil February 13, 1979

Africa Casablanca, Morocco December 18, 1992

Antarctica To come?

14. McDonald's first two restaurants in Turkey (Country no. 43) were actually built on different continents. The two restaurants, both in Istanbul, are located on opposite sides of the Bosphorus River, which bisects the city and separates the two continents.

15. More than one million people work for McDonald's worldwide. By the year 2000, that number is expected to increase to nearly two and one half million employees.

16. More than 50,000 students from all over the world have graduated with "Bachelor of Hamburgerology" degrees from "Hamburger University," McDonald's international management training facility located at its home office in Oak Brook, Illinois, USA. Similar training facilities offering McDonald's "Advanced Operations Course" are located in London, Munich, Tokyo and Sydney.

17. McDonald's first restaurant in Russia (Country no.50) opened in 1990. Today, that country boasts the busiest McDonald's in the world - on Pushkin Square in Moscow - which serves 40,000 people every day. And, since 1990, more than 140 million customers have been served "Beeg Maks" and "Kartofel free" at Russia's 11 McDonald's restaurants.

18. Always in fashion - McDonald's can be found in some of the world's most glamorous locations, including: on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France (Country no.12); on the Ginza in Tokyo, Japan; on Hong Kong harbor's bustling Star Ferry landing in Kowloon, Hong Kong (Country no.18); on the "Magnificent Mile" - Michigan Avenue, Chicago, USA; in star-studded Hollywood, California, USA; in Times Square, New York City, USA, and on the slopes of the Alps in Zermatt, Switzerland (Country no.21), to name a few.

19. On the run? In some places, McDonald's goes along with you. For example, you can be served a children's meal of McDonald's food aboard all domestic (U.S.) United Airlines flights - or take a flight on "McPlane," Switzerland's Crossair Airline's entirely McDonald's-themed plane. Riding the rails? McDonald's Switzerland features restaurant dining cars on their national railways. Taking to the high seas? McDonald's restaurants are quickly becoming a feature on many European ferries - such as the Stena Line crossing between Helsinki, Finland and Oslo, Norway (Country no.31). Other non-traditional McDonald's restaurant sites include: hospitals, tollways, zoos, college campuses, airports, and military bases.

20. Out of respect for the communities they serve, McDonald's three kosher restaurants (of more than 20) in Israel (Country no.67) are the only McDonald's in the world where you cannot buy a cheeseburger or other dairy products. Similarly, McDonald's restaurants in India (Country no.95) are the only ones in the world where you cannot buy beef - including "Big Macs" - you can, however, purchase an all-lamb version of the sandwich, called a "Maharaja Mac."

21. McDonald's International charitable foundation - Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), founded in 1984, has given more than US$150 million to organizations around the world benefiting children. The cornerstone of RMHC, the Ronald McDonald House program, serves nearly 4,000 family members each night in 175 Houses in 14 countries, including: the United States, Canada, Australia (Country no.11), the Netherlands (Country no.8), Germany (Country no.10), Austria (Country no.23), England, New Zealand, France, Sweden (Country no.14), Switzerland, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Scotland (Country no.46).

22. In 1965, McDonald's was listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol MCD. In October 1985, McDonald's became one of 30 blue chip companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. When McDonald's was added to the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1986, it set a new record volume - 615,750 shares - for opening day trading of a non-Japanese company. McDonald's stock is also listed on stock exchanges around the world, including: Chicago; Toronto; Frankfurt; Munich; Paris; London, and Zurich stock exchanges.

23. McDonald's opened it first restaurant in the Czech Republic (Country no.59) in March of 1992. This country has a unique connection to McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc. A first-generation American of Czech descent, Kroc's family ran a small restaurant and inn near the Czech village of Plzen. In 1994, ten years after Kroc's death and over 100 years since the Kroc family closed their restaurant and inn, McDonald's opened a restaurant in the same village.

24. McDonald's around the world offer the standard menu of hamburgers, chicken and fish sandwiches along with its world-famous french fries. Some markets, however, choose to offer one or two local items to appeal to customer preferences and to offer variety. Some examples are: "McHuevo" in Uruguay (Country no.57), a hamburger with a poached egg on top; "McLaks" in Norway, a grilled salmon sandwich with dill sauce; beer in Germany, and the "Samurai Pork Burger" in Thailand (Country no.36), a sausage patty in teriyaki sauce ... to name a few.

25. The opening of McDonald's first restaurants in Minsk, Belarus (Country no.100) makes it the 100th country to raise the Golden Arches. To mark the occasion, the entire McDonald's International system - through Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) - has donated US$100,000 to The Child's Center of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk's main children's hospital, for the purchase of a specially-equipped neo-natal ambulance.

CONTACT: Ann Connolly of McDonald's, 630-623-3797/

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