McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain. It was founded in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald. In 1948, they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand, using production line principles. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955 and subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers. Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, McDonald's confirmed plans to move its global headquarters to Chicago by early 2018.
Today, McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain, serving approximately 68 million customers daily in 119 countries across approximately 36,538 outlets. McDonald's primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, fish, wraps, smoothies and fruit. A McDonald's restaurant is operated by either a franchisee, an affiliate, or the corporation itself. The McDonald's Corporation revenues come from the rent, royalties, and fees paid by the franchisees, as well as sales in company-operated restaurants. According to a BBC report published in 2012, McDonald's is the world's second largest private employer (behind Walmart with 1.9 million employees), 1.5 million of whom work for franchises.