The business began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by siblings Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California. Their introduction of the "Speedee Service System" in 1948 established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. With the successful expansion of McDonald's into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life.
The McDonald's Corporation's business model is slightly different from that of most other fast-food chains. In addition to ordinary franchise fees, supplies, and percentage of sales, McDonald's also collects rent, partially linked to sales. As a condition of the franchise agreement, the Corporation owns the properties on which most McDonald's franchises are located. The UK business model is different, in that fewer than 30% of restaurants are franchised, with the majority under the ownership of the company. McDonald's trains its franchisees and others at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Illinois.
McDonald's mostly sell hamburgers, various types of chicken sandwiches and products, french fries, soft drinks, breakfasts, and desserts. In most markets, McDonald's offers salads and vegetarian items. This local deviation (kõrvalekalle) from the standard menu is a characteristic for which the chain is particularly known to make available foods with which the regional market is more familiar.
McDonald's has for decades maintained an extensive advertising campaign. In addition to the usual media the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, sponsors sporting events from ranging from Little League to the Olympic Games, and makes coolers of orange drink with their logo available for local events of all kinds. Television has always played a central role in the company's advertising strategy.