As we enter a new decade, it’s fun to look back on the companies that have stood
the test of time. Despite a few well-financed chicken-focused start-ups, mounting
pressure to reduce our dependence on meat, and our growing addiction to fancy
coffee, McDonald’s has managed to thrive. This year McDonald’s is celebrating its
80th anniversary with a market capitalization of around $150 billion—up roughly
10% over last year.
McDonald’s started when Maurice and Richard (Mac and Dick) were invited by their father, Patrick McDonald, to help flip burgers at his diner, the Airdrome, which the brothers rebranded in 1940 as their namesake.
The two spent almost ten years tinkering with their business before they
introduced the “Speedee Service System”—techniques that were pulled from the
factory assembly line to serve customers quickly.
The McDonald clan ran their single-location hamburger stand for almost 20 years
before Ray Kroc came along, asking to...