Since it was founded in 1940, McDonald's has had a pretty wild history trying to maintain its position as the top fast food chain world-wide. But for every Big Mac or Shamrock Shake, there are dozens of weirder efforts that don't get nearly the same amount of recognition. We collected some of the strangest stories that McDonald's may or may not want more people to know about, so enjoy!
1. Bubble Gum Broccoli?!
Yep, McDonald’s went to extreme lengths in order to create healthier food, as recently as 2014. No fast food restaurant should be able to create what they did though. They actually infused pieces of broccoli with a bubble gum flavoring, but the kids in the focus test groups absolutely hated the idea. Has McDonald’s considered not channeling Willy Wonka for healthy food initiatives? That might catch on!
2. Guys, We Aren’t Satanic, We Swear!
In the midst of the Satanic Panic during the 1980’s, rumors came up that Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into a massive franchise, was regularly donating to the Church of Satan in Los Angeles. A lot of customers, especially in the Midwest, actually believed this, and they began to boycott McDonald’s. Executives would travel to these states and meet with the local clergy, trying to convince them that Ray Kroc had never associated with the Church in the first place. But I want to know who created those rumors and made them sound so convincing?!
3. You Could Buy PBJ and Chili at McDonald’s:
So technically, this hasn’t been a thing since the original single restaurant was running in 1940. Founders Richard and Mac McDonald would sell hamburgers, but they would also server peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with chili and slices of pie. The hamburgers were the most popular items though, so eventually they dropped those other early items in favor of more savory options.
4. McDonald’s Nearly Got Into Space Travel:
No, seriously, this almost actually happened in the nineties. The company Jet Propulsion Laboratory wanted to launch a spaceship onto an asteroid, and they wanted McDonald’s to sponsor the voyage. They even named the asteroid “Hamburga” in honor of the chain. The project went over budget, and hopes of astronauts being able to eat Big Macs on their way to the moon were quickly dashed. Maybe one day we can make this dream a reality.
5. The Secret Behind The Gold Cards:
If you’re famous enough and have the right connections, you can actually have free McDonald’s for the rest of your life. Celebrities such as Rob Lowe, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates have alluded to owning an official McDonald’s Gold Card, which permits them to eat totally for free in locations across the world. Apparently Rob Lowe is friends with a family of McDonald’s executives, so if you don’t have any friends high up in various companies, maybe work on that?
6. McDonald’s Also Serves Bees:
Humans aren’t the only sorts of customers showing up for service anymore! McDonald’s starting catering to bees in 2019, when their Sweden branch collaborated with creative agency NORD DDB to create an official McDonald’s beehive. This miniature replica McDonald’s houses thousands of bees, but unfortunately none of the bees get miniature employee uniforms to wear when they’re at work. Apparently numerous other franchise locations have beehives on their roofs, so xheck to see if your local restaurant has one!
7. There’s a McDonald’s Stadium, And It’s Spectacular!
Orlando, Florida houses the world’s largest McDonald’s, and it is nothing like you’ve ever seen. It has a twenty two foot tall playground structure, a massive arcade, and animatronic characters (but hopefully less terrifying than the ones at Chuck E. Cheese). This building is as big as the arena stadiums you go to see the most popular artists at. Honestly, this would make for a pretty fun road trip destination!
8. Don’t Worry, You Can Get McDonald’s While Skiing Too!
Sweden also houses the world’s only McDonald’s devoted exclusively to people in the middle of skiing. The Lindvallen ski resorts houses a ski-thru window, so you don’t even have to leave the slopes to get lunch. If you have ever dreamed of downhill skiing while french fries fly into your mouth, this is the place that can make your dreams come true.
9. Their Fancy Burger Was Their Biggest Failure:
If you were around in the nineties, you may remember the “Arch Deluxe Burger”, which McDonald’s spent way too much money on trying to make it seem luxurious and rich. It cost a little bit more and supposedly used fresh beef rather than frozen. Despite a $200 million marketing campaign, customers really didn’t care, and the burger was quietly taken off the menus. This fancy fiasco turned out to be one of the most expensive flops that any fast-food franchise has experienced, even without adjusting for inflation!
10. Now Featuring Destination Weddings!
McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong can now cater your entire wedding! You can spend $1,200 to rent out a McDonald’s for a couple hours. The restaurant will send out invitations and provide gifts for fifty guests, and they even will provide a DJ (who hopefully plays more than that McDonald’s jingle). Does the bridal bouquet include flowers, or is it all just french fries? Anyone up for some travel once the quarantine is over?
11. Celebrities Can Be Banned:
Sarah Michelle Gellar, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, starred in a Burger King commercial as a child that was pretty critical of McDonald’s. Well, McDonald’s took Burger King to court and also got the young actress banned from all locations. No word on if that ban is still in place!
12. You Can Go To McDonald’s College, Sort Of:
Hamburger University is a real place, and not something I made up for this article. Its main campus is in Oakbrook, Illinois, and it serves as a corporate training program. They also have locations world-wide, including Tokyo, London, and Shanghai!
13. McDonald’s Hosts Its Own American Idol:
The Voice of McDonald’s is a very real singing competition among its employees. Any employee can enter and win up to $25,000 in prize money. No word on is Simon Cowell judges this singing competition too!