Origins: Love it or hate it, one can't deny the amazing achievements of the McDonald's fast food restaurant empire. Since the day Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1954 (after convincing Dick and Mac McDonald of McDonald's Restaurant in San Bernardino, California, to allow him to expand their operations), McDonald's has grown into a multi-billion-dollar international corporation with over 28,000 outlets worldwide.
So ubiquitous and successful is McDonald's that is has now given rise to a number of "exception" legends — rumors asserting and expressing amazement that a particular locale is the only one of its kind not to boast a McDonald's restaurant, or is the only place where a McDonald's outlet has ever closed for lack of business. For example, the London Times recently reported that British Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane is fond of pontificating that Sarajevo (the capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea) are the only two world capitals lacking a McDonald's. As the Times acerbically noted:
The number of countries in the world varies slightly depending upon who's doing the counting, but 192 is a reasonable figure. McDonald's itself claims locations only in
McDonald's: It's all over the place — but not as all over as you might think.
Last updated: 11 May 2011
Malvern, Jack. "A Real Whopper." The [London] Times. 1 March 2002.