Richard McDonald, one of the founding fathers of the fast-food industry, is a name that resonates with millions of people worldwide. As one of the co-founders of the global fast-food chain, McDonald’s, Richard McDonald’s life story is a testament to innovation, perseverance, and the American dream. This article delves into the life, career, and net worth of Richard McDonald, providing an in-depth look at the man behind the golden arches.

Early Life and Education

Richard James McDonald was born on February 16, 1909, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He and his brother Maurice, also known as “Mac,” were raised in a family of Irish immigrants. Despite their humble beginnings, the McDonald brothers harbored big dreams and a strong work ethic, which would later become the foundation of their fast-food empire.

Beginning of the McDonald’s Journey

In 1937, Richard and his brother Maurice opened a hot dog stand in Arcadia, California, named “The Airdrome.” The success of this venture led them to relocate to San Bernardino, California, in 1940, where they opened the first “McDonald’s Bar-B-Q” restaurant. The restaurant had 25 items on the menu, mainly barbecue.

The Birth of the Fast-Food Concept

In 1948, the McDonald brothers revolutionized the restaurant industry by introducing the “Speedee Service System,” a concept that is now known as fast food. They simplified their menu to nine items, focusing on hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soft drinks, milk, coffee, potato chips, and a slice of pie. This move drastically reduced waiting times and increased efficiency, setting a new standard for the food service industry.

Franchising and Expansion

The success of the McDonald brothers’ innovative fast-food concept attracted the attention of Ray Kroc, a Multimixer milkshake machine salesperson. In 1955, Kroc proposed a franchising model to the brothers, leading to the opening of the first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. This marked the beginning of McDonald’s rapid expansion across the United States and later, the world.

Net Worth and Sale of McDonald’s

Despite the global success of McDonald’s, Richard and his brother Maurice did not become billionaires. In 1961, they sold their company to Ray Kroc for $2.7 million each. After taxes, the brothers were left with a net worth of approximately $1 million each. They continued to receive an annual royalty of 1.9% from Kroc, which was later reduced to 0.5%.

Legacy and Death

Richard McDonald passed away on July 14, 1998, leaving behind a legacy that continues to impact the global food industry. Today, McDonald’s serves over 69 million customers daily in more than 100 countries. Despite the controversies and criticisms, the McDonald’s brand remains a symbol of American entrepreneurship and innovation.

In conclusion, Richard McDonald’s life story is a testament to the power of innovation and perseverance. Despite selling their company for a fraction of its current worth, the McDonald brothers’ legacy lives on in the golden arches of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Their story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, reminding us that success often comes from simplicity, efficiency, and a relentless pursuit of improvement.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.