McDonald’s: A Pillar of the American Service Economy

The McDonald’s Corporation has emerged as a potent emblem of the American service economy, currently accounting for 90% of the nation’s new job opportunities. From its humble beginnings with around 1,000 restaurants in 1968, McDonald’s has expanded its global presence, boasting over 28,000 establishments and inaugurating nearly 2,000 new outlets annually. Astonishingly, it is estimated that 1 in 8 workers in the United States has been employed by McDonald’s at some point in their career.

A somewhat popular joke draws a comparison between the mandatory military service practiced in some countries, such as Israel, which often includes both men and women, and the ubiquity of food service employment in the United States. The jest implies that working in the food service industry, particularly at McDonald’s, is almost an American rite of passage.