McDonald's Restaurant Sign for the Japanese Market, 1975

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By 2013, McDonald’s signs could be found in all 50 states as well as approximately 120 countries. This sign was made in the U.S.A. for use in Japan. While the writing is in Japanese, the sign remains instantly recognizable due to its color scheme and signature golden arches. Not only the look of the restaurant remains standardized, but also the menu, making only a few concessions to local tastes. Such as using kosher meats in Israel, halal meat in Muslim countries and serving a Teriyaki McBurger in Japan.
In 1940, Richard (Dick) and Maurice (Mac) McDonald opened the first McDonald’s Bar-B-Q drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, California. In 1948, the brothers redesigned their menu, centering on the 15 cent hamburger. In 1954, Ray Kroc, a Multimixer (milkshake machine) salesman, became interested in the McDonalds brothers’ high volume restaurant. He worked out a deal with the brothers to be their franchising agent and opened the first franchise location in Illinois the following year. Under Kroc’s direction, the company grew to become the giant we know today.
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Work and Industry: Retail and Marketing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
associated institution
McDonald's Corporation
McDonald's International
associated place
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 12 ft x 6 ft x 18 in; 3.6576 m x 1.8288 m x 45.72 cm
base: 33 in; 83.82 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name
sign, restaurant