Hamburger University is a corporate university owned by the McDonalds fast food chain. The university began with a meeting in a in suburban Chicago basement in 1961 between Fred Turner and Ray Kroc. Kroc was CEO at the time and Turner would later become CEO. During his lifetime Kroc took the franchise from 6 to 7,500 during. Turner expanded it to 118 countries, with over 31,000 outlets.
They both saw the necessity for proper training of its staff and so set up the Hamburger University. It started in Chicago and the first students were taught by Ray Kroc and Fred Turner themselves. It later moved to an 80 acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois. In 2016 it moved back to Chicago onto 130,000 square foot former Oprah Winfrey’s Harper Studios.
The campus has 17 teaching rooms, three kitchen labs, a 300-seat lecture hall and eight “interactive education” rooms.
5,000 students attend Hamburger University every year. To date there have been around 300,000 graduates. Many graduates go on to become restaurant managers, mid, managers and owner-operators. In fact 40% of McDonalds senior leaders are graduates from Hamburger University.
At the Hamburger University students learn the ins and outs of the restaurant business, focusing on management, operations, hygiene and business growth. Their motto is Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow. One of the lessons involves fake customers who Some of the lessons include serving fake customers who make increasingly longer and more complicated orders. A student is expected to complete at least 2000 hours of training in order to complete the course. At the end of the course they can earn a Bachelor Degree in Hamburgerology.
Although it began in the US, there are now Hamburger Universities in Tokyo, London, Sydney, Munich, São Paulo, and Shanghai and Moscow.
Despite it’s cooky name, Hamburger University is extremely popular and as so many students apply the acceptance rate is around 1% which is less than the most prestigious universities in the world such as Cambridge (21%), Oxford (17.5%) or Harvard (7%).