Hamburger University

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hamburger University
2018 New-HU-logo (44357292944).jpg
MottoLearning Today, Leading Tomorrow
TypeCorporate university
Established1961 (1961)
Location, ,
United States

41°53′01″N 87°39′13″W / 41.88369770°N 87.65367870°W / 41.88369770; -87.65367870Coordinates: 41°53′01″N 87°39′13″W / 41.88369770°N 87.65367870°W / 41.88369770; -87.65367870
ColorsRed, white

Hamburger University is a training facility at the McDonald's Corporation global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. It instructs high-potential restaurant managers, mid-managers and owner-operators in restaurant management.[1] Hamburger University’s mission is to become an “organizational culture hub, introducing a continuous education process for the value chain and transforming knowledge into actual business results.”[2] Hamburger University students take courses about restaurant operations, leadership skills, customer service, operations, and procedures.

More than 5,000 students attend Hamburger University each year and over 275,000 people have graduated with a degree in "Hamburgerology". 40% of McDonald’s global leadership has attended Hamburger University.[3]


Hamburger University training started in 1961 with a class of 14 people in the basement of one of its restaurants. The educational program was operated by Fred Turner, a grill cook.[4] Turner would eventually contribute significantly to the growth of McDonald’s and become the CEO for McDonald's for 20 years.

Hamburger University was originally located on an 80-acre (32 ha) campus at the company's global headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois from its founding until 2018, when both the McDonald's headquarters and Hamburger University moved to West Loop, Chicago, in a new complex built on the site of the former headquarters of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios.[5][6][7][8]

The previous location in Oak Brook was purchased in June 2019 by John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems.[9]


Hamburger University currently has eight campuses worldwide in addition to the main campus in Chicago, Illinois: Tokyo, London, Sydney, Munich, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Moscow.[3]

The Shanghai location is housed in a 28-story building that serves as McDonald's China headquarters. The school takes up 16,846 square feet and is decorated with pictures of McDonald's products and equipment. The school accepts less than 1% of applicants.[10]

In popular culture

Hamburger University was satirized in the 1986 comedy Hamburger... The Motion Picture.[11] It was also spoofed by McDonald's itself in a commercial with Ronald McDonald in which several animatronic hamburgers were shown graduating.


  1. ^ "Hamburger University". McDonald's. 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  2. ^ "Hamburger Education: Inside McDonald's University". March 10, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Walters, Natalie (October 24, 2015). "McDonald's Hamburger University can be harder to get into than Harvard and is even cooler than you'd imagine". Business Insider. Insider, Inc. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  4. ^ Luna, Nancy (October 28, 2020). "McDonald's to revitalize Hamburger University under new Chief Learning and Development Officer Bethany Tate Cornell". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved January 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "McDonald's moving headquarters to downtown Chicago by 2018". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Byrne, Samantha Bomkamp, John. "McDonald's to move HQ to Chicago as soon as 2018, source says". Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  7. ^ Ori, Greg Trotter, Ryan. "McDonald's begins selling off Oak Brook property before headquarters move". Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Whitten, Whitten; Chung, Peter Q.W. (June 9, 2018). "McDonald's opens new $250 million headquarters. Here's what it looks like inside". CNBC. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  9. ^ Lam, Katherine (June 6, 2019). "Billionaire John Paul DeJoria buys McDonald's campus in Illinois". FOXBusiness. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Fromson, Daniel (January 27, 2011). "McDonald's Takes on China With More-Selective-Than-Harvard Hamburger University". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  11. ^ Hamburger - The Motion Picture at the British Film Institute