Hamburger University

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Hamburger University
Motto Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow
Type Corporate university
Established 1961 (1961)
Location Oak Brook, Illinois, United States
41°50′18″N 87°56′51″W / 41.83833°N 87.94750°W / 41.83833; -87.94750Coordinates: 41°50′18″N 87°56′51″W / 41.83833°N 87.94750°W / 41.83833; -87.94750
Campus Suburban, 80 acres (32 ha)
Colors Red, White
Affiliations McDonald's

Hamburger University is a 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m2) training facility of McDonald's, located in Oak Brook, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. This corporate university was designed to instruct personnel employed by McDonald's in the various aspects of restaurant management. More than 80,000 restaurant managers, mid-managers and owner/operators have graduated from this facility.[1]


Today, Hamburger University is situated on an 80 acres (32 ha) campus with 19 full-time resident instructors. The facility comprises 13 teaching rooms, a 300-seat auditorium, 12 interactive education team rooms, and 3 kitchen labs. Hamburger University interpreters can provide simultaneous interpretation, and the faculty has the ability to teach in 28 different languages. Restaurant employees receive approximately 32 hours of training in their first month with McDonald's and more than 5,000 students attend Hamburger University each year.[1]

Founder Ray Kroc oversaw lessons at its beginning. Although Kroc died in 1984, he still posthumously teaches at Hamburger University today as students are shown videotaped lectures by Kroc. Part of the lectures have been remade into an interactive museum segment called "Ask Mr. Kroc", where a clickable question is answered in a certain video scene. Some one-sentence remarks of Kroc's have been passed down to managers and temporary McDonalds employees such as:

  • Experience: "When you are green, you grow. When you are ripe, you rot."
  • Time management: "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean."
  • Competition: "If they were drowning, I would put a hose in their mouths."

Kroc's original office has now been preserved as a memorial, with his reading glasses remaining on the desk untouched.

Popular culture[edit]

Hamburger University was satirized in the 1986 comedy, Hamburger... The Motion Picture.[2] It was also spoofed by McDonald's itself in a commercial with Ronald McDonald in which several animatronic hamburgers were shown graduating from school.


  1. ^ a b "Hamburger University". McDonald's. 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Hamburger - The Motion Picture in the British Film Institute's "Explore film..." database