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What is Hamburger University&Trade?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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The McDonald's® corporation employs more than a million people worldwide in any given year. Training is provided for all employees, from cashiers to corporate workers, but the one training facility many McDonald’s® employees strive to attend is Hamburger University™. The American branch of Hamburger University™ is considered the premier training ground for employees, an 80-acre campus located in Oak Brook, Ill. The American branch of the university provides training for nearly 5,000 employees every year in all aspects of the business, including information for crew, management and executives. But much like the corporation it serves, Hamburger University™ had humble beginnings.

Since its inception in 1961, the Hamburger University™ has provided training for more than 80,000 managers, mid-managers and owner/operators within the McDonald's® community. In contrast, the original graduating class of Hamburger University™ consisted of 14 students. The original Hamburger University™ training facility was located in the basement of an Elk Grove Village, Ill., McDonald's™. In 1983, $40 million USD was allocated to build the current facility. Participants in Hamburger University™ classes continue on to manage the nearly 31,000 locations worldwide.

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The Hamburger University™ faculty consists of 19 full-time professors from around the world, with each having prior experience in operating restaurants. In addition to these professors, Hamburger University™ employs translators to enable the professors to reach a wider audience. Currently, the Hamburger University™ facility is able to accommodate more than 28 different languages. While the American campus of Hamburger University™ was the first and is the largest, there are several satellite campuses located around the world, including Sydney, Australia; Munich, Germany; London, England; Tokyo, Japan; and Hong Kong, China.

Hamburger University™ classes teach a standard curriculum outlining safety and customer courtesy, as well as business strategies and marketing standards. While the courses may be the same, each standard may be customized for the region in which it is used. For example, while courtesy standards for a United States McDonald's® may specify a verbal greeting, those of Japan require the employee to bow. Students at the university are trained and tested in these standards, including written, oral and practical testing. Evaluations by professors also occur, and a follow up evaluation in the student's store by a mystery shopper may take place as well.

Unlike other employee training programs, those who attend Hamburger University™ for management careers are eligible to receive college credit for their work through a decision made by the American Council on Education. Most management training programs equal about 21 college credit hours, or an average semester, and the credits are transferable to both private and public two- or four-year colleges. Further proving its dedication to its employees’ future, McDonald's® also offers educational assistance to its employees as part of the standard benefit package.

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