11 things about McDonald's that may surprise you

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    McDonald's (MCD) is the American corporation that some people love to hate.

    The company gained prominence by expanding across the country faster than mushrooms sprout in a rainstorm. Americans are never farther than 115 miles from a McDonald's, while many cities have several of the chain's outlets within driving distance.

    Ubiquity doesn't guarantee success, however. McDonald's is coping with slumping sales thanks to growing consumer preference for fresher and healthier food, as well as frustration with what customers complain is poor service. Amid the turmoil, McDonald's earlier this year appointed a new chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, who has vowed to right the ship by improving the quality of food and service.

    Key to that plan will be reviving interest among so-called millennials, which is now the largest U.S. generational group, even surpassing the baby boomers. While boomers may still enjoy a visit to the Golden Arches, 18-to-34-year-olds are increasingly opting for "fast-casual" restaurants such as Chipotle (CMG) and Panera Bread (PNRA).

    While it's unclear whether Easterbrook can live up to his vow to make McDonald's a "progressive" hamburger chain, there's no denying that the largest fast-food chain is still a force to be reckoned with. The company's 36,000 locations serve about 69 million customers in 119 countries each day.

    Click ahead for 11 facts that may surprise you.