The world's most famous purveyor of fast food is to double the number of its British outlets over the next 10 years to more than 1,000, creating up to 30,000 jobs.
Mr Quinlan yesterday told the annual conference of the Institute of Directors (an event which prompted the downfall of the jeweller Gerald Ratner) that once people get to know McDonald's they become great supporters, whether in Moscow or Peking - or even Hampstead. 'We're proud that over the past two decades the British people have elevated hamburgers and french fries to the same league as fish and chips among your national favourites,' he said.
McDonald's is opening between 900 and 1,200 new restaurants a year around the world. Now it hopes to expand in new countries, including India. 'On any given day, McDonald's serves less than one half of one per cent of the world's population. That's not enough. We're like Oliver Twist, we want more,' Mr Quinlan said.
He believes that the chain could build 20,000 new restaurants in countries where it already operates without meeting the existing demand for 'burgers and fries'. The group can build a new restaurant in 30 days at a cost of about pounds 400,000.
McDonald's opened its first UK restaurant in Woolwich, south-east London, 20 years ago. Now, with 526 outlets, the company estimates it feeds a million people in Britain every day. Mr Quinlan said McDonald's would become more flexible as it grows. It has opened outlets in hospitals, supermarkets and cross-channel ferries.
The group has 32,000 employees in Britain, two thirds of whom are under 20 years old. In spite of a dizzying turnaround of staff in the fast food business, Mr Quinlan says the opportunities in his burger kingdom are many. He started with McDonald's as a part-time mailroom clerk.
Directors attack EU, page 34Reuse content