OAK BROOK, Ill. (WBBM) — Inside a 130,000-square-foot facility in Oak Brook, thousands of students from across the world take part in Hamburger University.

The building features a 300-seat auditorium, interactive classrooms, kitchen labs, and state-of-the-art service training labs.

“We’ve broken up the students into three categories. Whether they are crew members, customers or observers,” said National Training Manager Dan Kiley.

On this day, managers and manager trainees work in a simulated McDonald’s kitchen to learn how to better serve their customers.

“We talk about what are the impacts to our crew people, our customers and our brand as a whole,” says Professor Mike Ortiz who’s been with McDonald’s for 18 months.

Hamburger U is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In 1961, HU began in a McDonald’s restaurant basement in Elk Grove Village, Ill. with 15 graduates in the first class.

In the five decades since, HU has grown into a world-class global center of excellence to develop and train employees and establish consistent restaurant standards around the globe.

To date, more than 275,000 McDonald’s franchisees, employees and suppliers have graduated from HU worldwide.

The 80-acre campus in Oak Brook is McDonald’s world headquarters but there are now 6 universities around the world.

“Including São Paolo ,Brazil, London, England, Munich, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia and Shanghai, China,” said Kiley.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports

Manager Trish Robels is from San Antonio, Texas. She says the four day training has been quite a learning experience.

“It’s been awesome, it’s awesome. There’s no words to say how great it is. Everyone’s gotta do it one time.”

Hamburger Universities have 64 full-time global college professors on staff, and the ability to teach in 28 languages at our Oak Brook HU.

The program offers restaurant manager curriculum, a mid-management leadership curriculum, and programs for executive development. In 1996, McDonald’s launched its Leadership Institute, which supports the company’s goal to develop a deep bench of talent around the world.

McDonald’s is the only active Quick Service Restaurant to receive college credit recommendations from the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT), the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions.

The average restaurant manager has completed the equivalent of approximately 21 credit hours – one semester of college – that can be transferred to many colleges and universities and applied toward a two or four year degree

McDonald’s is the world’s leading global food service retailer with more than 32,000 locations serving approximately 64 million customers in 117 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.

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