The first McDonald’s restaurant — before it became the chain it is today — wasn’t primarily a burger restaurant.
In 1954, future McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc, a Multimixer milkshake machine salesman, came across a small restaurant in San Bernardino, California, run by the McDonald brothers.
The very first McDonald’s Bar-B-Q menu was large and its most famous offering was hot dogs. However, in 1948, the McDonald brothers switched the concept to become a burger restaurant and reduced the restaurant’s offerings to just nine items: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soft drinks, milk, coffee, potato chips, and a slice of pie.
In 1949, potato chips were swapped with french fries and McDonald’s began selling milkshakes.
Due to the restaurant’s self-service counter, there was no need for waiters or waitresses. Burgers were cooked ahead of time, wrapped in paper, and kept warm under a heat lamp, which meant customers received their food in record time.
Amazed by the efficiency of the restaurant, Kroc wanted in. He became the first McDonald’s franchisee agent.
In 1948, you could get a McDonald’s burger for just 15 cents.
At the original McDonald’s locations, before Ray Kroc revolutionized the company and founded what we know as McDonald’s today in 1955, a burger cost just 15 cents.
McDonald’s has reportedly sold hundreds of billions of burgers during its years in operation.
From the beginning, McDonald’s has touted its burger sales in its advertising. In 1955, McDonald’s claimed that it had sold over 15 million burgers — this was just seven years after the McDonald brothers closed their barbecue stand and reopened it as a burger joint.
Today, it’s estimated that McDonald’s has served billions and billions of burgers, with the Wall Street Journal estimating the chain sold its 300 billionth burger around 2013.
McDonald’s reported that its earnings surpassed $112 billion globally in 2021, with sales up 13.8% in the United States. That’s a lot of burgers.
The first “Big Mac” sold for 45 cents.
The first Big Mac-esque sandwich was created by owner and operator Jim Delligatti of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1967, but it wouldn’t be released nationwide until 1968. It included two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame-seed bun.
Esther Glickstein Rose, a 21-year-old secretary for the company’s advertising department in 1967, came up with the “Big Mac” name.
According to the Associated Press, executives and other employees at the time laughed at the name. However, it stuck and went on to become “one of the best-known product names of all time.”
It wasn’t until 1985 that McDonald’s Corp. finally recognized Rose had come up with the name.
McDonald’s sells roughly 75 hamburgers every second.
According to USA Today, the company sold roughly 75 burgers every second in 2013, or 4,500 burgers every minute.
A simple hamburger from McDonald’s can be a good source of protein.
According to the nutritional info listed for a McDonald’s hamburger, it contains 25% of your daily value of protein. While McDonald’s food in general may not be healthy for you in excess, there are some menu items that are healthier than others in moderation.
The first Happy Meal, which included a hamburger, small fries, and a small sundae, was called a “Menu Ronald.”
The original idea for the Happy Meal is said to have come from a McDonald’s employee in Guatemala named Yolanda Fernández de Cofiño. Fernández de Cofiño developed the meal deal to cater to kids visiting her restaurant.
In 1979, McDonald’s rolled out its first Happy Meal nationwide. The first one was circus-themed. McDonald’s advertising executive Bob Bernstein introduced the idea to swap the small sundae for a plastic toy.
In 2021, McDonald’s announced the chain would begin phasing out plastic toys from its Happy Meals in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.
“Making our toys out of renewable, recycled, or certified materials will result in about a 90% reduction of fossil fuel-based plastic in Happy Meal toys [compared with 2018],” the company said in a statement.
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