McDonald’s Journey: Early History, Growth, And Products

History Of McDonald' (1)

McDonald’s is an American Company and one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world, famed for its hamburgers, particularly its Big Macs. Its full name is McDonald’s Corporation. The corporate office is located in Chicago.

History Of McDonald’s

The McDonald brothers, Maurice (“Mac”), and Richard opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California, in 1940. Initially, it functioned as a drive-in with a vast selection of products. 

But in 1948, the brothers made the decision to redesign the company, and after a three-month remodeling, a McDonald’s as they had envisioned it did. The tiny restaurant was built to generate excessive amounts of food at modest costs.

To achieve this, the brothers created the Speedee Service System, a simple and efficient ordering system, and limited the menu to just hamburgers, potato chips (eventually replaced by french fries), beverages, and pie. 

McDonald’s Journey: Early History, Growth, And Products

This contained a self-service counter that did away with the need for servers and waitresses, and because hamburgers were pre-cooked, wrapped, and warmed under heat lamps, customers received their food promptly. 

Due to their inventions, the brothers could sell a basic hamburger for about 15 cents, which is roughly half what other eateries were charging. Due to the enormous success of McDonald’s, the brothers started a franchise system.

Ray Kroc, a salesman who was attracted by McDonald’s requirement for eight malts and shake mixers, sold the restaurant chain’s appliances. 

McDonald’s Journey: Early History, Growth, And Products

In 1954, he went to the restaurant to learn how a tiny store could sell so many milkshakes. Kroc joined the brothers as a franchise agent once he realized how much potential their restaurant concept held. 

In April 1955, Kroc established McDonald’s Systems, Inc., subsequently known as McDonald’s Corporation, in Des Plaines, Illinois, where he also set up the first McDonald’s location east of the Mississippi. The McDonald brothers were acquired by Kroc in 1961.

Making McDonald’s A Brand

Kroc established exacting guidelines for how each McDonald’s should be run, from meal preparation to cleaning, after realizing the importance of franchisees to the company’s success. He established the Hamburger University franchisee training program in 1961 to assure the consistent running of the locations. 

Later on, he also altered the layout of the eateries by adding counter personnel to accept orders, and in 1975, a McDonald’s in Arizona introduced the chain’s first drive-through window, a feature that quickly spread throughout the industry.

McDonald’s also adopted three aspects during this period that would come to characterize its brand and increase public familiarity. 

First, a clown named Ronald McDonald was presented as the firm’s public face in 1963; but, in the early twenty-first century, the company mostly dropped the figure due to backlash over its marketing to children and the deteriorating public opinion of clowns. 

McDonald’s Journey: Early History, Growth, And Products

The Big Mac, a famous hamburger that went on to become the company’s second-best-selling item after french fries, may have been the most notable addition when it was added to McDonald’s national menu in 1968. 

Additionally, the company improved its logo in the 1960s and eventually unveiled the renowned double-arch M design, which became its enduring mark and one of the most well-known logos in the world.

The rise of McDonald’s was aided by these improvements. McDonald’s reached 1,000 locations fewer than ten years after Kroc became the only owner of the company. These results encouraged the company to start trading its stock publicly in 1965.

Growth And Products

The chain kept growing both domestically and abroad. The first McDonald’s location outside of the United States was a franchise that debuted in 1967 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. In more than 115 nations and territories, there were about 34,000 outlets open at the beginning of the twenty-first century. 

There were rumors that a new McDonald’s opened somewhere in the world every five hours throughout the 1990s due to the industry’s rapid growth. Due to its emphasis on inexpensive cuisine, entertainment, and kid-friendly flavors, it effectively became the most well-liked family restaurant.

McDonald’s Journey: Early History, Growth, And Products

McDonald’s also increased the variety of foods it offered throughout time, adding Filet-O-Fish sandwiches in 1965, Quarter Pounders in 1973, Egg McMuffins in 1975, Happy Meals in 1979, and Chicken McNuggets in 1980. (1983). 

Furthermore, restaurants abroad changed their menus to reflect the preferences and habits of the local consumers.

In the latter half of the 20th century, McDonald’s expanded beyond the hamburger industry by purchasing Boston Market (2000), Donatos Pizza (1999), Chipotle Mexican Grill (1998), and Chipotle Mexican Grill in the United States. In the United Kingdom, McDonald’s also acquired Aroma Cafe (1999) and a stake in the sandwich restaurant chain Pret A Manger (2001). 

But by the end of 2008, McDonald’s had sold all of its shares in those businesses and was focusing only on its own brand.


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