The history of McDonalds fast-food phenomenon begins, as would seem appropriate, with a man named Mac (Maurice) McDonald and his brother Richard (Dick).  Although many associate the food giant's success with founder Ray Kroc, it was actually started by the two McDonald brothers in 1940 at the intersection of 14th and E Streets in San Bernardino, California.  As a side note, and just for you trivia buffs, San Bernardino County is the largest (in square miles) county within the continental U.S.

This first restaurant was actually moved from Monrovia, California, some 40 miles away, where the brothers' father, Patrick, had been running it since 1937 under the name 'The Airdrome', at the Monrovia Airport.  He sold burgers for ten cents and orange juice, all-you-can-drink, for a nickel.  Mac and Dick moved the entire building to its new location in 1940 and thus was born the very 1st McDonalds.  Today, the famous McDonalds golden arches grace more than 31,000 locations worldwide.

In 1948, the McDonald brothers introduced a concept they dubbed the 'Speedee Service System', which was the precursor of every fast-food restaurant to follow.  They turned the kitchen into an assembly line, got rid of the carhops they had been using and introduced a more efficient self-service system.  The McDonalds menus offered hamburgers and cheeseburgers, French fries, soft drinks, shakes and apple pies.  Business boomed.

The real history of McDonalds success on a grand scale, however, began when Ray Kroc, a Chicago area businessman, paid the brothers a visit in 1954.  As detailed in the best-selling Ray Kroc biography, Kroc was a milkshake mixer salesman and the McDonalds were one of his best customers.  They were using eight of his mixing machines and, in order to satisfy his curiosity, he went to their restaurant to learn the secret of their success.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Kroc was so impressed with the successful McDonalds strategies he proposed the concept be franchised nationwide.  When the brothers balked at taking on this additional responsibility Ray Kroc volunteered to be the point man, to which the brothers agreed.  Ray opened his first outlet on April 15, 1955, in Des Plaines (just outside of Chicago).  On that same day he officially incorporated his business, naming it the McDonalds Corporation.

The history of McDonalds, which started here, has become legendary worldwide.  Growth during the next decades was nothing short of phenomenal.  Estimates are that McDonalds jobs have held by one of every three teenagers in the US.  McDonalds careers offer a good living for many as well.  Thanks, Ray Kroc.


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12/01/2010 17:09

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