Retro photos of the first McDonald’s in San Bernardino, California from 1940 show the early days of the fast food joint that was a gathering place for Southern Californians looking for some simple All-American fare.
The restaurant would go on to become the largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in the world – serving an estimated 68 million hungry people in 119 countries everyday.
Brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald came up with the idea for a barbecue spot, they named ‘The Airdrome,’ and originally set up shop near the airport in Monrovia, California in 1937.
The name change and acquisition
But in 1940, the brothers moved the joint to San Bernardino, located 40 miles to the east, and eventually gave it the name ‘McDonalds.’
As astute businessmen, the McDonalds realized that of all their menu offerings, the most popular choices with customers was burgers, french fries, milkshakes and apple pie.So, the men decided to pare down their offerings and their menu was slimmed down to only include those staples.
The McDonalds also devised a more efficient modus operandi for their kitchen, setting up an assembly line to turn out burgers more quickly – dubbed the ‘Speedee Service System.’The success of the California restaurant caught the attention of businessman Ray Kroc, who in the 1950s joined the brothers to develop the franchise arm of the business.
Eventually Mr Kroc (pictured below) purchased the company from the McDonalds and took the helm at the fast food chain to turn it into the multi-billion dollar empire that it is today.
Today McDonald’s can be found serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries, which each country tailoring its offering to its culture and local food. In 2007, McDonald’s revenues grew to over $3.9 billion.
The McDonald’s headquarters complex, McDonald’s Plaza, is located in Oak Brook, Illinois. It sits on the site of the former headquarters and stabling area of Paul Butler, the founder of Oak Brook, a move that occurred in 1971.One of the reasons people visit fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s is because their formulaic menus that make meal ordering easy and predictable.
McDonald’s in certain suburban areas and cities feature large indoor or outdoor playgrounds. The first PlayPlace with the familiar crawl-tube design with ball pits and slides was introduced in 1987 in the USA, with many more being constructed soon after. Today, some PlayPlace playgrounds have been renovated into “R Gym” areas.
A modern-day McDonald’s in the USABigMac Meal (Burger, Fries and Milkshake USA): This is the traditional and original McDonald’s offering in the U.S. and is available in stores for around $7.25.
McDonald’s around the globe
Overseas, the restaurant offers a wider range of ingredients. In some places, this is a result of adapting to local customs – for example, in India, where eating beef is largely taboo, the company offers vegetarian dishes such as the BigSpicy Paneer Wrap.
Many Americans and Britons who visit the Western establishment while on holiday, in an attempt to make themselves feel more at home are often in for a shock – as local adaptations of McDonald’s classic meals can feel very unfamiliar indeed.
List of countries with McDonald’s restaurants (image) In some countries, McDonald’s offers a fast-food twist on traditional favorites such as the Turkish Kofteburger and the McMollete, which is based on a popular Mexican breakfast dish.
Ebi Filet-O (Japan): This McDonald’s shrimp burger is inspired by Japanese seafood dishes, and is available in stores for around $5.70BigSpicy Paneer Wrap (India): With a large vegetarian population, Indian branches of the restaurant serve ingredients such as paneer, a local type of cheese, which costs $2.65 in this wrapMcLobster (Canada): This classy dish is also available in parts of New England, and retails at around $6.McRice Burger (Singapore): In parts of South-East Asia, diners ditch the bun on their chicken sandwich and replace it with toasted rice cakes.Other exotic dishes are less easily explained. The Prosperity Burger, a beef concoction which is only available around the Chinese New Year, has mysterious origins, as does the Samurai Pork Burger sold in Thailand – rather in Japan, the land of the actual samurai.
Of course, Japan, as a country in love with unusual foodstuffs, does have its own McDonald’s marvels, including a breaded shrimp burger known as the Ebi Filet-O.
McFalafel (Israel): This twist on street food was not a success when it was introduced at a price of $2.60.McLaks (Norway): Scandinavian salmon-lovers are keen to tuck in to this fishy burger from McDonald’sSamurai Pork Burger (Thailand): This teriyaki pork sandwich is slightly misnamed – samurais are from Japan – and retails at nearly $5.Yet even that pales in comparison to perhaps the strangest of all fast-food items, the Singaporean McRice Burger – a chicken patty between two rice cakes.
Some Western countries are not exempt from the fashion for unusual McDonald’s ingredients. Canada boasts the McLobster, Holland the McKroket and France the Croque McDo, a fast-food take on the classic French ham-and-cheese sandwich.
Croque McDo (France): This $4 snack is based on the classic French ham-and-cheese sandwich.McMollete (Mexico): This breakfast dish is similar to the classic McMuffin with a south-of-the-border twist.Prosperity Burger (China): This beef sandwich with peppery sauce and onions is available in China around New Year and costs diners around $3.50.Kofteburger (Turkey): This dish is so authentic they even brush the bun with parsley before serving.WiesMac (Poland): Locals enjoy this beefburger served with a traditional horseradish and mustard sauce.McArabia (Morocco): It may use beef patties, but the flatbreads and exotic spices mark this $2.70 sandwich out as quintessentially Middle Eastern.
McKroket (Netherlands): Dutch McDonald’s offer this sandwich filled with beef ragout, a twist on the local croquette… and at $2.50, it’s considered a bargain.
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