The first McDonald’s franchise was given to Nathan Fox in 1953 and opened in Phoenix Arizona. This was thirteen years after the McDonald brothers opened their first McDonald’s restaurant. Dick and Mack had begun their McDonald’s legacy with a restaurant in San Bernardino California in 1940 with a menu that has 25 items on it.
Their restaurant was a hangout for many of the local teens and their menu was primarily barbeque items. Eight years later, they closed their restaurant for several months as they renovated to become a restaurant that served mostly hamburgers, which had been their best selling item. They prided themselves on being speedy in getting their food to the customers and created an assembly line type of food preparation. They narrowed their menu to have only three items: hamburgers, French fries, milkshakes, and found immediate success in the changes. The third and fourth McDonald’s restaurants were opened in 1954 in Saginaw Michigan and Downey California. The location on Lakewood Blvd in Downey is the oldest McDonald’s restaurant still in operation
In 1963, just ten years after the first franchise was created McDonald’s opened their 500th restaurant that opened in Toledo Ohio. This was also the year that McDonald’s celebrated selling their one-billionth burger.
In 1967, McDonald’s crossed the Canadian border with its first restaurant outside of the United States being opened in Richmond British Columbia. A year later in 1968 the 1000th McDonald’s restaurant was opened and the Big Mac and hot apple pie were introduced to the menu. The apple pies were fried until the baked apple pie replaced the fried version at most locations in 1992.
The third country to have a McDonald’s franchise was Costa Rica where a restaurant was opened in 1970 and in 1971, there were franchises opened in Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.
By 1972, there were 2200 McDonald’s franchises in operation throughout the world. The next year the world was introduced to the Quarter pounder and the egg McMuffin.
1974 was a good year for McDonald’s with its 3000th restaurant being opened and more importantly the very first Ronald McDonald house opened its doors.
In 1975 the first Drive through was opened in Sierra Vista Arizona to accommodate soldiers from a nearby base who were not allowed to wear their battle dress uniforms off of the base except in a vehicle.
The happy meal was a huge success right from its introduction in the United States in 1978.
In 1980, McDonald’s 6000th restaurant was opened with a location in Munich Germany.
The first Ronald McDonald House outside the United States was opened a year later in Toronto Canada.
1984 was the year that McDonald’s became the biggest sponsor of the 1984 summer Olympics and has remained a main sponsor of the Olympic games ever since. This was also the year that McDonald’s served its 50 billionth hamburger which was cooked by the same person that cooked their very first burger, Dick McDonald.
In 1988, McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in a communist country with the opening of a franchise in Belgrade Yugoslavia, which is now known as Serbia. Two years later the first McDonald’s franchise in the Soviet was opened
In 1995, a McDonald’s franchise is opened in South Africa and helps the country celebrate the end of apartheid.
Mac McDonald passed away in 1971 from cancer while his brother Richard (Dick) McDonald lived until 1998 when he passed away at the age of 89. These two brothers never dreamed when starting a restaurant so many years ago that their chain of restaurants would turn into an international landmark for billions of people and become a part of history for generations. They are a true example of success and what you can do with a dream and some persistence.