Today in History: The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in 1940

The original McDonald's restaurant which opened on 15 May 1940. Image: Amusing Planet.

The restaurant was far from the fast food chain that we know and love today however, as the modernisation of the restaurant only came 14 years after the first restaurant was opened.

The brothers introduced the “Speedee Service System” in 1948, putting into expanded use the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant that their predecessor White Castlehad put into practice more than two decades earlier.

The original mascot of McDonald’s was a chef hat on top of a hamburger who was commonly referred to as “Speedee”.

1954 was the year everything changed for the McDonald’s franchise as a 52-year-old Ray Kroc visited San Bernardino as a Multimixer salesman.

There he found a small but successful restaurant run by the McDonald brothers, and was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation.

They produced a limited menu, concentrating on just a few items – burgers, fries and beverages – which allowed them to focus on quality and quick service

They were looking for a new franchising agent and Kroc saw an opportunity.

In 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system.

By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger.

On 4 May, 1961, McDonald’s first filed for a U.S. trademark on the name “McDonald’s” with the description “Drive-In Restaurant Services”, which continues to be renewed.

By 13 September, McDonald’s, under the guidance of Kroc, filed for a trademark on a new logo—an overlapping, double-arched “M” symbol.

Before the double arches, McDonald’s used the a single arch for the architecture of their buildings.

In 1962 the Golden Arches replaced Speedee as the universal mascot.

The symbol, Ronald McDonald, was introduced in 1965. The clown, Ronald McDonald, ended up appearing in advertising to target thechildren in their audience.

Although the “Golden Arches” logo appeared in various forms, the present version was not used until 18 November, 1968, when the company was favoured a U.S. trademark.

The oldest existing McDonald’s restaurant that is still in use, was opened at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California, in 1953.

The company opened its first outlet in South Africa in 1995, and now has more than 200 outlets in all nine provinces of the country.

They also serve an average of 8 million customers a month, employing more than 10 000 employees countrywide.

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  AUTHOR
Blake Linder
Journalist

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