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The History of McDonald’s


Big Mac

Phil Dragash via Compfight

If you are a Canadian or American, you probably know that the demand for “grab ‘n’ go” food is very high.  In fact, approximately three million McDonald’s meals are served every day in Canada, and about 6 480 000 in the United States per day.


Founded in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, Richard and Maurice McDonald did not sell burgers – they owned a barbecue restaurant.  In 1948, they made McDonald’s a hamburger eatery.  An entrepreneur named Ray Kroc joined the business in 1954, then bought McDonald’s from the McDonalds.  Kroc moved the company to Oak Brook, Illinois, shortly after.


The first McDonald’s restaurant owned by Ray Kroc was opened on April 15th, 1955, in a city close to Chicago – Des Plaines, Illinois.  This was the first of 34 other McDonald’s outlets he would own by 1958.  By 1959, the number grew drastically; Kroc now owned 102 eateries.  In the early ’60s, McDonald’s had matured, selling it’s billionth hamburger in 1963.  Six years later, in 1969, the company sold it’s five billionth hamburger, making it the most popular fast food branch in North America.

The business continued growing in the ’70s, since at that time, people didn’t have the time or desire to eat at home, thus popularizing fast food.  By 1972, the company’s annual sales exceeded one billion dollars.  That same year, the Egg McMuffin was released, creating a breakfast for people who are “on the go”.  In 1975, McDonald’s had developed a whole breakfast menu in some locations, paving the way for unhealthy food to start off your day!

Also in 1975: McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru window in an outlet around Sierra Vista, Arizona.  They were the second to do so, though – Wendy’s were the first, back around 1971.  McDonald’s recognized the potential of this phenomenon fairly quickly, because by the 1980s, customers pulled up to the window about half the time.  At that time, McDonald’s history had grown a lot.


  • The first drive-thru in Canada was opened in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1977.
  • McDonald’s first restaurant in Canada was in Richmond, British Columbia.
  • McRecycle U.S.A. started in 1990, and tables, wrapping for burgers, even toilet paper are all recycled products, to get into that “environmentally friendly” spirit.
  • The chain’s orange glaze and cilantro-lime dressing both contain propylene glycol alginate, which is also an ingredient in traps for bugs and insect attractant.
  • One of the ingredients in McGriddle sandwiches is sodium acid pyrophosphate, which they use to sustain it’s moisture and colour.  It also helps as an ingredient in hair remover.
  • Globally, McDonald’s serves 68 million meals per day, or approximately one percent of the human population.  Did you eat at McDonald’s today?
  • The famous Big Mac entered the menu in 1968.
  • Chicken McNuggets debuted in 1983, and are now served in many Happy Meals.
  • Ray Kroc’s net worth was about 600 million dollars by 1984.
  • The “Golden Arches” logo, the large “M”, was first used in 1961 for Ray Kroc’s “McDonald’s”.
  • Before the Golden Arches, the “Speedee” character was how people recognized McDonald’s.  He was a chubby cook with a rounded “moon” face, and a chef’s hat.
  • Ronald McDonald, the company’s redheaded mascot, has helped kids recognize McDonald’s since the clown’s release in 1963.
  • By 1976, McDonald’s had sold it’s 20 billionth burger.
  • How many have been sold by 2017?  The company doesn’t know, since they stopped keeping track in 1994.  I am a bit skeptical; were they really counting, or was McDonald’s just approximating to impress customers and the general public with a questionable fun “fact”.
  • Back in the late 1960s, McDonald’s sent meals to homesick American Olympic athletes.
  • From 2011 to 2013, the company had an ambitious goal: to open one restaurant every day for two years in China (no word on whether they achieved this or not).
  • In 2015, McDonald’s profits actually declined, and to try to fix this problem, they started to offer the breakfast menu all day – not just in the morning.
  • Originally having only nine menu items in 1955, this has expanded to one hundred seventy items as of August 2015.


Every business has to try and add new things, and sometimes these attempts to throw a party for your taste buds aren’t exactly successful.  On some occasions, they could taste good, but they aren’t why people go to McDonald’s.  Here are some examples:

  • By 1991, McDonald’s usually attracted customers during earlier hours of the day; for breakfast and lunch.  This led to the company’s strange idea to introduce things like spaghetti and fettuccine Alfredo.  This could have tasted nice, but it brings customers to a repetitive question: who goes to McDonald’s for Italian food, when they could either go to a restaurant to sit down and have a quality meal, or make pasta at home?
  • Everybody likes bacon, but five slices in a hamburger is overdoing it.  Unfortunately, in 1992, some restaurants in Australia offered a new meal, the “Bacon Bacon McBacon”.  Unsurprisingly, the very unhealthy burger flopped.
  • To satisfy seafood-loving customers, a sandwich called the “McLobster” was introduced in 1993, and it never really caught on.  The meal, which was lobster, lettuce, and lobster sauce, served on a hot dog bun, cost a whopping $8.99, proving that people would rather have a cheaper beef or chicken burger than something from the same restaurant, that costs about four times more.
  • For Catholics who don’t eat meat on Fridays, a burger with pineapple instead of meat was sold in the 1960s.  It even had cheese!  McDonald’s had the right idea, but people didn’t like it’s taste.  This burger died, but another meal, the “Filet ‘o’ Fish“, was more successful than the “Hula Burger“, the pineapple experiment.

Unfortunately, there are more, but we hope McDonald’s has learned from their mistakes.


In case you’re wondering, I don’t eat from this restaurant every day.  I actually eat there about once per year, or even less.  My parents almost always have a nice scent in the kitchen around dinnertime.  Nearly everything you make at home is better than fast food, unless you’re eating a handful of flour, or drinking motor oil .  (Okay, that might have been an exaggeration).

That brings me to the end, and I would like to conclude by saying that unhealthy food is okay every once in a while, but it is certainly better to keep a balanced diet, and stay active.

If you would also like to see some videos of interesting facts, here are some videos:

Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope to see more visitors popping up on my map.  Make sure to comment if you have any thoughts or questions; I’ll answer, so keep my URL!

Have a math-crammed day!


Ivo N.

(Two facts and two flops came from a book.  The facts come from Uncle John’s 24-Karat Gold Bathroom Reader on page 119, and the washouts are from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader, on page 42).

by posted under Learning, Researching | 4 Comments »    
4 Comments to

“The History of McDonald’s”

  1. December 5th, 2017 at 9:29 pm      Reply Trey Says:

    Hey Ivo,
    I enjoyed reading your history post. Most of these facts I had never heard of. You had so much information and I bet it took you a super long time to get all this. Good for you!
    Sincerely, Trey

    • March 1st, 2018 at 11:35 am      Reply Ivo Says:

      Hello, Trey.
      Thanks for commenting! I checked out your blog, and I found out that you like to scooter! When I was six, and on vacation in Bulgaria, I had a scooter, but I mostly biked around. Do you bike or scooter more often? Which do you find to be quicker? I would say a bike is faster. How about you?
      Well, thanks again for the lovely comment, and I will be checking out your blog!

      Ivo N.

  2. March 4th, 2018 at 9:34 pm      Reply Wendy Romero Says:

    Hiya Ivo !
    It is crazy how far back McDonald’s goes. I was already familiar with a lot of the facts you posted because I watched that movie that came out about the history of McDonald’s. What I did not know was all those crazy goods they tried to make and ended up being a flop. LOL. As the years have passed I became less of a fan of their food. It is like disgusting now. It is not the same as it used to be back in the day. That is actually good that you do not eat it so much. Home food is always better than fast food anyway !

    ADIOS ,
    Wendy 🙂

    • March 7th, 2018 at 1:35 pm      Reply Ivo Says:

      Hi, Wendy.
      I was surprised that the business started back in the 1950s! I actually haven’t watched that documentary, but I have carelessly scrolled past it on Netflix. I am thinking of watching it. I completely agree. Lobster… at McDonald’s? That belongs at a restaurant that sells food at MORE than $6.50.
      I am glad that you are a fan of healthy food, but unfortunately, their taste is great. It is tempting to eat, but if you look at the long run, you will think, “Ugh!”.
      Well, thanks for commenting on my blog, and I hope you have a math-crammed day.

      Ivo N.

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