Weeks ago we talked about British culinary icon, the Cadbury’s chocolate.
Today we’ll talk about American culinary icon the McDonald’s hamburgers!
1937: Patrick McDonald opened a food and drinks stand called The Airdrome near the Monrovia Airport, California.
3 years later, The Airdrome was moved by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald to San Bernardino.
This became the first McDonald’s restaurant. They had 25 items in their menu, mostly barbequed stuff.
1948: The brothers noticed that their biggest profit came from hamburgers. They figured out an innovative way to sell it.
They invented the Speedee Service System, a system where burgers are being cooked in assembly line like in a factory.
The new McDonald’a then reopened with only 3 menus: Hamburgers, milkshake, and french fries.
1952: The brothers hired architect Stanley Clark Meston to redesign their restaurant.
Meston and his assistant then came up with perhaps one of the most legendary design ever.
1954: Entrepreneur and milkshake-mixer salesman Ray Kroc visited a McD outlet.
Kroc was then known as the person who turned McD from a small family business to a big corporation.
Under his leadership, McD continued to open new franchises in the US.
1961: The brothers agreed to sell business rights to Kroc. This did not leave a happy ending for them.
They were the true founders of McD but were left with only 1 outlet after the purchase.
They cannot compete and went out of business.
1963: Kroc created a new marketing strategy targeting children and families.
First they tried to sponsor a TV show called Bozo the clown, but it was cancelled.
They decided to create their own character: Ronald McDonald!
This was the first design:
1968: The Big Mac was first introduced in Pittsburgh.
The first Southeast Asian country to have a McD was Singapore in 1979.
How about Indonesia? The first McD was opened at Sarinah Thamrin, Jakarta in early 1990s.
Why? Because they were not allowed to enter a restaurant while still in official uniform. So a drive-thru is a solution.
1979: Happy Meal was introduced. The bonus toy was a Star Trek toy.
From 1988-2008, McD had partnership with Disney to provide toys for the Happy Meal.
But in 2008, Disney reportedly ended the partnership because they want to promote healthier eating habit. Oops.
1984: Ray Krox passed away after a heart failure.
At the same time, tragedy happened in a McD outlet in San Ysidro. A man killed 21 people inside the outlet with guns.
1987: An airplane crashed a McD outlet in Germany. Killing 14 people in general.
The first McD opened in Moscow, then Uni Soviet, followed by other Eastern European countries.
1992: McD opened in Morocco, their first outlet in Africa.
McD was not without critics. There were concerns esp. related to health.
2000: Journalist Eric Schlosser published “Fast Food Nation: the Dark Side of All-American Meal.”
He criticised McD’s use of chemical flavouring and unfair treatment to cattles and chickens.
He also criticised McD’s attempt to market fast food to children.
Does it stop people from eating McD? No, though their profit is decreasing from time to time.