Tag Archives: McDonalds

Age of Innocence, 1955 – Disney and McDonalds in France

Walt Disney (2)

The year 1955 unleashed another American icon on the world when Walt Disney opened his Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California.

Sixteen years later the World Disney World resort opened in Orlando, Florida and although I have never been to California I went to Disney World three times in the 1990’s which was good fun but at least one time too many.  My young children enjoyed it of course but I tired of the theme parks fairly quickly and looking back I would have to say that my favourite was EPCOT and here in Walt’s own personal dream my favourite was the World Showcase.

EPCOT Future World

In 1955 Disney and McDonalds almost got together when Ray Kroc wrote to Walt Disney offering a deal: “I have very recently taken over the national franchise of the McDonald’s system. I would like to inquire if there may be an opportunity for a McDonald’s in your Disneyland Development.” The story goes that Walt was too busy to deal with the matter himself so he passed it on to the President in charge of concessions.  Allegedly he agreed but wanted to increase prices by 50% with all the extra profit going to Disney.  Kroc refused and it was to be another thirty years before they worked together.

I am not sure just how big a set back that was because since then McDonalds has globalised and like a giant tsunami swept into every continent  in the World, the company has more than 34,000 restaurants in 118 countries, with 1.8 million employees and serving nearly 69 million people.  Although a lot of us deny ever dining there most of us secretly do.

EPCOT France

The French are famously snooty about anything Gallic and they didn’t take very kindly to Micky Mouse when plans were revealed to open a Disney theme park in Paris and the proposal was a subject of fierce debate and controversy. Prominent French intellectuals denounced what they considered to be the cultural imperialism of Euro Disney and felt it would encourage in France an unhealthy American type of consumerism. For others, Euro Disney became a symbol of America within France. But they were powerless to stop it and it opened in April 1992.  There was one final act of defiance in June of the same year when a group of French farmers blockaded Euro Disney in protest of farm policies supported at the time by the United States.

Jose Bove

After language the French get most uptight about food and for McDonalds the battle for France was one of the most difficult.  The first outlet was opened in the Paris suburb of  Créteil in 1972 and in 1999 a farmer turned environmental activist and anti-globalisation protester Jose Bové gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘drive-thru’ when he vandalised a half built McDonald’s in the town of Millau in the south of France by driving a tractor into it.

At the time he was running for President and must have thought this would be popular with the French electorate but he was no match for Le Big Mac and this act of folly completely scuppered his chances. Most electorates don’t really want a vandal heading up their government. The first round of the presidential election was held  and Bové finished an embarrassing tenth, getting barely one percent of the total vote. By then, McDonalds was expanding rapidly in the land of classic cuisine and fine dining and had three hundred more than it had had when Bové began his high profile campaign.  The company was pulling in over a million people per day in France, and annual turnover was growing at twice the rate it was in the United States.  Against McDonald’s, Bové had lost in a landslide of burgers and nuggets.  He spent a few weeks in jail but he is now representative at the European Parliament

Even though the French still maintain that they despise the fast food chain and the concept an awful lot of people do eat there. Across France there are nearly twelve hundred restaurants and in Paris alone there are almost seventy restaurants under golden arches, with even more dotted around the outer suburbs. That’s much the same as London, but with only a third of the people.  McDonald’s, or “macdoh” as it is known, is France’s dirty secret.   In 2013 sales reached 4.46 billion euros.

mcbaguette

That is more than it generates in Britain and in terms of profit, France is second only to the United States itself and it has the most locations per capita in Europe and the fourth-highest rate in the world.  It is now so firmly a part of French culture that the menu includes McBaguette and Croque McDo and in 2009 McDonald’s reached a deal with the French museum, the Louvre, to open a McDonald’s restaurant and McCafé on its premises by their underground entrance.

In the world of national and international politics, in this year Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister in Great Britain and Juan Peron, who was famously married to Eva Duarte, or Evita as we popularly know her, was overthrown from power in a coup in Argentina.  Cardiff became the official capital of Wales, Austria was restored to the status of sovereign independent state and faithfully promised the world to remain forever neutral and the Soviet Union finally declared the end of the Second-World-War with Germany.

In sport the 1955 Le Mans disaster occurred during the 24 Hours motor race when a racing car involved in an accident flew into the crowd, killing the driver and eighty-two spectators which in terms of human casualties was, and hopefully always will be, the most catastrophic accident in the history of motor sport.

Mcdonalds France

 

Advertisements

Age of Innocence – 1955, The Unstoppable Force of McDonalds

DesPlaines McDonalds

Some World changing developments were happening around about the time of my first year, most of them in the United States where North America was emerging as the wealthiest and most progressive country in the World.

None more so than the hamburger.  The  original McDonald’s restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California in 1940, with a diner owned by two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald.  The present McDonald’s Corporation however dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois in April 1955.

mcdonald brothers

The McDonald brothers were interesting, some would say rather eccentric, characters who were inspired by the assembly line manufacturing method of Henry Ford in his car factories and in 1948 without warning they suddenly closed their traditional and popular establishment for several months and set about applying the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to only the essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which were produced on a continuous basis, rather than made to order, and with no alternatives on offer.  Basically just ‘take it or leave it’.  This was whole new idea that they called ‘fast food’ that went against all service conventions, which could be served to a formula, almost instantaneously and always with consistency.

They also removed any distractions like jukeboxes and payphones, so it wouldn’t become a hangout spot for young people and that there would be a continuous turnover of customers.

The brothers reduced labour costs because there were no waitresses and customers presented themselves at a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness and they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving only in paper bags with plastic knives and forks. Their introduction of the ‘Speedee Service System’ established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The original mascot of McDonald’s was a man with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger shaped head whose name was ‘Speedee.’

Speedee McDonald's

Ray Kroc was a middle-aged multi-mixer milkshake machine salesman and he was intrigued by an order from the McDonald brothers who had purchased eight of his Multi-Mixers, which to him seemed rather a lot for a small restaurant.  Immediately after visiting the San Bernandino restaurant he became convinced that he could sell exceptional numbers of mixers to every new restaurant that they opened, and so he offered the McDonald brothers a deal.

Although they were truly innovative the two brothers were not particularly ambitious and were they were satisfied with their one restaurant that provided them with a comfortable life and regular income.  But Ray Kroc realised the potential and with much bigger plans proposed a chain of new McDonald’s restaurants and he tried to convince them to expand the operation but eventually became frustrated with their lack of vision and  forced them into an agreement.

Kroc prepared a business proposal but insisted that he could not show all of the details to the potential investors so the agreement was made with a handshake (as opposed to a milkshake). The brothers dithered and Kroc became annoyed that they would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit.  Kroc closed the transaction and then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn’t in writing.  The McDonald brothers were clearly poor businessmen and no match for the ruthless Kroc, they even neglected to register the name McDonalds so to force the issue Kroc opened his new McDonald’s restaurant near the brothers diner which they were forced to change to “The Big M”.

In 1961, he finally purchased the company from the brothers. The agreement was for the McDonalds to receive $2.7 million for the chain and to continue to receive an overriding royalty of 1.9% on future gross sales  and very specifically 1.9% because when negotiating the contract the McDonald brothers said that 2% sounded greedy.

McDonalds didn’t reach the United Kingdom until 1974 and now there are over a thousand of them and the Company business plan is to open thirty new restaurants every year.  I don’t remember when I first started using McDonalds, probably at about the time my children started to request it as a dining option, and now, apart from the occasional breakfast bun, I would only use it if I am absolutely desperate!

One place where Kroc failed to make an impression was at Disneyland.  In 1955 he wrote to Walt Disney offering a deal: “I have very recently taken over the national franchise of the McDonald’s system. I would like to inquire if there may be an opportunity for a McDonald’s in your Disneyland Development.”  The story goes that Walt was too busy to deal with the matter himself so he passed it on to the President in charge of concessions.  Allegedly he agreed but wanted to increase prices by 50% with all the extra profit going to Disney.  Kroc refused and it was to be another thirty years before they worked together.

Ray Kroc with Burger

Age of Innocence, 1955 – Disease and the Origins of Obesity

1024px-Iron_lungs

In 1955 there was a major medical breakthrough with the introduction of a vaccine to prevent the spread of an illness that caused widespread panic and fear amongst parents.  Polio!

Polio, or to be strictly correct Poliomyelitis, is all but eradicated now, there are still some cases in Africa, but was previously right up there along with smallpox, cholera and tuberculosis with the World’s most deadly contagions.

Polio is a highly infectious and unpleasant disease that affects the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis or death. It is transmitted through contaminated food, drinking water and dirty swimming pool water.   Even though the disease had been around for much of human history, major polio epidemics were unknown before the twentieth century and only began to regularly occur in Europe in the early nineteenth century and soon after became widespread in the United States as cities got bigger and a lack of hygiene and poor sanitation created serious health hazards.

By 1910, much of the world experienced a dramatic increase in polio cases and frequent epidemics became regular events, primarily in these big cities during the summer months.  In the USA there was a major and devastating epidemic in 1952 and after the nuclear bomb it became the thing that most Americans feared most.  In the UK there were about four thousand recorded cases every year.  There was no known cure for the disease and it became an imperative to discover a vaccine so when this came along this was really good news and the World breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Vaccine

The man responsible was a medical researcher and virologist called Jonas Salk.  Salk was subsequently revered as though he were a Saint and, rather belatedly, on May 6, 1985, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that day to be ‘Jonas Salk Day’.

Just out of interest May 6th is now celebrated as ‘International No Diet Day’, thus encouraging another deadly health curse – obesity!

There were a number of forms of polio with varying degrees of seriousness but the one that you really didn’t want to catch was spinal polio which was a viral invasion of the motor neurons in the spinal column which rather importantly are responsible for movement of the muscles, including those of the body and the major limbs.

When spinal neurons die, degeneration takes place, leading to weakness of muscles, and with the destruction of nerve cells, they no longer receive signals from the brain or spinal cord and without nerve stimulation the muscles becoming weak, floppy and poorly controlled, and finally completely paralysed.  Progression to maximum paralysis is as quick as two to four days.

Not being a qualified doctor I have massively simplified the medical details here of course but one thing that was absolutely certain was that polio was a very nasty business indeed and parents were understandably worried sick about it because if you caught it at best you would spend the rest of your life in leg irons or at worst in an iron lung (or to give it tits proper name a negative pressure ventilator).

The vaccine was administered by an especially nasty injection which if you were unlucky left an ugly crater in the top of the arm, but that was a small price to pay for peace of mind.  Later it was administered orally with a few drops on a sugar cube but I suspect health and obesity fanatics would frown upon that now. Thankfully, polio is now practically unheard of in those countries that use the vaccine.

Polio wasn’t the only killer of course and there were also vaccines and injections for other unpleasant nasties like smallpox, typhoid and tuberculosis.  I can still remember the mere mention of suspected smallpox leading to mild panic by my mother.  And then there were the common children’s diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox which could also be killers themselves but generally just made you feel rather poorly for a day or two.  To protect against them there were regular trips to the doctor’s surgery for injections against them all and there were so many pricks in your arm that by the time you were six years old your arm began to look a bit like a needle worker’s pin cushion.

So the nightmare of polio was under control but then, also in 1955, a man called Ray Kroc came along unleashed a new monster and the beginning of the western world obesity problem when he opened the ninth McDonalds franchise restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois, which eventually led to the McDonalds Corporation and world domination by the hamburger giant.

More about this next time…

Ray Kroc

Scrap Book Project – Birthday Parties

These days a children’s birthday party is sensibly more often than not held at a venue away from the family home, at a McDonalds restaurant, the local sports centre or for the rich kids in a marquee in the garden, catering is left to someone else and the entertainment is all provided.  This is sensible because it stops the house being trashed and you don’t have to be CRB checked before you can let the kid’s friends through the front door.

It wasn’t always like this and in the 1950s and 1960s the only real option for a birthday party was at home.  If it was a summer birthday you might have been lucky enough to get away with having it in the garden but generally speaking it was inside and there was an almost absolute certainty that the house was going to be turned upside-down and if you were really unlucky completely demolished.

Planning stared early with an agreement on numbers and the writing of invitation cards.  At school class sizes in the 1960s could be well over forty pupils and most children expected to invite at least half of these, for boys this meant all the rowdy boys and then the prettiest girls, I’m not sure how girls themselves made their selections, I don’t think they invited many boys.  Mum would do the menu and the catering estimates and dad would make sure that he would be working late that night.

Invites were handed out at school and this was a good way of measuring individual popularity.  If you could achieve about fifteen invites a year you were doing pretty well, only one or two and you had to worry about personal hygiene or personality issues.  It was the same sort of thing at Christmas when the classroom had a post box where on the run up to end of term we used to put all of our cards and then on the last day the box was opened and the teacher played post mistress for half an hour or so.  The pretty girls always needed a wheelbarrow to take their cards home but there were always one or two kids in the class who only got one or two and they were probably off each other!

If it was a week day the party would start soon after end of school and if it was a weekend then about mid afternoon.  Weekend parties were never popular with dads because first of all they had to be there and secondly it interfered with Grandstand on the television.  Boys never made any special sort of effort and certainly didn’t change out of their school clothes but the girls generally had a special party frock, a best ribbon for their hair and a little pastel coloured (usually pink) fine woollen cardigan.

The event usually started quite quietly and well disciplined and there was a stream of children coming to the house and handing over a birthday card and a little cheap gift and most people were well behaved while presents were unwrapped and shown around the rapidly increasing number of guests.  After that there may have been time for a quick party game but generally speaking it was straight on to the tea.

All of the food was prepared by hand and cooked by mum and there was no cheating by buying Tesco party packs or Marks and Spencer ready prepared platters.  Sandwiches were the basic ingredient of the birthday party tea, cheese, egg and spam usually and there weren’t any crisps or other such snacks because they simply didn’t exist in the way they do today.  Smith’s crisps were the variety I remember but they were unflavoured and had a little pinch of salt in a piece of blue greaseproof paper in the bottom of the bag.  There were home made cheese straws and sometimes a bit of salad but this was rarely popular.  Then there would be some home made fairy cakes, jelly and strawberry blancmange and then the birthday cake with candles to be blown out while the guests sang ‘Happy Birthday to you’ with increasingly alternative lyrics as each year went by.

Birthday party 01

After the tea the real fun began when a couple of adult helpers would organise the party games while mum had a silent break-down in the kitchen over the washing up.  Games usually started with something reasonably sedate like pass the parcel and this was good for grown–ups because it meant everyone was sitting down and under control.  After that things got a bit more boisterous as we moved on to Blind Man’s Bluff, pin the tail on a donkey, musical statues and hide-and-seek.  There was a prize for the winner of each game and as everyone got more and more excited danger levels began to rise into the red zone.  The final game was usually musical chairs; it wasn’t always intended to be the last game but this was the one where the most damage could be done with kids chasing around the house, fighting for a chair and furniture flying about the room.  As soon as the inevitable happened and something got broken or one of the girls got hurt and there were tears that usually triggered the end of the party announcement.

Mum was usually glad to see the back of everyone and party guests put on the coats and shoes and were shown the back door.  And this was another thing that was different from today because parents didn’t come to collect their children and they just wandered off into the street and made their own way home.  Unbelievable that, it would never be allowed today!

Birthday parties carried on like this until we were about ten years old by which time they were becoming a bit soppy for boys and with kids growing up the potential for damage was becoming an increasing risk so parents were becoming less inclined to want to host the equivalent of a rugby scrum charging about the best room and causing chaos.  Birthday parties started to be replaced by a trip to the pictures or a football match with a couple of special friends, parents sighed with relief and the whole thing was pretty much over and a thing of the past by the time we finished junior school and moved on to secondary education.

Birthday Parties

These days a children’s birthday party is sensibly more often than not held at a venue away from the family home, at a McDonalds restaurant, the local sports centre or for the rich kids in a marquee in the garden, catering is left to someone else and the entertainment is all provided.  This is sensible because it stops the house being trashed and you don’t have to be CRB checked before you can let the kid’s friends through the front door.

It wasn’t always like this and in the 1950s and 1960s the only real option for a birthday party was at home.  If it was a summer birthday you might have been lucky enough to get away with having it in the garden but generally speaking it was inside and there was an almost absolute certainty that the house was going to be turned upside-down and if you were really unlucky completely demolished.

Planning stared early with an agreement on numbers and the writing of invitation cards.  At school class sizes in the 1960s could be well over forty pupils and most children expected to invite at least half of these, for boys this meant all the rowdy boys and then the prettiest girls, I’m not sure how girls themselves made their selections, I don’t think they invited many boys.  Mum would do the menu and the catering estimates and dad would make sure that he would be working late that night.

Invites were handed out at school and this was a good way of measuring individual popularity.  If you could achieve about fifteen invites a year you were doing pretty well, only one or two and you had to worry about personal hygiene or personality issues.  It was the same sort of thing at Christmas when the classroom had a post box where on the run up to end of term we used to put all of our cards and then on the last day the box was opened and the teacher played post mistress for half an hour or so.  The pretty girls always needed a wheelbarrow to take their cards home but there were always one or two kids in the class who only got one or two and they were probably off each other!

If it was a week day the party would start soon after end of school and if it was a weekend then about mid afternoon.  Weekend parties were never popular with dads because first of all they had to be there and secondly it interfered with Grandstand on the television.  Boys never made any special sort of effort and certainly didn’t change out of their school clothes but the girls generally had a special party frock, a best ribbon for their hair and a little pastel coloured (usually pink) fine woollen cardigan.

The event usually started quite quietly and well disciplined and there was a stream of children coming to the house and handing over a birthday card and a little cheap gift and most people were well behaved while presents were unwrapped and shown around the rapidly increasing number of guests.  After that there may have been time for a quick party game but generally speaking it was straight on to the tea.

All of the food was prepared by hand and cooked by mum and there was no cheating by buying Tesco party packs or Marks and Spencer ready prepared platters.  Sandwiches were the basic ingredient of the birthday party tea, cheese, egg and spam usually and there weren’t any crisps or other such snacks because they simply didn’t exist in the way they do today.  Smith’s crisps were the variety I remember but they were unflavoured and had a little pinch of salt in a piece of blue greaseproof paper in the bottom of the bag.  There were home made cheese straws and sometimes a bit of salad but this was rarely popular.  Then there would be some home made fairy cakes, jelly and strawberry blancmange and then the birthday cake with candles to be blown out while the guests sang ‘Happy Birthday to you’ with increasingly alternative lyrics as each year went by.

After the tea the real fun began when a couple of adult helpers would organise the party games while mum had a silent break-down in the kitchen over the washing up.  Games usually started with something reasonably sedate like pass the parcel and this was good for grown–ups because it meant everyone was sitting down and under control.  After that things got a bit more boisterous as we moved on to Blind Man’s Bluff, pin the tail on a donkey, musical statues and hide-and-seek.  There was a prize for the winner of each game and as everyone got more and more excited danger levels began to rise into the red zone.  The final game was usually musical chairs; it wasn’t always intended to be the last game but this was the one where the most damage could be done with kids chasing around the house, fighting for a chair and furniture flying about the room.  As soon as the inevitable happened and something got broken or one of the girls got hurt that usually triggered the end of the party announcement.

Mum was usually glad to see the back of everyone and party guests put on the coats and shoes and were shown the back door.  And this was another thing that was different from today because parents didn’t come to collect their children and they just wandered off into the street and made their own way home.  Unbelievable that, it would never be allowed today!

Birthday parties carried on like this until we were about ten years old by which time they were becoming a bit soppy for boys and with kids growing up the potential for damage was becoming an increasing risk so parents were becoming less inclined to want to host the equivalent of a rugby scrum charging about the best room and causing chaos.  Birthday parties started to be replaced by a trip to the pictures or a football match with a couple of special friends, parents sighed with relief and the whole thing was pretty much over and a thing of the past by the time we finished junior school and moved on to secondary education.

San Bernadino and The First McDonald’s Restaurant

First McDonalds

Although the original McDonald’s restaurant started in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, the present McDonald’s Corporation dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.

The brothers were interesting, some would say eccentric, characters who were enthused by the assembly line manufacturing method of  Henry Ford in his car factories and in 1948 they suddenly closed their traditional and popular restaurant for several months and set about applying the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to only the essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which were produced on a continuous basis, rather than made to order, and with no alternatives on offer.  This was whole new idea that they called ‘fast food’, which could thus be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently.

The brothers reduced labour costs because henceforth there were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving only in paper bags. Their introduction of the ‘Speedee Service System’ established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The original mascot of McDonald’s was a man with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger shaped head whose name was ‘Speedee.’

Kroc was a multi-mixer milkshake machine salesman, travelling across the country and he was intrigued by an order from the McDonald brothers who had purchased eight of his Multi-Mixers, which to him seemed rather a lot for a small restaurant.  Immediately after visiting the San Bernandino restaurant he became convinced that he could sell mixers to every new restaurant that they opened, and so he offered the McDonald brothers a deal.

Although they were truly innovative the two brothers were not particularly ambitious and were they were satisfied with their one restaurant that provided them with a comfortable life.  But Ray Kroc realised the potential and with much bigger plans proposed a chain of new McDonald’s restaurants and he tried to convince them to expand the operation but eventually became frustrated with the brothers’ lack of vision and their willingness to accept their chain having only a handful of restaurants and he forced them into an agreement.

Because Kroc insisted that he could not show the royalty to the investors he had lined up to capitalize his purchase the agreement was made with a  handshake with split appreciation between the parties .  When it came time to close the deal Kroc became annoyed that the brothers would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit.  The brothers had told Kroc that they were giving the operation, property and all, to the founding employees.  Kroc closed the transaction and then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn’t in writing.  The McDonald brothers consistently told Kroc that he could make changes that he wanted but despite Ray’s requests, the brothers never sent any formal letters which legally approved the changes in the chain.  To force the issue Kroc opened a new McDonald’s restaurant near the brothers restaurant (now renamed “The Big M” because they had neglected to retain rights to the name) to force it out of business.

In 1961, he finally purchased the company from the brothers. The agreement was for the McDonalds to receive $2.7 million for the chain (enough to pay each brother $1 million each after taxes) and to continue to receive an overriding royalty of 1.9% on future gross sales  and specifically 1.9% because when negotiating the contract the McDonald brothers said that 2% sounded greedy.

The Assembly Line and McDonalds Restaurants

Henry Ford introduced the concept of the assembly line and he revolutionised modern transportation but as a consequence of this he also helped introduce the fast food restaurant.  In 1955, an American businessman with a sharp eye for an opportunity called Ray Kroc unleashed a restaurant revolution and the beginning of the western world obesity problem when he opened the ninth McDonalds franchise restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois, which eventually led to the McDonalds Corporation and world domination by the hamburger giant.

Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman and his work brought him into contact with the two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, at their innovative hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino in California when he became intrigued by the volume of sales at a relatively small restaurant and went to visit them to understand why.  The brothers were interesting characters who were inspired by the assembly line manufacturing method of Henry Ford and in 1948 they had temporarily closed their successful but traditional restaurant for several months for a refit and when it reopened some time later had applied the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to the bare essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which rather than made to order were produced on a continuous basis and with no alternatives offered.  Food could therefore be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently, a new idea that they called “fast food”.  There were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and to save on the washing-up they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving orders in simple paper bags.

The two brothers were not particularly ambitious however and they were quite satisfied with their single successful restaurant and the comfortable life that it provided for them but Ray Kroc saw the potential of the idea and wanted to have even more new McDonalds (more restaurants = more milk shake machine sales) and he pressed them to expand the operation.  Eventually he lost patience with them and forced the brothers out of business by opening a rival diner in competition that he called McDOnalds (similar but not quite the same) right on the other side of the street.  The small restaurant of the two brothers lost a lot of their customers and Ray Kroc bought them out in 1961 for $2.7 million, which was a tidy sum in 1961.

McDonalds didn’t reach the United Kingdom until 1974 and now there are over a thousand of them and the Company business plan is to open thirty new restaurants every year.  I don’t remember when I first started using McDonalds, probably at about the time my children started to request it as a dining option, and now, apart from the occasional breakfast bun, I would only use it if I am absolutely desperate!

McDonald’s restaurants are now operating in 119 countries and territories around the world and serve 58 million customers each day. It operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 1.5 million people.

Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…