History of Mc Donald's - Timeline


  • 1937: Patrick McDonald opens a hamburger and drinks stand called "The Airdrome" on historic Route 66 (now Huntington Drive) near the Monrovia Airport in Monrovia, California.
  • 1940: Brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald move The Airdrome building 40 miles (64 km) east to San Bernardino, California, where they open the first McDonald's restaurant, near U.S. Route 66, at West 14th St and 1398 North E St., on May 15. Its menu consisted of 25 items, mostly barbecue. As was common at the time, they employed around 20 carhops. It became a popular and highly profitable teen hangout, and it was directed by Eric VanDemark.
  • 1948: After noting that almost all of their profits came from hamburgers, the brothers closed the restaurant for several months to implement their innovative "Speedee Service System", a streamlined assembly line for hamburgers. The carhops are fired, and when the restaurant reopens it sells only hamburgers, milkshakes, and french fries. At 15 cents, the burgers are about half as expensive as at standard diners, and they are served immediately. The restaurant is extremely successful, and its fame is spread by word of mouth.
  • 1953: The McDonalds begin to franchise their restaurant, with Neil Fox the first franchisee. The second McDonald's opens in Phoenix, Arizona at N. Central Ave and Indian School Road. It is the first to feature the Golden Arches design; later this year the original restaurant in San Bernardino is rebuilt in the same style.
  • 1953: Third McDonald's restaurant opens, in Downey, California at the corner of Lakewood Blvd and Florence Avenue, and is the oldest McDonald's restaurant still in operation.
  • 1954: Entrepreneur and milkshake-mixer salesman Ray Kroc becomes fascinated by the McDonald's restaurant during a sales visit, when he learns of its extraordinary capacity and popularity. Others who had visited the restaurant and come away inspired were James McLamore, founder of Burger King, and Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell. After seeing the restaurant in operation, Kroc approaches the McDonald brothers, who have already begun franchising, with a proposition to let him franchise McDonald's restaurants outside the company's home base of California and Arizona, with himself as the first franchisee. Kroc works hard to sell McDonald's. He even attempts to prevail on his wartime acquaintance with Walt Disney, in the failed hope of opening a McDonald's at the soon-to-be-opened Disneyland.
  • 1955: Ray Kroc founds "McDonald's Systems, Inc." on March 2, as a legal structure for his planned franchises. Kroc opens the ninth McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, in suburban Chicago on April 15.
  • 1955: Ray Kroc hires Fred L. Turner (later CEO and Chairman) as a grillman in his store in Des Plaines.
  • 1958: McDonald's worldwide sells its 100 millionth hamburger.
  • 1958: First Tampa Bay Area location of McDonald's opens in Tampa, Florida.
  • 1959: The 100th McDonald's restaurant opens in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
  • 1959: McDonald's begins billboard advertising.

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