Here Is The First McDonald's Menu From 70 Years Ago

McDonald’s initially was a small drive-in restaurant that served a limited menu of burgers, fries, and shakes
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McDonald's is one of the world's most well-known fast food chains, with over 37,000 locations in more than 100 countries. It was founded in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California. The brothers initially opened a small drive-in restaurant that served a limited menu of burgers, fries, and shakes.

The First McDonald's Menu
The First McDonald's Menu

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From a Limited Selection to a Wide Range of Options

The original McDonald's menu was quite limited, with just nine items: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, three types of soft drinks, milk, coffee, potato chips, and a slice of pie.

There are a few reasons why the prices were much lower on the original McDonald's menu compared to today. One of the main reasons is inflation. Over time, the cost of goods and services tends to increase, which means that the same items that cost 15 cents in 1940 would cost significantly more in today's dollars due to inflation.

The first McDonald's restaurant
The first McDonald's restaurant

Another reason for the lower prices on the original menu is that the menu itself was much more limited. The first McDonald's restaurant only offered a handful of items, whereas today's McDonald's menus have a much wider selection of items to choose from. This means that today's McDonald's restaurants have higher overhead costs and need to charge more for their items in order to cover these costs and remain profitable.

Additionally, the original McDonald's restaurant was a much simpler operation than today's McDonald's restaurants. The first McDonald's restaurant did not have drive-thru service, for example, which is a major source of revenue for many modern McDonald's restaurants. This lack of additional services and amenities helped keep the prices low on the original menu.

A Journey to Becoming a Global Fast Food Giant

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As time goes by, McDonald’s made a lot of improvements in many areas. It improves its kitchen operation, added new menu, and opened new branches across the countries, and eventually the world. Here are a chronological story of McDonald’s journey to become one of the largest and most successful fast food chains in the world:

  • In 1948, the McDonald’s brothers implemented the "Speedee Service System," which streamlined the kitchen operations and allowed for faster service. This system became the foundation for the modern McDonald's restaurant.
  • In 1954, Ray Kroc, a milkshake machine salesmanperson, visited the McDonald brothers' restaurant and was impressed with their efficient operations. He became a franchise agent and helped the brothers expand their business across the country.
  • In 1955, Kroc opened his own McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, which became the first McDonald's franchise. The restaurant featured the iconic golden arches and offered a larger menu, including the famous Big Mac.
  • Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, McDonald's continued to expand globally, opening restaurants in various countries and introducing new menu items such as the Filet-O-Fish and the Happy Meal.
  • Today, McDonald's is one of the largest and most successful fast food chains in the world, with over 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Despite its massive success, the company remains true to its origins, continuing to focus on providing fast and affordable food to customers.

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