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Matt Wong © 2003
Matt Wong © 2003
McDonald's History
In the late 1940’s, Dick and Mac McDonald were searching for a way to improve their little drive-in restaurant business in San Bernardino, California. Rather than tinker with the business, which was bringing in a very comfortable $200,000 yearly, they invented an entirely new concept based upon speedy service, low prices, and big volume.

They did away with car-hops in favor of self-service at the counter. They ditched their 25-item barbecue menu in favor of a limited menu of just nine items: hamburger, cheeseburger, three soft-drink flavors, milk, coffee, potato chips, and pie, with french fries and milkshakes added soon after they resumed operations. They re-engineered their stainless steel kitchen for mass production and speed with assembly-line procedures. And they slashed the price of their hamburger from a competitive 30 cents to just 15 cents.

When the new McDonald’s re-opened in December of 1948, business took a while to build. But it soon became apparent that they had captured the spirit of post-war America. By the mid-1950s, their little hamburger factory enjoyed annual revenues of $350,000 – almost double the volume of their previous drive-in business at the same location. It was not unusual for 150 customers to crowd around the tiny hamburger stand during peak periods.

PART 2 TIMELINE

Matt Wong © 2003