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Matt Wong © 2003
Matt Wong © 2003
McDonald's History
Word of their success spread quickly, and a cover article on their operations in American Restaurant Magazine in 1952 prompted as many as 300 inquiries a month from around the country. Their first franchisee was Neil Fox, and the brothers decided that his drivein in Phoenix, Arizona would be the prototype for the chain they envisioned. The resulting red-and-white tile building with a slanting roof and the “Golden Arches” on the sides became the model for the first wave of McDonald’s restaurants to hit the country, and an enduring symbol of the industry.

The McDonald brothers actually designed the assembly line kitchen-twice as large as their original – by drawing an exact chalk diagram on their tennis court. They were able to place the equipment most efficiently after studying their crewmembers as they walked through their food preparation steps. Occasional rain bursts washed out the chalk, prompting them to redraw and refine their design. But the brothers – successful beyond their dreams in San Bernardino – were barely tapping the franchising potential of the business concept they had pioneered.

For as little as a thousand dollars, franchisees would receive the McDonald’s name, a basic description of their Speedy Service System, and the services of Art Bender, their original counterman at the new restaurant, for a week or two to get them started. But then, in 1954, a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc saw the McDonald’s operation first-hand. The fast food industry was about to take off.

PART 1 TIMELINE

Matt Wong © 2003