Friday, October 17, 2014




*  Special thanks to "Google Images", "Wikipedia", Getty Images, The Smithsonian Inst. McDonald's

McDonald Land Gang by DanielMead

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA

First we want to state clearly that this is in no way meant to be taken as advertising for the McDonald's hamburger franchise, but is a nostalgic look back at the history of the fast food franchise.  Many of us share a part of their history since many grew up enjoying much of the McDonald's culture.

McDonald's is probably the first restaurant we learned to love as children.  Their child sized hamburgers and cheeseburgers, their happy meals, those french fries, Chicken McNuggets, and ice cream treats are all just right for children.  Put them all together and no surprise they are a "Happy Meal"! Early in the franchises history McDonald's quickly seized the opportunity to cater their restaurants to their younger clientele with their "play land" and toy promotions.  McDonald's was just the right place for their parents to take the whole family for some great "USDA" approved food. There was something for everyone!


Richard "Dick" and Maurice "Mac" McDonald.  Photo from

It's been a long time now since the McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, opened their small modest hamburger stand during 1940.  San Bernardino, CA was the home to this fledgling company which would grow to become a world wide franchising leader..  The Brothers concept for their hamburger stand was loosely based on an earlier burger restaurant known as "White Castle".  McDonald's however developed the "Speedee Service System" which made hamburgers and other foods in their kitchen with assembly line precision.

The first McDonalds opened by the McDoland brothers in San Bernadino, CA.

A Brief Early Company History

Born in New Hampshire, the McDonald brothers moved to California in the 1920s and got into the restaurant business in the late 1930's. They opened a hot dog stand in Arcadia. (That's right folks, the original McDonald's restaurant served hot dogs, not burgers!)

In 1940, they opened McDonald's Barbeque Restaurant in San Bernardino. It did great, but more importantly it taught the brothers some important lessons about the fast-food service industry. The McDonald brothers shut down the restaurant for three months in 1948 to re-tool it.

With a slimmed-down menu and an emphasis on serving the chow as quickly and as cheaply as possible, the highly-mechanized drive-in began churning out 15-cent hamburgers with unprecedented speed. By
 1954, the McDonald brothers were operating nine outlets and had sold 21 franchises.
Two legends were already in place- the golden arches and the running tally of how many hamburgers had been sold. (Dick and Mac McDonald had originated the golden arches in 1953, wanting an attractive and appealing hallmark for their restaurants.)
It was then that Ray Kroc came calling. He convinced the McDonald brothers to hire him as their agent. Kroc founded his own corporation soon after and opened his first franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.

Within five years, McDonald's had opened 100 franchises and sold more than 100,000,000 hamburgers. McDonald's was growing by leaps and bounds, and not only in America. The popular chain soon went international with franchises opening (in order) in Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, France, El Salvador, and Sweden.

In 1961, Kroc bought the business from the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million dollars. But they lent their name to one of the most identifiable corporate brands on the planet. And few people realize that behind that name stand men who revolutionized food service as radically as Henry Ford revolutionized the production of cars.

Early concept Art for the architecture of a New McDonald's Hamburger Stand

Ray Kroc and the "Multimixer" which would be the emollient for franchising the business and has made McDonald's the largest restaurant franchiser in the world.  It is also one of the oldest.  Only a few names are older - "White Castle", "Big Boy's" and"Kentucky Fried Chicken". 

First McDonalds Franchise Recalls Fast-Food Giants Beginnings : News Photo

Old fashion Milk Shakes could be made with lightning quick efficiency using the paper cup in which they would be sold. This was a huge advance over the method used by other restaurants saving time and mixing utensils


The Golden Arches

Stanley Clark Meston (7 January 1910 — 30 December 1992) was an American architect most famous for designing the original McDonald's restaurants. In an article about the origin of McDonald's golden arches, architectural historian Alan Hess wrote: "Nationwide success and proliferation have obscured the origins and creators of [the arches] in Southern California. Its architect, Stanley Clark Meston, has virtually never been credited with his contribution to American architecture."  (Wikipedia)  
The Oldest McDonald's openwed in 1953, was the third stand built by the franchise lacated in Downey, CA.  This would be the franchise archatectural style until the late 1960's.

Here's another great McDonald's vintage print ad circa 1960's.

Original sign concept with the "Hamburger Man Speedee", and Burgers sold. 

Blue Print for early McDonald's

Fast Food was now the name of the game!  You see this transition in tastes in popular culture I think most vividly in the change of the McDonald’s prototype. In 1953 the prototype was Googie all the way — it was bright, shiny, bold colors, big arches, very dynamic upswept roof, neon, etc…”

Early McDonald's Grill Configuration - The cook time for meat patties on a flat grill is 125 seconds (2 minutes 5 seconds). The time to remove the patties from the side freezer, placing the patties on the grill, seasoning the patties, removing the patties to crowns and cleaning the grill will be assumed to range from 2 minutes 55 seconds to  3 minutes  55 seconds for a total production time of 5 minutes or 6 minutes.  At a production time of 6 minutes to cook 48 patties, 480 patties will be cooked in an hour.  At a production time of 5 minutes to cook 48 patties, 576 patties will be cooked in an hour.  If two flat grills were present, the production totals would be 960 and 1,152, respectively.  (Below) 

june martino mcdonald's
This image from the McDonald's Museum shows that there is enough room to cook 48 patties.  The introduction of dedicated bun toasters would allow 96 patties to be prepared on the grill.

McDonald's ad (Cincinnati Enquirier, 1961)
The “All American” was basically an early version of a combo meal. 45 cents in 1961 is worth about $3.51 these days, so the current price is actually comparable.

Judging from the archives McDonald's spawned some heavy competition in the $.15 cent hamburger drivein business. Ray Kroch and the McDonald Brothers took the company public on the NYSE in the mid 1950's and began opening other drive in's.   By 1959 McDonald's had sold it's 100th franchise. Kroc bought the Brothers share of the business in 1961 with his own plans to expand the franchise.

mcdonalds-hamburger-university-letter- elke grove 1
Hamburger University, Elk Grove. [Photo: McDonald's]
Ray Kroc, the man responsible for franchising the McDonald's Corporation, and ultimately making it the burger megalord the company is today, thought it smart to invest in the skills of his employees. He went all in with Fred Turner, McDonald's former senior chairman, to open the first school.
"For the quick-service restaurant industry, McDonald's was the first to have a training program like that," McDonald's archivist Mike Bullington says. "When you think about it, it's pretty amazing. The 1961 McDonald's was not what it is today."
There were 234 McDonald's locations in 1961. The menu included hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, shakes, soft drinks, coffee, and milk. (Items like the Filet-O-Fish and Chicken McNuggets weren't added until years later). There are currently over 35,000 locations in 119 different countries.

Oh yes:  and before we forget something else was added around this time. Ronald McDonald was created for the franchise by veteran Broadcaster Willard Scott who had just ended his "Bozo the Clown" children's program.  Willard would also continue to become the weatherman on the NBC morning program "TODAY".


But in the late-1960s,  McDonald’s introduced a new prototype which used brick as its walls and a mansard roof — a very traditional form. McDonald’s felt that it would appeal to their customers at this time, and it did. Those are some of the reasons why Googie eventually faded as a popular style. But then of course it’s resurrected as a popular style in the last 20 years or so.

McDonalds Tittabawassee Saginaw
McDonald’s Restaurant
2930 Tittabawassee Rd
Saginaw, MI 48604-9468

Many of the above pictured McDonald's were renovated from the older drivein style "Googie" restaurants keeping only the kitchen area and then adding the dining area and refacing the exterior.  This style would be the standard for many years.

McDonald's has continuously grown the their business adding new menu items and updating their restaurants.  It's always something new with them; more burgers and now breakfast.  A new coffee bar in addition to their great coffee. Now they are diversifying their look with a variety of new restaurant designs.  It is at this point we must conclude our story, simply because we all know how it ends and we are now basically up to date.  Besides; we are just to hungry to go on any further.  This is Felicity and I'm going to lunch.  By for now!

Mcdonalds Restaurant Flagship 50th Photograph in Chicago,IL -  2011
Check out the other McDonald's locations from around the world!

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* “The Noodleman Group” is pleased to announce that we are now carrying a link to the “USA Today” news site.We installed the “widget/gadget” August 20, and it will be carried as a regular feature on our site.Now you can read“Noodleman” and then check in to “USA Today” for all the up to date News, Weather, Sports and more!Just scroll all the way down to the bottom of our site and hit the “USA Today” hyperlinks.Enjoy!

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