This Day in Business History: McDonald’s Opens First Franchise

April 15, 1955: Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, having purchased the rights to franchise the restaurant across the country from the founders, Maurice and Richard McDonald.  To announce the grand opening, Kroc ran in add in the Des Plaines Journal, advertising “speedee service” and “plenty of free parking,” along with 15 cent hamburgers, 19 cent cheeseburgers, 20 cent malt shakes, and 10 cent sodas. The first day’s sales were $366.12. Within four years, Kroc had opened his 100th franchise with a restaurant in Fond de Lac, Wisconsin.  Kroc brought the company from the brothers in 1961 for 2.7M.

McDonald’s was established in San Bernadino, California in 1940 by the McDonald brothers as a BBQ restaurant. In 1948, they rebranded the concept, focusing on burgers, shakes, potato chips, and pie. The original Des Plaines McDonald’s was demolished in 1984, but a museum sits on the site now, built according to the original blueprints with some modifications to accommodate Museum visitors and staff. When you visit the museum you can also see Speedee, the mascot that acted as the predecessor to Ronald McDonald, who became the mascot in 1967.

And just in case you are wondering, as of September 2014, McDonald’s sells 6.4M hamburgers per day worldwide, which works out to 75 hamburgers every second!

Sources: McDonald’s Company Website,  Chicagoist, Huffington Post,


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Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s



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