The Story of How McDonald’s First Got Its Start - Deepstash

Keep reading for FREE

The early working years of the MacDonald brothers

The early working years of the MacDonald brothers

In 1926, brothers Maurice and Dick MacDonald hoped to find fame in the industry of moving pictures. At first, they hauled sets and worked the lights during back-breaking shifts on silent film sets. But they were unable to move up in the behind-the-scene ranks of the business.

In 1930, after scrimping and saving, they purchased a theatre. To dissuade patrons from taking their own food to the movies, they installed a snack bar in the lobby.

70

793 reads

Moving from entertainment to food service

The McDonald brothers' theatre faltered during the lean years of the Depression, leaving the brothers always behind on their bills. In 1937, they sold the theatre and moved from entertainment to food service.

They made an open-air food stand and served fresh orange drinks and hot dogs in close proximity to a flying field. The venture was successful enough that they opened two more stands.

61

465 reads

A reincarnated establishment

The The McDonald brothers entertained a dream of a new establishment they'd call the Dimer but rejected the idea as too Depression-era. They were certain the future involved appealing to drivers.

After many rejections, the entrepreneurs secured a loan of $5,000, this time putting their surname on their roadside restaurant, followed by the featured menu item of "McDonald's Barbeque."

60

382 reads

The beginning of popular McDonalds

The beginning of popular McDonalds

  • A fleet of attractive young women outfitted in usherette uniforms delivered McDonald's Barbeque food directly to the customers' car.
  • After the war, drive-inns became increasingly popular and a minefield of unsavoury behaviour. Despite this, sales continued to increase.
  • In 1948, Dick and Mac decided to close their doors and reassess. They asked themselves how they could prepare hamburgers, fries and shakes as efficiently as possible and for maximum profit.

62

384 reads

Automation in food preparation

Following the enterprising family of Levitt that applied Ford's Model T-like assembly-line logic to building homes on New York's Long Island, the McDonald brothers decided to mimic this mentality in the preparation and serving of food.

  • They identified their best sellers and slashed their menu from twenty-five items to the nine most popular items. An automatic condiment dispenser was designed that squirted a precise amount of ketchup or mustard, and a mechanised press formed beef into patties.
  • The makeover included an assembly line of food preparation and less personnel. Customers had to get out of their cars and walk to the window to order, viewing the efficient kitchen where their food was being prepared.
  • The efficiency meant reduced operational costs, lower cost to the customers, and a handsome profit to the brothers. But customers despised it. The facelift was a disaster.

63

304 reads

Would-be imitators

Four months in, a turnaround occurred for no particular reason. Profits soon soared to $100,000 a year. The quality of food was not the main draw except, perhaps, for the crispy fresh potatoes.

Copycats arrived to study the operation in action. The details the imitators couldn't see, Dick and Mac shared cheerily. In 1952, the brothers ran an ad announcing that their "revolutionary development in the restaurant industry" was now available for sale to interested parties.

60

315 reads

McDonald's as a franchise

Instead of just paying a visit and stealing the idea, the more honest plunked down a $950 franchise fee for the formula. The first in line wanted to use McDonald's name of the stand he intended to build, saying he thought their name "lucky." He got an operating manual for his money, a counterman on loan for a week, and an architectural blueprint from which to build the restaurant.

A dairy supplier, hoping to encourage sales of ice cream, offered to replicate McDonald's nationwide. The brothers ultimately refused. They were happy with just selling the manual and blueprints.

61

337 reads

CURATED BY

joa_fu

Creator. Beer ninja. Travel lover. Twitter evangelist. Lifelong writer. Zombie expert.

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro

stash-superman-illustration

Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas

Anywhere

Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.

Join

2 Million Stashers

4.8

Stars

5,740 Reviews

App Store

4.7

Stars

72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

samz905

Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

FAQ

Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro

BLACK FRIDAY

75% OFF | 1-Year Pro Subscription

Claim Offer