Updated May 14, 2022

History of Fast Food

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History of Fast Food essay
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¨Do you want fries with that?¨ People hear this whenever they get fast food. This new type of food became popular right after WWII. One of the reasons fast food became popular was due to the rapid service. Customers loved how you would get your food so quickly. The McDonald brothers boasted how you could get your food in 20 seconds{Cai}. Another reason fast food became popular was due to the reasonable prices. Customers loved the cheap prices only paying around 15 cents per item. Another factor on how fast food became so popular was the quality of the food for such a cheap price. By no means is fast food “quality” but it is quality for such a cheap price. Fast food rose to popularity because of the rapid service, inexpensive cost, and the taste of the food.

McDonalds played a crucial role in developing the popularity of fast food. Since more highways were built, the McDonald brothers wanted to build a restaurant that had cheap prices and fast service. In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened “McDonald’s Famous Barbeque.” This restaurant was located in San Bernardino, California. In 1948, the brothers changed the name to “McDonalds.” The 1948 menu only had nine items. {The brothers prepared orders using an assembly line system Green 7}. Soon, the brothers opened more restaurants and put a pair of golden arches at each restaurant. The golden arches attracted more customers because the golden arches can be seen easily from the highway.

Ray Kroc was born on October 5, 1902. Ray played an important role in the development of McDonalds. In 1939, Ray Kroc started the “Malt- A- Mixer” company.{He sold more than 9,000 Multimixers a year in cities around the country Mattern 10}. In 1954, McDonalds discovered Ray. Ray Kroc sold 8 Multimixers to McDonalds. This surprised Ray so he traveled to McDonalds. Ray saw how many customers were there and he wanted to build more restaurants across the country. He told the brothers he wanted to build thousands of more restaurants but the brothers didn’t want to. The brothers said they did not want the responsibility. Then soon enough, the brothers sold McDonalds to Kroc for $2.7 million. The brothers sold Ray the rights to open McDonald’s Franchises. Ray opened his first McDonalds on April 5, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. On opening day, Ray made just over $366. In Ray’s first year, he made 18 franchises. On January 14, 1984, Ray Kroc passed away. He had a major impact on the start of McDonalds.

When McDonalds started becoming a bigger chain, they started adding more and more foods that the customers wouldl enjoy. In 1967, Jim Delligatti invented the Big Mac. The Hot Apple Pie dessert was added to the menu in 1968. In 1970, the Shamrock Shake was invented. It is only sold in February and March for St. Patrick’s Day. The Egg-McMuffin was added in 1971. This was the first breakfast item on the McDonald’s menu. The full breakfast menu was added in 1976. McDonalds wanted more reasons for parents to bring their kids to their restaurant. So in 1979, Happy Meals were added to the menu. In 1983 Chicken McNuggets were invented. McDonalds added salads to the menu in 1987 so customers would have healthier choices for food. The dollar menu was added in 2002. McCafe Real Fruit Smoothies were added in 2010. McDonalds has definitely added many ways that have improved the menu.

McDonalds has come a long way since 1948. Here is the history of how McDonalds became an international chain. If the brothers had not sold the chain to Ray Kroc, it would not have become an international chain because the brothers did not want to build more restaurants. After the brothers sold Ray the franchise, he built many restaurants in the United States. In 1967, the first international McDonalds was opened in Canada and Puerto Rico. In 1975, the first drive thru McDonalds was opened in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In 2011, 119 countries had a McDonalds. Different countries have very different types of food on the menu. Switzerland has macaroons and the United Kingdom has fish fingers. In 1948, nobody would have thought McDonalds would have become so big. But now, McDonalds is one of the biggest fast food chains in the world.

McDonalds was not the only fast food chain around back then. There were some even before McDonalds. Some people think White Castle was the first fast food chain. White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. White Castle introduced sliders. White Castle built their restaurants so customers could see their food being prepared{Wilson}. White Castle was not exactly like McDonalds, but it was still similar. “White Castle played an important role in the development of fast food.” Even more restaurants like KFC, Carl’s Jr., and Jack In The Box were around before McDonalds. After McDonalds was created, these restaurants adapted to the Speedee Service System. Burger King and Taco Bell opened in the 1950’s. Wendyś opened in 1969. Fast food was really getting popular in the 1950’s.

All fast food chains have a founder. Carl Karcher founded Carl’s Jr. S. Wilber Hardee founded Hardees. Glen Bell founded Taco Bell, and Dave Thomas founded Wendy’s. Dave Thomas was an orphan and a high school dropout{Chandler 63}. These people played very important roles in the development of fast food.

Dick Portillo created Portillos and he is now one of the most successful people in the world. Dick wanted to create something more unique than McDonalds and Wendy’s. This led him to his success by making something unique. By 1988, there were 16 Chicagoland Portillo’s locations. The average Portillos has higher sales than the average McDonalds, and Portillos does not serve breakfast. On August 1, 2014, Dick sold the company and he was worth over a billion dollars. {I am a multi-millionaire who sold his first hot dog without ever tasting it or knowing how to steam a bun{Portillo 117}. Just by making something more unique led to his success.

Fast food led to many people becoming obese. A man named Sam ate fast food 3 or 4 times a week, which deeply affected his diet. Sam also drank 2 quarts of soda a day. Sam’s eating habits were by no means unusual at his high school{Schlosser 204}. From all the fast food he ate, Sam was almost 300 pounds at age 16. There are almost 50 million Americans that are obese, mainly due to fast food.

Fast food mainly became popular because more restaurants were being built, fast food had fast service, and it was inexpensive. Customers loved these factors, and more and more people bought fast food.

There were many reasons fast food became popular. The 3 main points were the service, taste of the food, and the cost. Fast food has become popular for many things, not just one restaurant. Many things had to happen in order for fast food to become popular. Fast food is a major part of the food industry and it has an interesting history.

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