Today in History (May 15th): McDonald’s launched its very first restaurant.

Here’s a brief history of how it all started:

The first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by brothers Maurice (“Mac”) and Richard McDonald in San Bernardino, California. It originally was a drive-in that offered a wide selection of items.

However, in 1948 the brothers decided to revamp the business, and after a three-month renovation, a newly envisioned McDonald’s opened. The small restaurant was designed to produce huge quantities of food at low prices.

To achieve this, the brothers limited the menu—which only featured hamburgers, potato chips (later replaced by french fries), drinks, and pie—and developed a simple, efficient format that they named the Speedee Service System. This included a self-service counter that eliminated the need for waiters and waitresses, and customers received their food quickly because hamburgers were cooked ahead of time, wrapped, and warmed under heat lamps.

These innovations allowed the brothers to charge just 15 cents for a basic hamburger, about half the price of competing restaurants. McDonald’s was a huge success, and the brothers began a franchise program.

McDonald’s, is one of the most successful brands in marketing history. The Company headquarters are in Chicago.

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