McD’s Looks Good for 50

Discussion
Apr 15, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Fifty years to the day Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Ill., the fast food icon is opening a new restaurant in Chicago on the spot where the former Rock ‘n Roll McD’s stood.

Today, the chain’s restaurants are found in countries across the globe but still, as a report in the Asbury Park Press pointed out, McDonald’s remains “a uniquely American phenomenon, one in which capitalism, comfort food and speed all combine in a red and gold facsimile of the American dream.”

Moderator’s Comment: What has been McDonald’s impact on the food industry and American society?


A special webcast preview of the newest McD’s will be aired on the company’s Web site today from 10:00 — 10:30 a.m. Central Time. To register go to
http://www.iian.ibeam.com/events/mcdo001/13375/index.jsp
George Anderson – Moderator

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10 Comments on "McD’s Looks Good for 50"


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Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 10 months ago

McDonald’s gets its share (and maybe more than it deserves) of blame for the fattening of society, especially our youth. Yet, it also brought convenient, cheap, and fast food to our culture, which has enabled us to be a more “on the go” society. And, for all the criticism of the quality of its food, it’s no worse than the drive-ins which preceded it, and the consumer knows exactly what they get. Finally, for a buck, the double cheeseburger ain’t bad.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 10 months ago

From 1955 until today, more people have grown up with McDonald’s and its menu than any other influencing source, save their own family. This has established McDonald’s menu as the standard for what comfort food is to a great army of Americans. While not nutritious although tasty and economical, Mac’s offerings have shaped the pallets of younger consumers and made Mac the sustaining icon for comfort foods. McDonald’s is like “baseball” in “fast food Americana.”

Tatia Griffin
Guest
Tatia Griffin
15 years 10 months ago

All I have to say is read “Fast Food Nation.” McDonald’s has far reaching implications — way past comfort food. It has changed the way we farm and raise cattle. It has more influence in the way we produce food than the FDA.

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
15 years 10 months ago

It’s not McD’s fault that Americans don’t know when to quit eating. McDonald’s was and is a brilliant concept. More than any other company, it is responsible for the fast-food, car-oriented culture that has evolved in the U.S.

I believe McDonald’s is evolving. The company is constantly experimenting with new items, most of which never hit the menu. The problem is that people don’t often see what the company is doing because new items are tried out in just a few units.

Aside from that, we need a good fast food historian. Everyone talks about Illinois being the first McDonald’s. However, a few years ago in California (can’t remember the town outside L.A.) I visited what I was told was the first restaurant opened by the McDonald Brothers and the restaurant that first caught Ray Kroc’s imagination. Fascinating visit. Maybe someone can weigh in on this piece of history.

Steve Weiss
Guest
Steve Weiss
15 years 10 months ago
Ray Kroc discovered the McDonald’s Brothers drive-in when he was selling ice cream shake makers in California. He visited the restaurant because he wanted to know why any restaurant would need more than one of his machines (the brothers had ordered two). He bought the concept from the brothers and then opened his first restaurant in Illinois. Two interesting facts: 1) Southern California in the 1950’s was awash with returning G.I.’s who were looking to start their own businesses. The emerging car and disposable goods society was suited perfectly for the infancy of fast food and many of today’s household fast food names…McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., etc. …got their start in California at this time. McDonald’s, it seems to me, may well be more of a cultural effect than a cause and they are unfairly blamed for being Machiavellian when they are merely opportunistic. 2) It didn’t take Ray Kroc long to figure out that there was a lot less money in fries, burgers and shakes than there was in real estate. In its… Read more »
Paul Vogelzang
Guest
Paul Vogelzang
15 years 10 months ago

I certainly have my own fond memories of McD’s, their first arrival in my town, etc., but those memories don’t have much relevance to me now, and frankly, have been replaced by my own food conscientiousness. They’ve been blistered of late for “Super Size Me,” and the tragic news of their CEO, Jim Cantalaupo, passing away from a heart attack. Bloggers everywhere lit up their boards with posts relating the tragedy to the food. Horrible.

While the McD’s makeover seems in full swing, I can’t help but think that McD’s needs more of a wake up call, or be happy with growth from overseas, and irrelevance in the US.

rod taylor
Guest
rod taylor
15 years 10 months ago
When I was growing up on the Jersey Shore in the late 50’s, the family trek to the nearest McDonald’s twelve miles away was kiddy nirvana. These twice-yearly visits were the only time in my childhood that my siblings and I were ever allowed to have french fries or milk shakes with a meal. I remember distinctly reveling in the food while at the same time marveling at the inexpensiveness of it all. Decades before the NJ Turnpike authority started to allow fast food joints into their traffic oases, my adolescent brain wondered why we had to suffer through the slow service, mediocre food and high prices of the many Howard Johnson’s on the Turnpike, when McDonald’s was available. It’s not McDonald’s fault that America’s children have grown overweight eating their food. The fault lies with the parents who won’t cook at home, and who all to often substitute food for love. McDonald’s was, and is, a delightful indulgence and one I still enjoy at age 55. Having said that, it’s food should never be… Read more »
rod taylor
Guest
rod taylor
15 years 10 months ago

Len, the town in Southern California where the McDonald Brothers got their start was San Bernardino. Ray Kroc sold milkshake machines in the ’50’s and marveled at the quantity of machines he was selling to their one location. Curiosity got the best of him, and a personal visit to their restaurant convinced Kroc that he’d seen the future. The rest is history.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

In a word, phenomenal. Or transformational. They made eating out a habit rather than an extravagance. They implemented methods of mass production. They teased and tantalised and tempted millions of people who gave little or no thought to anything beyond instant gratification of their hunger pangs. They created a bridge between fast food and fast lifestyles; it was no longer necessary to sit down, in the comfort of one’s home (or a friend or loved one’s), to socialise and eat a meal. It could all be done on the run. Hurry hurry rush rush. What a way to make the world spin. And what a legacy for America.

Santi Briglia
Guest
15 years 10 months ago

A recent visit to a McDonald’s in Tønsberg, Norway revealed differences in the European model. A waiter brought our 4 Medium Big Mac meals to the table, and it all cost about $50 – over 100% more than my local store down the street. But the place was packed!

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