Opening of the First McDonald’s Franchise by Ray Kroc

Opening of the First McDonald’s Franchise by Ray Kroc

The opening of the first McDonald’s franchise by Ray Kroc in Des Plaines, Illinois, marked the beginning of a new era in the fast-food industry. McDonald’s, originally a small drive-in restaurant founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, in 1940, gained nationwide and eventually global recognition due to Ray Kroc’s vision and franchising strategy.


  • Ray Kroc, a Multimixer milkshake machine salesperson, discovered the McDonald brothers’ successful and efficient fast-food operation in 1954. Impressed by their “Speedee Service System,” Kroc proposed to the McDonald brothers that they expand their business model across the United States through franchising. The brothers agreed, and Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.
  • The first day’s revenue at the Des Plaines location totaled $366.12.
  • Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s franchise (Store #1) was demolished in 1984, and a replica was built on the original site, which later became a museum.
  • Ray Kroc eventually bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million in 1961.
  • The original McDonald’s mascot was not Ronald McDonald but rather a chef named “Speedee,” symbolizing the fast service at the restaurant.

Effects on Pop Culture: The McDonald’s franchise has had an enormous impact on popular culture, influencing various aspects of society, including food, film, and advertising. Some examples include:

  • McDonald’s has become synonymous with fast food, shaping food culture worldwide and popularizing items such as the Big Mac and Happy Meal.
  • The company’s advertising campaigns, featuring memorable slogans and characters like Ronald McDonald, have left an indelible mark on popular culture.
  • The McDonald’s Monopoly game promotion has been a recurring event since 1987, attracting millions of customers and becoming a pop culture phenomenon.
  • Films such as “Super Size Me” (2004) and “The Founder” (2016) have explored different aspects of McDonald’s impact on society, from public health concerns to the story of Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers.

Prominent People Involved:

  • Ray Kroc: The driving force behind McDonald’s expansion and success, Kroc turned a small California-based operation into a global fast-food empire.
  • Richard and Maurice McDonald: The founders of the original McDonald’s drive-in, their innovative “Speedee Service System” laid the groundwork for modern fast-food service.

The opening of the first McDonald’s franchise by Ray Kroc in 1955 signaled the start of a fast-food revolution that has left a lasting impact on popular culture and food habits worldwide. McDonald’s rapid growth and success have influenced various aspects of society, from advertising and film to daily life, making it an iconic brand globally recognized.