Other Celebrities
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

McDonald Brothers

(Richard "Dick" McDonald, c.1909-1998.07.14, and Maurice "Mac" McDonald,     -1971)  Originators of the Speedy Service System and McDonald's restaurants.

Built first McDonald's franchised restaurant with Golden Arches in Phoenix

Contrary to popular belief, the first McDonald's franchise, and the first McDonald's to feature the infamous golden arches was located not in California, nor in Illinois. It was built right here in Phoenix, two years before Ray Kroc met the McDonald brothers.

McDonald's Arizona style.  The original Phoenix McDonald's at 4050 N. Central (just south of Indian School on the west side of Central) would have looked like the McDonald's located at 10207 Lakewood Blvd in Downey, CA.  Built in 1953, it is the world's oldest McDonald's and still serves guests at walk up windows under the Golden Arches invented for the Arizona facility.   The only other remaining original style McDonald's in California was built around 1960 in San Jose.

Gaudy red and white tile.  The McDonald brothers hired a local architect to design a distinctive store to serve as a prototype for the chain they wanted to build. The architect came up with a gaudy red and white tiled rectangular building with a roof that slanted sharply down from the front. The front half of the building was glass from counter to ceiling so customers could see the kitchen from the outside where they placed their orders. There was no inside seating.

Golden arches.  The architect's design lacked the most distinctive feature of the early franchise: the golden arches. The McDonalds thought the building lacked something, and penciled a huge arch, nearly twice the building's height, on each side. The architect was appalled. He told the brothers that if they insisted on keeping the arches, he would have nothing to do with the design. Fortunately, the brothers found a sign maker with no such aesthetic compunction who happily added the arches after the architect's work was done.

Richard "Dick" and Maurice "Mac" McDonald.  Photo from media.mcdonalds.com.

Name it "McDonald's."  The McDonalds sold their first franchise license to Phoenix gasoline retailer, Neil Fox, in 1952 for a one-time fee of $1,000. Once the "Speedy Service System" restaurant design was completed, the brothers anticipated no further connection with the operation, receiving no revenues from the store, and exercising no control. They expected Fox to call his store "Fox's". When he informed them that he wanted to call it "McDonald's", the brothers were floored.  "'What the hell for?" Dick McDonald asked Fox. "'McDonald's' means nothing in Phoenix."

The name "McDonald's" meant considerably more by 1998 when we checked the figures. It was the world's third most valuable brand name (behind Marlboro and Coca-Cola). There were more than 23,000 McDonald's restaurants worldwide. Its 12,300 stores in the U.S. gave it 42% of the nation's fast-food hamburger business, but 60% of its sales and profits came from other countries.

And what happened to the original McDonald's franchise site? The first building was replaced with the archless version of the 1960's, and that version has also been torn down. The McDonald's on Central has moved to the East side of the street, about 1/2 block South of the original site. The original restaurant has been joined by two more McDonald's on Central, and by more than 80 in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

First arches, then drive-thru windows.  Arizona was also the site of another first for McDonald's: The drive-thru window. Admittedly, McDonald's was far from the first hamburger restaurant to feature a drive-thru window.  In fact, McDonald's studiously avoided contaminating their system with such a device well into the 1970's.  That is, until the franchisee in Sierra Vista took the plunge.

Windows for fatigues.  The Sierra Vista drive-thru window was born of necessity.  The necessity was the sale of Big Mac's (introduced in 1968) and other McDonald's staples to soldiers stationed at the nearby Fort Huachuca (pronounced waa-choo-ka) army base.  Soldiers commonly worked on base in fatigues, and although they could drive from home onto the base, they were forbidden from entering non-military facilities in the dress-down uniform.  To buy hamburgers and fries (switched to frozen in 1972) to take home for the family, they would have to go home, change clothes and return to McDonald's for the purchase.  The Sierra Vista franchise operator thought that the appeal of even the Quarter-Pounder (introduced in 1972) might not be sufficient to entice the soldier to perform that exercise.

His solution was the first actual McDonald's drive-thru window service.  The window service was inaugurated on January 24, 1975.  It continued in operation until 1999 when the building was replaced with a newer, larger, modern McDonald's in a Southwest design--with the then standard drive-thru window, of course. 

Books about Arizona from amazon.com
Arizona For Dummies(r), 2nd Edition by Edie Jarolim
Arizona Goes to War: The Home Front and the Front Lines During World War II by Brad Melton (Editor), Dean Smith (Editor), Marshall Trimble (Introduction), John S. McCain
Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri, Thomas M. Myers
Roadside History of Arizona (Roadside History Series) by Marshall Trimble, Joe Beeler
Arizona: A Cavalcade of History by Marshall Trimble
Other Celebrities
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  
� Copyright 2005 by aroundaz.com This page was last revised on 02/13/06.