The first McDonald's opened 77 years ago today - here's what it was like


McDonald's had humble beginnings.


What is now the biggest fast-food chain in the world began as a small hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, 77 years ago on May 15, 1940.

Two brothers, Dick and Maurice "Mac" McDonald, opened the stand as "McDonald's Bar-B-Q."

They later shut it down and reopened it in 1948, with a pared-down menu of just nine items, including hamburgers ($0.15) cheeseburgers ($0.19 cents) and drinks, such as coffee, Coca-Cola, and Orangeade, for $0.10.

Here's a picture of the stand from 1948:


First McDonald's burger stand


In 1954, the stand caught the attention of Ray Kroc, an Illinois businessman who sold milkshake mixers.

Kroc had received a "huge" order of eight mixers from the brothers and he was intrigued, according to McDonald's. Kroc went to California to check out the business and "was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation."

Kroc convinced the brothers to give him franchise rights to their business, which he acquired in 1955. He opened the first McDonald's franchise, pictured below, in 1955 in Des Plaines, Ill.

First McDonald's franchise


Ray Kroc's original McDonald's in Des Plaines, Ill., is seen, Nov. 18, 1982.

The restaurant's sales on its first day totaled $366, according to the company.

An undated photo of Kroc below shows him standing in front of what appears to be a rendering of the Des Plaines restaurant.


By 1958, McDonald's had sold 100 million hamburgers and two years later, Kroc bought exclusive rights to the McDonald's name.

The company began rapidly building new restaurants and in 1965, there were 700 McDonald's restaurants throughout the US.



Edward H. Rensi, president of McDonald's USA, left, watches Dick McDonald enjoy the 50 billionth hamburger cooked and served by Rensi in New York City, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 1984. McDonald and his brother Mac started the fast-food restaurant franchise in 1948.

Now the biggest fast-food chain in the world, McDonald's serves 70 million customers every day with sales topping $24 billion last year.