News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

‘Time Jockey’ McDonald’s

Joe Castillo

Fast Food Growth .….   World-known McDonald’ Restaurants got its initial start right here in Southern California. As a matter of fact, the oldest existing McDonald’s is still in operations right here in the southland. Located in the city of Downey, at the corner of Lakewood and Firestone, sits the 3rd McDonald’s Restaurant ever built. It is in an old-school style business with walk-up and order windows and large golden arches outlining the physical structure. And most important a 64-foot neon sign of the Speedee Hamburger rises above the surrounding parking lot. The store opened on August 8, 1953 and was the third store built by the McDonald’s brothers, Richard and Maurice. Today, there are over 25,000 stores world-wide, with billions of hamburgers served, and astonishingly enough 1 of 8 people today have eaten at a McDonald’s. The first McDonald logo was the Speedee character, which lasted until 1961. Speedee was designed by Richard and Maurice McDonald and stood for Speedee Service System  and was introduced at the San Bernardino store in 1948. The 2nd logo was Archie McDonald but it only lasted a short while as it was deemed too gaudy. The golden arches logo appeared in 1968 and the slashed ‘M’ logo followed. Ronald McDonald was introduced in 1963. The hamburger stand was first colored blue and white and opened with 15 cent burgers. The initial menu included its famous hamburger, fries, malts, ice cream, soft drinks and coffee. Richard and Maurice McDonald first got started in the fast food business with a hot dog stand in Des Plaines, Illinois, which became McDonald’s #1. Seeking more success they moved to San Bernardino to open another store, a hot-dog drive-in, which would shortly close due to a lack of business. But the McDonald Brothers were undeterred and started another business, a hamburger stand McDonald’s #2, and soon the focus of the business would shift to speed and efficiency. Reducing their menu from 25 to 9 items and removing the car-hops while allowing only walk-up services, the McDonald business grew. The brothers perfected fast production and low cost hamburgers at a time when other hamburger businesses were selling burgers based on each order. The average serving time was reduced from 20 minutes to 30 seconds. Sales jumped 40% in three short years, and the increase in business caught Ray Kroc’s eye. Kroc had begun his career in sales, starting with paper cups. He changed products and began selling ‘multi-mixers’ which were used to make malts. The ‘multi-mixers’ could mix three malts at once whereas the older mixing machines could only make one malt at a time. Kroc made contact with the McDonald brothers and got them to order more ‘multi-mixers’ for their stores and eventually negotiated a contract. Kroc eventually made an offer to the McDonald brothers and in time McDonald’s grew into a world-wide operation. The success of McDonald’s No. 3 was a contributing factor in the expansion of the McDonald Restaurant franchise….

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