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Ray Kroc's First McDonald's Franchise Opened 58 Years Ago In Des Plaines

By Amy Cavanaugh in Food on Apr 14, 2013 6:00PM

Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise 58 years ago tomorrow, on April 15, 1955, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Though it was the ninth McDonald's restaurant overall, it was Kroc's first franchise and the first restaurant east of the Mississippi River. Just four years later, McDonald's notched its 100th restaurant with the opening of an outpost in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

To publicize the restaurant, Kroc ran an ad 58 years ago today in the Des Plaines Journal, which advertised "speedee service" and "plenty of free parking," along with 15 cent hamburgers, 19 cent cheeseburgers, 20 cent malt shakes, and 10 cent sodas. The first day's sales were $366.12.


McDonald's was founded in California in 1940 by the McDonald brothers as a BBQ restaurant. They rebranded the concept in 1948, focusing on burgers, shakes, potato chips, and pie, and later sold the franchise to Kroc. The original Des Plaines McDonald's was demolished in 1984, but a museum sits on the site now. The museum was "built according to the original blueprints with some modifications to accommodate Museum visitors and staff. The 'Speedee' road sign is original." That little behatted creature with a hamburger for its head was "Speedee," a way less terrifying mascot than Ronald McDonald, who became the mascot in 1967.