This Is What the McDonald’s Menu Looked Like the Year You Were Born
The McD’s menu has changed so much—do you remember when the Quarter Pounder was new?!
Once lovin’ it, always lovin’ it
For roughly three-quarters of a century, McDonald’s has been serving burgers and beverages that taste the same in Alaska as they do in Alabama, but a lot has changed since the first McDonald’s menu made its debut in 1940 with these nine items. Here’s a taste:
Did you know the first McDonald’s menu was barbecue-themed? Yup! The very first McDonald’s restaurant was opened by Dick and Mac McDonald as a car-hop on Fourteenth and E in San Bernardino, California. It offered a barbecue-style menu, and you can see an actual copy of that menu here!
1948: Hamburgers and cheeseburgers
In 1948, in response to what caught on with customers, the McDonald brothers revamped their restaurant as a walk-up hamburger stand. There were only four food items on the menu (plus milk, coffee, and sodas):
- Potato chips
The hamburgers sold for 15 cents, or about half as much as at a sit-down restaurant.
1949: Fries and milkshakes
Just one year later, the McDonald brothers introduced french fries and the restaurant’s signature Triple Thick Milkshakes. Find out the reason the McDonald’s of today won’t actually call their shakes “milkshakes.”
1955: Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc isn’t a menu item, but he’s an important part of the restaurant chain’s story! He discovered the McDonalds brothers’ restaurant—with its simple menu and super-fast hamburgers. He signed on as franchising partner and opened the first McDonald’s east of the Mississippi in Des Plaines, Illinois. The menu, including the low prices, remained virtually the same.
In 1961, Kroc purchased all the rights to McDonald’s. The first item he added to the national menu was the Filet-O-Fish sandwich, created by Lou Groen, a McDonald’s franchisee in Cincinnati, to help build volume among Catholics. It was advertised as “the fish that catches people.” You won’t believe what meatless offering they tried before the Filet-o-Fish—it’s one of the 11 McDonald’s menu items that failed miserably.
1968: Big Mac® and the Hot Apple Pie
The Big Mac was developed by franchisee Jim Delligatti of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1967 and was added to the menu in 1968. You could buy it for about 49 cents. The first TV ad for the Big Mac appeared in 1969 and featured the memorable Ballad of the Big Mac: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions—on a sesame seed bun!” The McDonald’s Hot Apple Pie was also introduced in 1968. Back then it was deep-fried. Who could ask for more? Well, we have more—more facts about the McDonald’s Apple Pie, that is.
1973: Quarter Pounder®
The Quarter Pounder was introduced in Fremont, California in 1971 but became part of the national menu in 1973. The 4-ounce all-beef patty, topped with ketchup, mustard, slivered onions and two dill pickles served on a sesame seed bun, sold for 60 cents. For an extra 10 cents, you could upgrade to a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Here’s a photo of a 1973 menu.
1975: Egg McMuffin
The Egg McMuffin was created by Herb Peterson of Santa Barbara, California in 1972 and added to the national menu in 1975. It sold for about 63 cents at the time–what a steal! The complete McDonald’s breakfast arrived in 1977. Check out these 75 mind-blowing McDonald’s facts.