Richard James “Dick” McDonald (February 16, 1909 – July 14, 1998) and his brother, Maurice James “Mac” McDonald (November 26, 1902 – December 11, 1971) were early American fast food pioneers, who established the first McDonald’s restaurant at 14th and E street in San Bernardino, California in 1940. They introduced the “Speedee Service System” in 1948.
The McDonald family were of Irish origin. In the US Federal Census of 1910, both brothers (Maurice as “Morris”) appear in Manchester ward 8, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, and their father Patrick J. McDonald is shown as originating from Ireland, having emigrated in 1877 as a baby. Their mother Margarete is also shown as Irish born, emigrating to the USA in 1884 as a child
Originally coming from a low class family in Manchester, New Hampshire, the McDonald brothers began franchising their restaurant chain in 1953, beginning in Phoenix, Arizona with Neil Fox. The brothers goal was to make 1 million dollars before they were fifty. At first, they only franchised the system, rather than the name and atmosphere of their restaurant. It has been said[by whom?] that when Richard went to check on Fox, he was shocked to see an exact replica of his San Bernardino store, right down to the name “McDonald’s”. When he asked Fox why he had kept the same design and name, rather than calling the restaurant “Fox’s,” Fox said “Why change it? It’s great as it is”.[cite this quote] From then on, the brothers started franchising the entire concept.
Franchised McDonald’s Restaurants were built to a standard design, created by Fontana, California architect Stanley Clark Meston and featuring the Golden Arches. In the early days, there were literally two arches, one on each side of the building. The arches were lined with pink neon that flashed sequentially. The second franchised restaurant opened in Saginaw, Michigan in 1953. The third franchised restaurant was opened in Downey, California the same year. As of 2010, the Downey restaurant remains the oldest surviving McDonald’s franchise. Additional franchises were granted for stores in Azusa, Pomona and Alhambra, California in 1954.
In 1954, Ray Kroc, who was a milkshake machine salesman at the time, became inspired by the evident financial success of the brothers’ concept, immediately grasping the restaurants’ enormous potential. He partnered with the brothers, and within a few years turned their small idea into the huge franchise that would become the McDonald’s Corporation. The franchiser took only 1.9 percent of the gross sales, of which the McDonald brothers got 0.5 percent.