← Back Published on

The True (and sad) story behind the creation of McDonald’s!

McDonald’s is one of the worlds most successful and popular fast food chains ever created. With over 30,000 restaurants found in ‘120 counties and territories around the world and serv[ing] 68 million customers each day’.

Pixabay image of McDonald's logo

But do you know the true story behind the introduction of the iconic brand? ‘The Founder’, a 2016 biographical drama film staring Michael Keaton, shows the sad story of what really happened.

For those of you who have already seen the movie you’ll need to skip to the last couple of paragraphs.

Otherwise join me as I relive the events of 1950’s California.

Wikipedia image of the McDonald's brothers.


The story begins with two brothers. Yep! You guessed it; the McDonalds brothers. Mac and Dick were two brothers who opened their first restaurant in San Bernardino, California with little more than a dream.

Originally a hot dog drive-thru, the brothers noticed a gap in the market. Burgers were extremely popular with fries! And so started the McDonald’s company you and I know today.

However the inventive duos lives were thrown into disarray when they meet a shady and somewhat deceitful salesman Ray Kroc. Previously selling them milkshake machines, Kroc decided to invest in scaling up the business.

Attempted unsuccessfully before, the McDonald’s bros were hesitant but decided to agree to a contract with Kroc in order for him to become their head of franchising. As the movie continues you follow their lives as they experience the benefits and difficulties of building a business from the ground up.

Krocs first McDonalds Restaurant. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

However tension soon starts to build as the McDonald’s bros are interested in quality over profit while Krocs sole purpose is the financial gain. Turmoil began as the disagreements continued and an outright war descended upon them.

In 1961 the brothers lose their battle and let Ray Kroc buy them out of what was to become a million dollar industry.

Sadly Maurice (Mac) McDonald died in 1971 of a heart attack at the age of 69. 28 years later at the ripe old age of 89, Richard (Dick) died in their hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Wikipedia profile of Ray Kroc

The villain of the movie, Ray Kroc died in 1984 after suffering a stroke four years prior. His third wife, Joan, donated much of their money to notable charities including The Salvation Army after her death in 2003.

And lastly did you know that the iconic logo given to the McDonald’s company was not intended as a large ‘M’ but was actually supposed to be portrayed as the Golden Arches to heaven.

But enough about them, what about you? Comment below with your favourite fast food restaurant. What do you think of the story of the McDonald’s brothers? Do you think they were cheated?

Article written by Siobhan Lansdowne