The Original McDonalds Restaurants: Unchanged since the 1950s

Original McDonalds restaurants

In Downey, California, about 13 miles from Downtown Los Angeles is the oldest surviving original McDonalds restaurant.

The Oldest McDonalds, located at 10207 Lakewood Boulevard at Florence Avenue opened in August of 1953, prior to Ray Croc joining the business and turning it into the mega restaurant chain it is today.

It was the third McDonalds restaurant opened and the second that use the now popular franchise model. The first two were also in the greater Los Angeles area however no longer exist.

The very first McDonalds was opened in 1937 in Monrovia, California, originally a barbecue restaurant however the owner brothers Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald quickly turned it into a restaurant which primarily sold hamburgers after realizing that it was a highly profitable item already – and with a new focus on this single product, and a purpose designed production line system for making them – would further increase this.

And the first McDonalds was born – selling only hamburgers (for 15 cents), chips and drinks. The other major change was that people would now simply walk up to the counter (no waiter service) and order, receive their food almost immediately (no more waiting) and the largest innovation was that you took your food in a small paper bag and left (no sit down service). You could eat it in your car or on the street as it was served to be consumed on the go, just throw the wrappers in the trash when finished. Not having to pay waiters or rent for seating space further added to profits.

After successfully franchising several restaurants, salesman Ray Croc joined the business to help expedite McDonalds into what it is today.

The oldest original McDonads in Downey, California is more a tourist attraction these days than a restaurant. People travel from all across the country to visit, the restaurant now having received the numerous McDonalds brand changes there have been over the half century since it opened. The restaurant still has the original golden arches (not making up an M) and also has an original generic ‘Hamburgers’ neon man with no sign of Ronald. Customers order from outside just as they did in the 50s and take their meals with them to their car.

The Oldest original McDonalds was offered to be added to the United States National Register of Historic Places however the then owners rejected this.

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