Many of the largest and most popular fast food chains were born in the 1950s like Wendy’s and McDonald’s and ever since then, restaurants have continued serving the classic meals that many consumers continue ordering. Fast-food restaurants are constantly looking for ways to meet their customer’s needs and have them want to return. And lately, many restaurants have begun incorporating mobile ordering, self-service kiosks, and even alcohol options at some locations. Take a look at how these popular restaurants have evolved throughout the years!
To begin with, Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s first opened his Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant in downtown Columbus, Ohio in 1969. And, before launching Wendy’s, he spent his career studying the fast food chain business and decided to name his restaurant after his daughter. Within a year, Thomas opened his second restaurant in Columbus which featured the “first modern-day, drive-thru window,” in 1971. Now, there are approximately 6,500 Wendy’s locations worldwide.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King was created as they wanted to venture out and open their own concept similar to that of the golden arches. Originally selling for only $0.37, the Burger King’s famous Whopper was born out of the desire to offer customers a bigger burger than competitors. Their advertisements that included the phrases “the burgers are bigger at Burger King” and “The King Sized Burger you only get at Burger King,” were successful in gaining the public’s attention. Now, Burger King has become the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world and their commitment to premium ingredients, signature recipes, and family-friendly dining experiences have helped define their brand for more than 50 successful years. To this day, there are over 15,000 locations worldwide.
The concept of McDonald’s began as brothers, Dick and Mac McDonald moved to California to seek opportunities that they felt unavailable to in New England. Subsequently, they opened their first restaurant called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q as a drive-in featuring a large menu. Soon after they reopened their restaurant to be a self-service drive-in restaurant as the menu was reduced to nine items: hamburger, cheeseburger, soft drinks, milk, coffee, potato chips, and a slice of pie. Their restaurant’s success led them to begin franchising their concept and quickly grew and has continued growing ever since. Today, the company has over 36,000 restaurants in over 100 nations, with the most recent opening in Kazakhstan.
Founded in 1950, Bill Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Quincy, MA and just five years later a franchise legacy was born. Since then, Dunkin’ has become a market leader in sales of hot, decaffeinated and flavored coffee, iced coffee, bagels, donuts, and muffins. The Dunkin’ Brand has become home to two of the world’s most recognized, beloved franchises of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. Now, Dunkin’ Donuts has over 11,300 locations worldwide with over 8,500 restaurants in 41 states across the U.S. and over 3,200 international restaurants across 36 countries.
The story of Arby’s began in 1964 when founders Leroy and Forrest Raffel opened a sandwich shop in Boardman, Ohio that served hot, freshly roast beef sandwiches as fast as anyone could flip a burger. Now there are over 3,400 locations across five countries.
Jack in the Box
Founded in 1951, Robert O. Peterson opened the first Jack in the Box restaurant in San Diego. Equipped with an intercom system and a drive-thru window, the tiny restaurant served up hamburgers to passing motorists for just 18 cents. Three years later, Jack in the Box expanded into Texas, where it opened several restaurants in the Houston and Dallas area. Moreover, after Ralston Purina Co. acquired a controlling interest in 1968, Jack in the Box grew tremendously to more than 1,000 restaurants by 1979. Now, there are over 2,200 restaurants across the U.S. and Guam.