Richard and Maurice McDonald

Richard McDonald
Born Richard James McDonald
(1909-02-16)February 16, 1909
Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died July 14, 1998(1998-07-14) (aged 89)
Bedford, New Hampshire, U.S.
Resting place Mount Calvary Cemetery
Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Dick
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of McDonald's
Spouse(s) Dorothy McDonald
(m. ?-1998; his death)
Maurice McDonald III
Born Maurice James McDonald
(1902-11-26)November 26, 1902
Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Died December 11, 1971(1971-12-11) (aged 69)
Riverside, California, U.S.
Resting place Mount Calvary Cemetery
Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Mac McDonald
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of McDonald's
Spouse(s) Dorothy Carter (m. ?-1971; his death)

Richard James "Dick" McDonald (February 16, 1909  July 14, 1998) and his brother Maurice James "Mac" McDonald (November 26, 1902  December 11, 1971) were US culinary innovators and entrepreneurs, who were profoundly important in the emergence of fast food.

The McDonald brothers established the first McDonald's restaurant in 1940, on the corner of 1938 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California (34°07′32″N 117°17′41″W / 34.1255°N 117.2946°W / 34.1255; -117.2946).[1]

Early life

The McDonald brothers' parents were immigrants from Ireland.[2] Their father worked as a shift manager in a New Hampshire shoe factory.

In the late 1920s, the brothers moved together to California.

Business career

The McDonald brothers opened a hot dog stand (without hamburgers on the menu) in Pasadena in 1937. It was a typical drive-in food stand of its era, where drivers waited in their cars, while carhop waiters took and delivered orders.

In 1940, the brothers designed a purpose-built restaurant in San Bernardino, focused on hamburgers and french fries. While this "McDonald's" was still premised on most customers arriving by car, its design was unique due to a combination of factors.

The new restaurant was a success and with a goal of making $1 million dollars before they turned 50, the McDonald brothers began franchising their system in 1953, beginning with a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona operated by Neil Fox.[1] At first, they only franchised the system, rather than the name of their restaurant. Later, the brothers started franchising the entire concept.

The McDonald's Museum, Des Plaines, Illinois in the style of an original McDonald's.

Franchised McDonald's restaurants were built to a standard design, created by Fontana, California architect Stanley Clark Meston and featuring Richard's suggestion of the Golden Arches. In the early days, there were two arches—one on each side of the building. The arches were lined with pink neon that flashed sequentially and, when seen at an angle, formed the letter "M" for McDonald's.

The second franchised restaurant was opened at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California (at 33°56′50″N 118°07′06″W / 33.9471°N 118.1182°W / 33.9471; -118.1182), the same year. As of 2016, the Downey restaurant remains the oldest operating McDonald's franchise.[3] Additional franchises were granted for stores in Azusa, Pomona and Alhambra, California, in 1954.

In 1954, Ray Kroc 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.[4] The franchiser took 1.9 percent of the gross sales, of which the McDonald brothers got 0.5 percent.[4]

Kroc became frustrated with the brothers' desire to maintain only a small number of restaurants. In 1961, he purchased the company from the brothers for $2.7 million.[4]


Mac McDonald died from heart failure in Riverside, California, on December 11, 1971, at the age of 69.

The San Bernardino store was demolished in 1976 (or 1971, according to some sources) and the site was sold to the Juan Pollo restaurant chain. It now serves as the headquarters for the Juan Pollo chain, as well as a McDonald's and Route 66 museum.[5]

On November 30, 1984, having been the first cook behind the grill of a MacDonald's, Dick McDonald was served the ceremonial 50,000,000,000th (50 billionth) McDonald's hamburger by Ed Rensi, then president of McDonald's USA, at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York City.[6][7][8]

Dick died in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 14, 1998, at the age of 89.[7][9] His wife, Dorothy, died soon after. Richard and Dorothy were survived by Dorothy's son, Gale French.[10]

In popular culture

In the 2016 film The Founder, Dick McDonald is played by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac) portrays Mac McDonald. Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc. The film, written by Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler and Turbo), was directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks).


  1. 1 2 "mcdonalds_history_timeline".
  2. "Manchester New Hampshire Restaurant Innovators: Richard "Dick" and Maurice "Mac" McDonald". Cow Hampshire.
  4. 1 2 3 Business Stories of All Time: Ray Kroc; John Wiley & Sons; 1996.
  5. "McDonalds Museum". Juan Pollo. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  6. Anderson, Susan Heller; David W. Dunlap (1984-11-21). "NEW YORK DAY BY DAY; 50 Billion and Still Cooking". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  7. 1 2 "Restaurant Innovator Richard McDonald Dies at 89: Pioneered McDonald's, World's Largest Restaurant System". Hotel Online. July 1998. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  8. picture and story in Spanish language, May 30, 2004 at El Mundo.
  9. Gilpin, Kenneth N. (1998-07-16). "Richard McDonald, 89, Fast-Food Revolutionary". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  10. "Fast food supremo dies" July 15, 1998. BBC News. Accessed January 6, 2007.

External links

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