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The Early McDonald's.

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The first McDonald's in San Bernardino, California.

McDonald's ever restaurant opened its doors 81 years ago – and now the fast food giant serves around 68+ million customers every day.

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1943 — The first McDonald's menu preserved.

McDonald brothers Dick and Mac proudly opened up the fast food outlet in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, where they flogged hamburgers for just 15 cents.
The hamburgers are not smaller today, they are exactly the same size they’ve always been. People were eating McDonald’s regular hamburgers in the late 1950’s, say, they still taste pretty much the same today.

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1940 — The original McDonald's menu.

Here is the early McDonald's menu from the 1950s. It had not got many positions, was very basic with the beer sold with no problem. Note, that everything was less than $1.00. In fact, for $1.00 you could have a complete set of meals & drinks for 2 persons.

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McDonald's Menu in 1950s.

Before the Golden Arches became world-renowned, the original menu was extremely simple. For food, hungry punters could get their hands on hamburgers, cheeseburgers and French fries. The drinks options were equally simple, as the first McDonald’s store offered up choices of coffee, milk, coke, root beer, orange or malt shakes.

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The first McDonald's in Canada, 1955.

By limiting the number of choices available, the kitchen could get orders out to customers more quickly.

McDonald’s has restaurants in just about every country, these days, after all - and the food from a McDonald’s in India isn’t going to be quite identical to the food from a McDonald’s in Japan, and they’ll both be different from what’s on the menu in America.

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McDonald's opening ad. in 1950s.

It comes down to cultural variation, mostly. The Indian locations don’t serve beef, and a lot of locations in other countries are certified halal (which means they won’t serve pork or bacon). And the regional menus need to offer what people local to the area will eat - there’s no point offering a double cheeseburger with bacon and an all-beef patty when most of the population won’t mix meat and milk, or won’t eat pork, or won’t eat beef.

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McDonald’s Japan. The squid-in burger is in the top right corner.

So this is how you end up with stuff like McDonald’s Japan offering squid-ink burgers and matcha tea ice cream, while the McDonald’s India has paneer wraps. The wraps and ice cream are going to be the same in every location - but they’re not available in the American locations because it’s not something that would sell well enough.

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