The McDonald brothers reinvent their San Bernadino, California, carhop with a limited menu and an all-glass storefront that adds theater as customers watch the cooks.
First McDonald's Franchise
Ray Kroc opens a McD's in Des Plaines, Illinois, adding two attention-grabbing golden arches. "One of the original customers told me that he had to check it out to see what it was all about," says company archivist Mike Bullington.
Indoor Dining Introduced
A franchisee in Denver adds the first indoor dining room, a step beyond the "warm front" glass enclosures that Midwest and Northeast stores used around the ordering windows.
First International Store
As the company opens its first store in Richmond, British Columbia, it trades in its original burger-faced Speedee logo for one based on its already famous structure: two stylized arches.
First Mansard-Roof Style
A franchise in Matteson, Illinois, introduces the French, four-sided roof — a signal that sit-down dining has gone mainstream. The design is replicated for two generations and imitated by McDonald's competitors.
A franchisee in Chula Vista, California, puts his own twist on the "You Deserve a Break Today" campaign, offering tired parents the first playground. It becomes a symbol for dining "democratization," Bullington says. "Just bring the whole family."
The first drive-through prototype? A franchisee in Sierra Vista, Arizona, skirts an Army regulation requiring fatigue-clad soldiers to stay in their cars by knocking out a wall in his kitchen to serve them.
The Resurgence Begins
Designer Philippe Avanzi consults on restaurant designs in Paris and later all of Europe, creating the first node of Denis Weil's newly localized design network.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.