McDonald’s is in the news this week for its sharply falling sales. But the fast food giant continues to innovate in the face of changing attitudes about food, responding directly to “pink slime” accusations and a campaign of transparency, and creating an Innovation Center in Silicon Valley.
While the world’s largest restaurant chain adapts to compete with more nimble competitors (like Chipotle) that emphasize fresh, healthy food, it’s useful to take a look back through history to see how McDonald’s has evolved since it was founded in 1940 with one location in California. From the 15-cent hamburger to the 1979 launch of the Happy Meal to the cult following of the McRib, introduced in 1981, the chain has repeatedly reinvented itself to appeal to new demographics and cultures.
Watch the video above for a fast primer on the company’s twists and turns over the years–and to see the very first (and very creepy looking) Ronald McDonald.