Photos show what it was really like to eat at McDonald’s in the 1950s

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  • The first McDonald’s franchise restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955.
  • When the first McDonald’s restaurant opened, the menu only had nine items.
  • A McDonald’s museum was later opened to show visitors what the restaurant was like in the ’50s.

The McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice “Mac” McDonald, launched their burger restaurant in the 1940s.

It had a simple menu, which allowed the brothers to keep costs low and quality high, and self-service counters, according to the company.

Then, in 1954, Ray Kroc, a milkshake machine salesman, came across the small burger joint. Amazed by its efficiency, Kroc wanted in, and he became the first McDonald’s franchisee agent.

The following year, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., which would later become the McDonald’s Corporation, and he opened his first franchised location in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955, according to the company.

By 1958, McDonald’s had sold 100 million burgers. There are now more than 38,000 McDonald’s restaurants in more than 100 countries.

Here’s what it was like to visit McDonald’s in the 1950s.

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