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Changes at the golden arches

September 10, 2015
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Our family of three joined the snowbird flock in 1993, traveling the east coast from New York to Florida, then back again. All along the way, we kept watch for the familiar sight of the golden arches.

We knew when we reached the iconic McDonald's landmarks, we'd find food, drink and clean restrooms.

Today, the McDonald's golden arches are in every corner of the country as well as overseas, a total of over 14,000 restaurants.

It all started with a former salesman and piano player from Chicago named Ray Kroc.

According to McDonald's history, Kroc sold some equipment to brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, for their restaurant in southern California.

Kroc was inspired by the brothers' business. So, when he returned to Illinois, he opened his own hamburger stand in a Chicago suburb and named it McDonald's. The year was 1955.

Kroc's menu included burgers at 15 cents, cheeseburgers at 19 cents, fries for a dime and milkshakes for 20 cents. The stand was so successful that it reportedly sold its 100 millionth burger in 1958.

I still remember those days in the '60s and '70s when every McDonalds you passed had a sign proclaiming how many burgers the restaurant chain had sold.

The signs were one of many clever and attention-grabbing advertising campaigns the company continued to use to get the public's attention. Many of the gimmicks became a part of the culture.

Remember "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, etc, etc?"

One of the many sayings originated by the chain took on a special meaning for our family.

It certainly caught my attention on the way home from the hospital one day with son Tim. Even though he had a fresh cast on his recently broken arm, he claimed to be starving.

As we got out of the car, the banner above the door greeted us with "You deserve a break today."

The advertising was just one of the many aspects of the business that helped McDonalds stay ahead of the other burger restaurants that had followed Kroc's lead, McDonald's managed to stay on top, as evidenced by a company report that stated, the "average McDonald's restaurant raked in $2.5 million in sales in 2014."

But in recent months, McDonald's has been struggling to stay even with the competition. So, in response to frequent requests from loyal McDonald's customers, the next big thing for the golden arches will be breakfast all day long.

Traditionally, McDonald's cut off sales of breakfast items at 10:30 am.

But the popularity of such favorites as the Egg McMuffin, oatmeal and breakfast bagels has made McDonald's executives take a second look at the possibility of increasing sales by answering the public's desire for breakfast all day.With many of the nation's breakfast-style restaurants, like IHOP and Bob Evans, providing breakfast throughout the day, the management folks at McDonald's have finally decided to give their customers a fast-food alternative.

According to insiders, gearing up for the change will involve a significant financial investment by both the company and its franchise outlets. Separate grills and separate toasters will be necessary to prepare the breakfast menu. In addition, there are plans to eliminate some of the current menu items to accommodate the new breakfast line.

But, in spite of the cost of change, on Oct. 6, all of us who love breakfast will be able to find our breakfast favorites in any one of McDonald's 14,300 outlets, right under those golden arches.



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