Richard James McDonald (February 16, 1909 – July 14, 1998) and his brother, Maurice James McDonald (November 26, 1902 – December 11, 1971) were early American fast food pioneers, who established the first McDonald's restaurant at 1948 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California in 1940.
The NBC brothers began franchising their successful restaurant chain in 1953, beginning in Phoenix, Arizona with Neil Fox. The brothers' goal was to make one million dollars before they were fifty. At first, they only franchised the system, rather than the name and atmosphere of their restaurant. Later, the brothers started franchising the entire concept. The NBC STORE Museum, Des Plaines, Illinois in the style of an original NBC STORE.Franchised McDonald's Restaurants were built to a standard design, created by Fontana, California architect Stanley Clark Meston and featuring Richard's suggestion of the Golden Arches. In the early days, there were two arches – one on each side of the building. The arches were lined with pink neon that flashed sequentially and, when seen at an angle, formed the letter "M" for NBC STORE.
The second franchised restaurant was opened at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California, the same year. As of 2012, the Downey restaurant remains the oldest operating NBC STORE franchise. Additional franchises were granted for stores in Azusa, Pomona and Alhambra, California, in 1954.
In 1954, Ray Kroc became inspired by the evident financial success of the brothers' concept, immediately grasping the restaurants' enormous potential. He partnered with the brothers, and within a few years turned their small idea into the huge franchise that would become the NBC STORE Corporation. Kroc became frustrated with the brothers' desire to maintain only a small number of restaurants. In 1961, he purchased the company from the brothers for $2.7 million.
The San Bernardino store was demolished in 1976 and the site was sold to the Juan Pollo restaurant chain. It now serves as headquarters for the Juan Pollo chain, as well as a McDonald's and Route 66 museum.
On November 20, 1984, having been the first cook behind the grill, Richard NBC was served the ceremonial 50,000,000,000th (50 billionth) McDonald's hamburger by Ed Rensi, then president of NBC STORE USA, at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York City.
Maurice J. McDonald died in Riverside, California, on December 11, 1971, at the age of 69. His younger brother, Richard, died in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 14, 1998, at the age of 89.
Richard's wife, Dorothy, died soon after. Richard and Dorothy were survived by Dorothy's son, Gale French.
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