If the first McDo opened its doors in France, in Strasbourg more precisely, in 1979, fast food has been around for much longer. Including fast food franchises. And it is of course in the United States that the concept was born (that of franchises therefore), in the twilight of the 10s. And no, the first one is not the one you think…
This chain, known for its root beer, was born on June 20, 1919. At the beginning, it was also a question of selling root beer and not much else. It is a certain Roy W. Allen who was at the origin of the concept, he who counted on the return to the country of the soldiers engaged in the First World War. And it worked because, two years later, Allen opened plenty more root beer stands in the Lodi area of California, after partnering with Frank Wright (hence the initials A&W). The brand became a franchise in 1925 and very quickly, to accompany beer, the two men decided to sell burgers and hot dogs. Today there are more than 1100 addresses in the world. But not in France.
2. White Castle
Another brand absent from France. Known for its sliders, small burgers, it has deliberately slowed down its development. Which is paradoxically the source of its success. Because if White Castle has only 422 restaurants in the USA (against 13,000 and a little for McDonald’s), its turnover is the second largest in the country in the fast food category. White Castle was founded in 1921 in Kansas; and since A&W, the first of this list, began by selling beer, White Castle is often considered the oldest fast-food franchise. White Castle, which stands out not only for the design of its restaurants, which therefore look like small white castles (logical), but also for the fact that, in most stores, customers can see the employees making the burgers live .
In France, Colonel Sanders is an advertising star. In the United States, it is a legend. A man who was not at all a colonel, who set up his box in March 1930. Initially, the first KFC restaurant was also located in a gas station. The colonel’s fried chicken recipe was a great success, and other stores were soon opened all over the place. Sanders who remains known for his method allowing a higher yield but also for his recipe based on several spices.
Brilliantly told in the film The founder with Michael Keaton, the history of McDo begins on May 15, 1940 but it was not until 1955 that the franchise was created. Its inventor, Ray Kroc, having more or less erased from history the McDonald brothers, they who were therefore at the origin of the first McDonald’s, a quite modest establishment in San Bernadino, California. Kroc who taught them his methods to cook faster and then develop with the success that we know.
5. Dairy Queen
Another unknown brand in France, which was created in June 1940 on the basis of a brand specializing in ice cream. And if today ice cream remains the specialty of the franchise, you can also enjoy hamburgers, fried chicken and lots of other super good stuff for your health.
6. In-N-Out Burger
A family business in place since 1948. It was not until 2006 that the box was run for the first time by someone outside the family behind the franchise. Small peculiarity: you can only find In-N-Out in the western half of the United States.
7. Dunkin’ Donuts
Maybe one day we will have the chance to taste donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts in France. A brand created in 1948 and developed as a franchise from 1955. It was in Quincy, Massachusetts that Dunkin’ Donuts was born. Small peculiarity: if you go to New York, you will find a DD every 10 meters (just exaggerating). In Los Angeles and more broadly in California, on the other hand, you are more likely to come across a sea lion than a DD.
8. Jack in the Box
Founded in 1951, Jack in the Box is one of the first fast food restaurants to offer a drive-thru. In the United States, there are more than 2200 establishments.
Nothing to do with the little blue hedgehog from Sega. In this Sonic, we serve a dripping burger. A brand created in 1953, which became a franchise in 1956. We owe it to Troy Smith, a veteran of the US Army, who, on his return to the country after the Second World War, decided to found his own restaurant. Originally called Top Hat, it was renamed Sonic in 1959.
10. Burger King
Back in France a few years ago, the Whopper brand was created in 1953 and now has more than 15,000 establishments. It was David Edgerton and James McLamore who gave Burger King its credentials after buying it in 1959 when it was in distress. They first came up with the name, then invented the machine for grilling meat over a flame. A characteristic of the brand still highlighted today. Of course, they are also the ones who invented the Whopper, the star of BK.