Fast food franchises have been around for years. Some of the first ones were started back in the ’50s as malt shops or diners. Since then, there have been many different variations of the fast food franchise; burgers, chicken, ice cream, seafood, family-style, etc. As the type and menu changed, so have the styles, image and logo of the establishment. Many of the most popular fast food franchises of today have been around since the ’60s and if you were to travel back in time to see your favorite restaurant as it stood back in the day, you may not even recognize it.
I was perusing some of the photostreams in Flickr as well as some of my favorite fast food groups and you can see plenty of awesome pictures of fast food franchises and how they used to look back in the day. I even remember some of them! So let’s take a look at a few of the more popular franchises and how their “look and feel” has changed from ’60s until now.
You can click any of the below pictures to see them BIGGER.
McDonald’s began in 1940 with a restaurant in San Bernandino, CA opened by (surprise, surprise) the McDonald brothers. They developed their “SpeeDee” delivery system in this restaurant that has become the basis for all modern fast food franchises. Ray Kroc, a salesman providing milkshake machines to the brothers, convinced them to let him franchise their operation in 1955. Kroc bought out the brothers and took McDonald’s to the lofty heights you see today. Due to its long history, McD’s architecture has had more face lifts than Joan Rivers. There are so many different styles of McDonald’s restaurants that it’s almost impossible to nail down different eras of buildings. Don’t even get me started on the different styles for the “golden arches” signs as there are too many to even begin a listing here. I could probably do an entire article on McDonald’s architecture and store design (*note to self). Moving along, the picture above is one of the earliest building incarnations from a McDonald’s in the ’50s – ’60s. Many McDonald’s restaurants today are being built in this “retro” styling. Check out the huge, modern, 2-floor McDonald’s in Chicago that was built in this style.
This is probably one of the more familiar versions of the McDonald’s restaurant. It’s brown roof with white striping has become iconic for McDonald’s lovers as it’s visage was used throughout the ’80s in commercials. This style started, I believe, in the ’70s or ’80s. There was also a version of this building with yellow striping on the roof.