The true story of the McDonalds hot dog


Most of us have tried a hot dog. Even if you would never go near this dish now, you definitely tried this uncomplicated, fast food in the early noughties or nineties. Most people worldwide will associate a hot dog primarily with food on the run, bought from a stand at a street seller.

But few people know that the great McDonald’s restaurant empire began with the sale of hot dogs.

How the McDonald brothers came up with the idea of selling Mcdonalds hot dog?

McDonalds Hot DogMaurice James and Richard James McDonald moved to New Hampshire from Manchester. Not of their own free will but of necessity. Patrick was fired from the shoe factory, where he had served faithfully for 42 years. They fired him because of his age, which means the owners thought the elderly man had become useless. “It won’t happen to us,” said Maurice and Richard, and they set out to find happiness in sunny California.

First, they wanted to become famous in cinematography, make a million by the time they were fifty, and bask in the glow of fame. At first went to Los Angeles, 24-year-old Maurice, who was older than Richard by nine years. In 1926 he was followed by the younger.

But sunny California greeted them not with open arms. The brothers took a job at Columbia, which was not considered a prestigious film studio at that time. Yes, the salary was modest, despite the hard work – all day long, they were carrying, installing, and removing sets and other props. For this, they got 25 dollars a week.

But the brothers were not discouraged. In the 30s, it seemed to them that success was close. It almost knocks at their door. So, not far from Los Angeles, they bought the Mission Cinema. Changing the boring name and reviewing all working approaches – the theater was subsequently called “Lighthouse” and began working 24 hours daily. At that moment and made acquaintance with public catering. And then, as they say in famous movies: it was fate.

They set up a buffet inside the movie theater – on the one hand, to increase income, but on the other, to stop people from carrying food around.

You can’t blame the brothers for their efforts, but with time it became clear that only the owner of the nearby kiosk, where you could buy a soft drink – beer, root beer – made a profit.

The seven years of observation were enough for the brothers to understand that they were wrong with their activities. In the end, they sold the cinema. On the money received, they organized another project – Airdome in the Californian city of Monrovia, located in the foothills of San Gabriel.

First successes in the Mcdonalds hot dog trade.

What was the Aerodome? Not a cafe or a stall, but an ordinary big cart filled with orange juice and hot dogs. But at the same time, the brothers placed it quite competently – next to the airfield, a city landmark. Then, of course, there were plenty of people willing to buy a McDonalds hot dog. At the same time, McDonald’s had an agreement with orange planters, thanks to which juice production was practically free (200 oranges for 25 cents).

McDonald brothers change the concept.

In 1940, the brothers realized that the idea of selling hot dogs had run out of steam. So Mcdonalds hot dog was a thing of the past.

Taking a $5,000 loan, the brothers opened McDonald’s Bar-B-Q. However, that firstborn was a far cry from today’s Macs.

The establishment was located in San Bernardino, and the primary target audience was motorists, whose number was constantly growing. The operation operated on a Drive-In basis, and the menu was standard for barbecue establishments. When a car pulled up, the order was brought to them by a pleasant girl in a special uniform (at that the brothers inherited the uniform of the “Beacon” times from the Users) with minor changes.

The new establishment brought in some income, but soon the war broke out, which was not a reasonable period for the business. So the search for opportunities to cut costs began. Eventually, a business plan was developed, which ultimately started a revolution. This is where the story of the actual McDonald’s begins.

The revolution.

McDonald’s changes its name to McDonald’s Hamburgers in 1948. Mcdonalds hot dog is not even mentioned anymore! But, of course, if it was only about the name, especially since there have always been many competitors with hamburgers (especially there, in San Bernardino). And yet, neither the price of the “buns and pies” nor the speed of service was any comparison.

The first thing that caught my eye was the limited assortment. The brothers believed it was unnecessary to chase the Michelin stars, but the turnover was significant. As a result, you could get fried potatoes, buns with cutlets, and milkshakes. There were also no more waitresses. Instead, a counter was set up in their place, so the customer would walk up and order what they wanted. In addition, the food was prepared in advance, and the temperature was maintained by lamps that warmed them with their light.

The service also changed: the customer had to get his order in a minute (!) after entering the premises, i.e., it took 20 seconds to collect it.

The institution became analogous to Ford’s catering – everything worked according to the system and standards. Everything was verified and brought to the maximum result. There were 12 employees, each was engaged in his area, and all work was automatic. It was nothing more or less than one big conveyor belt.

Who is Ray Kroc, and why is it important for us to know his opinion on Mcdonalds hot dog?

McDonald’s brief history, which is rather difficult to describe, would not have been possible without one man. His name was Ray Kroc, and it was with his appearance that the famous chain began to develop.

Born in 1902 to Czechoslovak immigrant parents, Ray Kroc started from humble beginnings (as a paper salesman and jazz musician, among others). However, he became one of the most important men of his time, creating McDonald’s, the world’s most famous and successful fast-food restaurant.

In 1954, at 52, Kroc worked as a milkshake machine salesman for Prince Castle’s Multi-Mixer Company. In his travels, he stumbled upon a small hamburger store owned by Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California. The establishment was simple, selling only a few items: burgers, fries, soft drinks, and milkshakes. The two brothers became Crock’s regular customers, buying more and more shake machines.

Crock became curious as to why McDonald’s was buying so many mixers. Kroc suggested the brothers develop their business after having a solid sense that he had discovered the market niche American consumers sought when they ate out. He offered his services and became a national agent for McDonald’s – starting a new era of franchising. Thus came the small restaurants with bright yellow arches.

Croc Empire without McDonalds hot dog.

The first restaurant opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois, was a huge success. The little restaurant became a McDonald’s corporation. For $2.7 million, Kroc paid the restaurant’s founding brothers six years later to acquire all of the restaurant’s rights. By 1965 there were more than 700 restaurants in the United States under Crock’s next innovative franchise model, giving franchisees the right to only one restaurant while retaining control over the franchisees and maintaining uniformity of service and quality.

Kroc rigidly standardized operations for all McDonald’s franchisees, including ingredient and portion quantities, cooking methods, and packaging. Customer service standards were also high, although franchisees had the right to decide how to market their product. In addition, each restaurant’s menu was strictly standardized. For example, it included a large assortment of fast food but did not include the sale of McDonalds hot dog!

Why Kroc was against hot dogs.

In 1977 Ray Kroc published his autobiography, Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s. In the book, Crock tells the story of his life from humble paper cup salesman and milkshake mixer salesman to founding a restaurant empire.

Here’s a quote from the book:

“There’s a damn good reason why we should never eat hot dogs. There’s no telling what’s inside the skin of a hot dog, and our quality standard doesn’t allow that kind of food.”

Why are hot dogs so unprofitable for large fast-food chains?

Here it is necessary to mention the history of the origin of hot dogs, as well as touch on the technology of their cooking.

The history and reputation of the hot dog.

The hot dog is as integral to New York as the yellow cab. Its taste conjures up local associations with picnics on the sandy beaches of Coney Island on a hot summer day and the smell of freshly cut grass and beer at a baseball game. Grilled garlic sausage with spicy mustard and sauerkraut has long been one of the city’s gastronomic symbols. Still, the history of the hot dog, like so many other New York “icons,” began elsewhere.

Only sausages made of ground beef or pork (sometimes a combination of the two types of ground meat) are used for making hot dogs, with garlic, mustard, nutmeg, and some other spices as seasoning. It is known that the sausage was invented several thousand years ago (references can be found even in Homer’s “Odyssey”), but if we talk about its modern version, it makes no sense to object to the fact that this type of sausage appeared in German-speaking Europe.

Some historians claim that the sausage was invented in 1805 by a Viennese butcher, while others believe that the spicy smoked sausage was first introduced to the public in 1852 in Frankfurt. The latter version has more right to exist, as “sausage” sounds like “frankfurter” in English.

It does not matter who invented the sausage. First, the main thing is that in the second half of the 1800s, this sausage became the most popular among Germans, who brought the frankfurter recipe to the USA during the next wave of immigration. It is known that during the Civil War, 1861-1865, New York butchers made smoked sausages.

But sausage is not yet a hot dog. A German immigrant, Charles Feltman, first figured out how to put a sausage in a cut bun. In 1870, he made a cart and drove it around the seaside neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Coney Island, offering the poor working people of New York a tasty and inexpensive snack. He became the first street vendor to provide customers with a hot sausage sandwich rather than pies. That’s where the history of the hot dog began.

On most streets in Manhattan, you’ll find silver hot dog carts. Parked on the sidewalks, the carts are easy to spot by the yellow, blue, and red umbrellas that have become an integral part of the cityscape. New Yorkers disparagingly and lovingly refer to hot dogs as “dirty water dogs.

This nickname is because the hot dogs are boiled and then kept in hot water before they go into the bun. This method of cooking and keeping hot sausages appeared at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries when carts of “hot dogs” vendors began to appear not only on the streets of Brooklyn but also in Manhattan, including Broadway.

Thus, the hot dog established a reputation for inexpensive street food, perhaps not the highest quality. But, at least with a burger, you know (or think you know) what you’re getting.

Hot dogs are still popular as street vendor food–they’re easy to take away–but they’re too messy for those who eat with one hand, which is a big part of fast food.

Hot dog cooking technology. What does a sausage consist of?

As for the technology of cooking hot dogs, you have to understand that hot dogs are cheap street food.

In traditional sausages, as 200 years ago (when they were first invented in Germany), there must be two types of meat – beef and pork. Soy was out of the question.

But today, in practice, this is not the case. It is a stretch to call it meat. It has 10-15% protein. And this is even though rare producers can do without adding soy varieties. Although there is an opinion of some gastroenterologists that “mixed” sausages are healthier than pure meat, the attitude toward soy is considered unsupported by prejudice. The other ingredients are water and spices. Sometimes – cream, eggs, milk.

Naturally, there is no beef or pork in cheap sausages. Instead, the cheapest chicken meat is used. And only half of the sausage consists of it. Another 20% of the product is chicken skin; the rest is salt, flavorings, colorings, and other additives.

McDonald’s attempt to revive the McDonalds hot dog idea.

kids eating mcdonalds hot dogDespite possible demand, CEO Ray Kroc forbade the company from selling hot dogs because he believed they to be unclean in his 1977 autobiography.

Ray Kroc passed away in 1984.

And in the late 1990s, Mcdonalds hot dog, no matter what, was introduced to the menus of some stores in the Midwest (at the franchise owner’s choice) as a summer dish.

In the late nineties, hot dogs appeared on the menus of Mc Choice (later PoundSaver) stores in the UK. Additionally, until 1999, McDonald’s in the Metro Zoo in Toronto and SkyDome locations in Toronto both sold hot dogs. At least one American restaurant had previously served Oscar Mayer hot dogs. In Tokyo, hot dogs appeared in 2001 and were reintroduced in 2009 under the name “Mc Hot Dog.

It is worth noting that hot dogs are still sold in Japanese McDonald’s restaurants. However, the range of Japanese McDonald’s restaurants generally is very different from the usual American menu. For example, look at the Japanese-style hamburger, where instead of a bun, there is pressed rice.

Remarkably, Mc Pizza and Mc Pasta have yet to catch on, either. Creating a killer product is difficult, very difficult, but McDonalds continues to add to its menu and try new things.

Why McDonalds hot dog didn’t catch on after all.

In the history of Ray Kroc‘s successful restaurant empire, there have been some notorious failures.

Ray Kroc’s most famous failure was the meatless hamburger. The hamburger was created in 1963 and was intended for Catholics, who were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays. It was a cheeseburger with a slice of pineapple instead of meat. By all accounts, the hamburger was a disaster.

The same can be said of the production of McDonalds hot dog.

Ray Kroc was himself unsure of the quality of the base of his product. But, of course, this is the very first prerequisite for failure.

A manufacturer must have faith in his product and confidence that the product he is producing is helpful to the consumer to be successful.

Belief in your product and its importance to the consumer is often the only factor that pulls startups to the victorious Olympus through thorns and obstacles.

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