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In 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald started a BBQ joint in San Bernardino, Calif. It took eight years for the rookie restaurant to develop its brand and switch focus exclusively to burgers and French fries, solidifying itself as the greasy hamburger connoisseur we think of today.
In 1955, McDonald's franchises were introduced when businessman Ray Kroc came into the picture, opening the first location in Des Plaines, Ill. Since then, the fast-food giant, thanks in part to its iconic Big Mac, has become synonymous with America and consumerism.