Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses Plans to Raze McDonald’s Historic Replica

McDonald's, Naperville business law attorneyThere are only certain brands that ever achieve true iconic status. Walt Disney, Nike, and Coca-Cola come to mind quickly to mind for many people, often accompanied by a brand that has become synonymous with fast food in the United States. In the span of just 77 years, McDonald’s has gone from a single location to a global phenomenon with nearly 37,000 stores worldwide.

As a business law attorney, I regularly help clients who are looking to grow their companies. While few, if any, will ever reach McDonald’s levels of popularity, the example set by the fast-food franchise is certainly one that can be emulated in other industries. This includes the willingness to make difficult decisions, as highlighted by the company’s recently-announced plan to demolish a replica of its first franchise store in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Franchise Roots

McDonald’s began as a drive-in style restaurant in San Bernardino, California, in 1940. The store was owned by Richard and Maurice McDonald, two brothers who focused their efforts on providing hamburgers and French fries with assembly-line efficiency. By 1953, the brothers began looking for franchisees to grow their business, and the first two franchisees opened their locations in Phoenix, Arizona, and Downey, California, respectively.

In 1954, however, the company’s future changed forever when Ray Kroc, a Chicago-area milkshake machine salesman, visited the original McDonald’s in San Bernardino. Kroc recognized the opportunity and acquired the rights to build his first franchise location in Des Plaines. The store opened in April of 1955 and was the first in the chain to utilize the now-iconic yellow, white, red, and brown color scheme. Ray Kroc would eventually be credited with creating the McDonald’s empire.

A Nod to the Past

The building at 400 Lee St. in Des Plaines underwent several remodels before being torn down in 1984—coincidentally, the same year that Ray Kroc died. The company built a replica the next year using Kroc’s blueprints for the original store and containing original kitchen equipment. The replica operated as a museum until about 10 years ago when it was closed to the public. Since then, visitors have been limited to taking exterior photographs.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced its plan to demolish the replica store and to donate the land to the city of Des Plaines. The city reportedly asked the company if there was anything it could do to save the building or its 62-year-old original neon sign. City officials were reportedly told that the company would not donate the site intact so as to protect the integrity of its brand. Des Plaines city manager Mike Bartholomew indicated that a stone or a sign could be placed to mark the site’s history.

McDonald’s representatives said that the original sign will be removed and repurposed before the building is torn down. A timeline for the building’s demolition has not yet been released.

Protecting Your Brand

Business owners are often faced with tough decisions that could affect the future of their company and brand. If you have questions about strengthening your brand for the road ahead, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.



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