View Full Version : Has a McDonald's ever gone out of business?

10-04-2001, 03:29 PM
Has a McDonald's restaurant ever gone out of business in the United States for economic reasons? I'm ruling out foreign franchises and closures resulting from eminent domain, public health violations, falling meteors, et cetera. What local pressures caused them to close?

10-04-2001, 03:32 PM
Perhaps if Hamburglar stole all the hamburgers?

10-04-2001, 03:35 PM
Yes... in Kokomo, IN sometime around the late 60's early 70's. It was very near to Kokomo High School which was having severe racial tensions at the time (I remember it as "race riots" but I was only about 9). Kids were hanging out there and customers were scared to patronise the business. At the time we were all told that it was the first McDonalds ever to fail.

10-04-2001, 03:36 PM
The boards are too slow to search right now, but there was a thread about a year ago in which someone mentioned that the McDonald's in Jackman, Maine, went out of business. (Or was it Greenville?)

Qadgop the Mercotan
10-04-2001, 03:51 PM
Many, many Mickey D's have bit the dust since their inception. In fact, their current marketing philosophy seems to be one of "build one on every likely location; some will fail, but in the end we'll have really cornered the market".

10-04-2001, 03:56 PM
McDonalds franchises fail all the time. They are not a guarantee of success though the odds of success are pretty damn good compared to other business opportunities. IIRC the startup failure rate for a McDonalds franchise is around 2-5%. In many cases the bankruptcy is invisible as a new owner takes over the location.

10-04-2001, 03:59 PM
The very first McD's, the mother store, the origin of all that is beefily unholy, the Xanadu of bovine demise , was driven out of business by none other than Ray Kroc hisself.

The first McDonalds store (somewhere in CA, little help?) was run by the McD brothers. Ray Kroc saw it, had an idea, and began partnering (I believe) with them. Eventually, he bought them out, but thought he was getting to original store, the cash cow (if you will) of the chain.

When the brothers said no, they retained the original store, Ray went ballistic. He built another McD's a block away, and of course the brothers had to change the name of their own store. Customers flocked to the new McDs and the original died.

I've got the details at home in a book somewhere. Was this from a Cecil column?

10-04-2001, 04:13 PM
The McDonalds on the harbor in Beverly, MA, was bought out in order to put in a bridge. It has since reopened about a mile away, however, and the other McD's in town stayed in business the whole time.

10-04-2001, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by Telemark
The first McDonalds store (somewhere in CA, little help?) was run by the McD brothers.

The location you're thinking of is Downey. It's a little suburb outside of L.A.. Yes, the restaurant indeed had to close because of the new McDonald's that opened up literally a block away. However, the original McDonald's has since reopened, but under the franchise rules of McDonald's Corp.

10-04-2001, 06:36 PM
Two McDonald's restaurants within 5 miles of me went out of business within the last year. Both structures are still vacant and boarded up.

It rather surprised me, since the location is Newport, Rhode Island, which gets huge numbers of tourists.

The first, (actually in Middletown, RI) apparently shut down because of location. The street on which it sat (East Main) got so busy that customers couldn't get out of the parking lot. Shortly after it shut down, a new McDonald's was built 3 miles away in a mini-mall parking lot.

The other was located on the Naval Station at Newport. It even got that new bright paint scheme before being shut down 6 months later. I was friendly with the owner. It's my understanding that the corporation bought out her franchise due to the restaurant's unprofitability. When they pulled the ships out of Newport back in the 80's, business went down on the base McDondald's, and never really recovered. The owner had 2 years left on her 20-year(?) franchise. I guess it was no longer worth it to the corporation to keep her supplied and in operation?

BTW, you can read about the franchise bit on the McDonald's website: http://www.mcdonalds.com/

10-04-2001, 06:42 PM
Actually, according the McDonald's corporate website, the burger joint run by the Dick and Mac McDonald was in San Bernardino (http://www.mcdonalds.com/corporate/info/history/index.html).

Further summarizing from the McSite: Ray Kroc was the distributor of a milkshake maker called the Multimixer, and the McDonald brothers ordered something like eight of them. Wondering how anybody could actually need eight of these things, Kroc paid a visit to the store and wound up getting the McDonald brothers to let him open new restaurants, giving them a cut.

McHistory goes on to state that the first Ray Kroc-opened restaurant was in Des Plaines, Illinois, and that it's no longer an operating restaurant but instead a museum.

There's no mention of just what happened the Brothers Mac - they simply disappear.

I've heard the Downey story, as well, but I can't find any mention of it on the McDonald's website.

10-04-2001, 06:57 PM
Hmm...if this site (http://www.wemweb.com/chr66a/sbr66_museum/sbmcdonalds_history.html) is to be trusted....
The McDonald brothers had several McDonald's restaurants before Ray Kroc got involved.
The first McDonald's opened on 12/12/48 at 14th and E Streets in San Bernardino, California.
McDonald's numbers 2-4 opened in Phoenix, North Hollywood, and Downey within a few months of one another in 1953.
The Downey McDonald's is the "oldest surviving McDonald's in the world."
Ray Kroc came on the scene in October 1954. The Des Plaines, Illinois store, christened "McDonald's #1" when it opened on April 15, 1955, was actually the ninth McDonald's restaurant to be built.
In 1961 Ray Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million.
In 1962, the original San Bernardino store, still owned by the brothers Mac, changed its name to "Big M". In that same year, Kroc opened a McDonald's franchise at 15th & E Streets.
The San Bernardino store was sold in 1968, closed in 1970, and demolished in 1972.

10-04-2001, 08:37 PM
The McDonald's in Downey is sometimes referred to as "The Original McDonald's", but as other sites have shown, it isn't.

It is the oldest one in existence however and it was constructed before McDonald's adopted its Golden Arches logo, although it has been remodeled somewhat. It used to have a menu that was a bit different from other McDonald's as well.

The McDonald's Corporation wanted to tear down the Downey location, but preservationists fought to keep it in its place.

10-04-2001, 08:44 PM
It had no drive in window and has been replaced by a successful semi-upscale Thai restaurant. The restaurant was not originally built as a Mickey Dees.

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