Vintage Photos Show What It Was Like to Eat at McDonald’s in the 1980s

  • The first McDonald’s franchise opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, April 15, 1955.
  • Chicken nuggets were introduced to the menu in 1983.
  • Motorhead and President Ronald Reagan were photographed eating at McDonald’s in the 1980s.

By the 1980s, McDonald’s was already a well-established fast food chain with an iconic menu and iconic brand.

Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15, 1955. That year, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., which would become the McDonald’s Corporation we know today.

By 1958, McDonald’s had sold 100 million hamburgers, and the restaurants had adopted a signature design style that prominently featured the chain’s iconic “golden arches.”

The 1980s were a period of major growth for McDonald’s.

According to a 1990 Deseret News article, McDonald’s restaurant sales reached $1.62 million in 1989, up from $1 million in 1979, and sales outside the United States increased from $900 million. in 1979 to $5.3 billion in 1989.

Although some aspects of McDonald’s food have remained the same, some seem iconic to the ’80s.

This is what food looked like at McDonald’s in the 1980s.


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