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McDonald's Founder Dies At 89

Richard "Dick" McDonald, who with his brother dreamed up a new concept in fast-food restaurants that was the inspiration for McDonald's Corp., died in Manchester, N.H. He was 89.

"The global 'McFamily'...owes a debt of gratitude to Dick McDonald and his late brother, Mac," McDonald's Chairman Michael R. Quinlan said in a statement. "The McDonald brothers never dreamed that the restaurant system they conceived at their first McDonald's would eventually touch so many people throughout the world."

Hoping to capitalize on the growing number of young families in the postwar years and an expanding roadway system, Dick and Maurice "Mac" McDonald created a self-service, drive-in restaurant in the late 1940s in San Bernardino, Calif. The menu featured 15-cent hamburgers, 19-cent cheeseburgers, 20-cent malts, and 10-cent French fries.

Several years later, the success of the McDonald brothers caught the eye of Ray Kroc, a food service equipment salesman who owned the marketing rights to their milkshake mixers. The brothers sold Kroc their proprietary rights in the business, and today's McDonald's Corp. was born. There are now 23,000 McDonald's restaurants in 111 countries.

"We're proud of what the McDonald's name stands for, and to share their name with the world," said Jack M. Greenberg, president and CEO-elect of McDonald's. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dick's family."

Dick McDonald was known as a marketing whiz, having first sketched the famous Golden Arches, the early "red and white" tile restaurant design, and the "Millions Served" signs, while his brother, Mac, was known as the restaurant operations specialist.

In 1952, American Restaurant Magazine ran a cover story on the phenomenal success of the brothers' new concept. The McDonald brothers proceeded to franchise and open in the West eight of the new concept drive-ins they had originated.

In 1955, Kroc was granted exclusive rights by the brothers to develop and franchise McDonald's drive-in restaurants for the United States. Kroc opened the ninth McDonald's (his first) in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Ill., in April of that year.

Six years later, Kroc bought from the McDonald brothers the proprietary rights to the McDonald's system, including all rights to it in the rest of the world.

In 1987, at the dedication of the 10,000th McDonald's restaurant, McDonald's senior chairman Fred Turner opened his comments saying, "Mac and Dick came up with the original design. Ray provided the foundation."

The building housing the original McDonald's on 14th and E streets in San Bernardino was razed in 1972. On the property, a gray one-story building was erected for the offices of the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera. But that building is now vacant, windows boarded, and the property fenced off, with a plaque at the entrance commemorating the McDonald brothers.

From 1961, Dick McDonal lived in Bedford, N.H. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; a stepson, Gale French; and two grandchildren.

His brother, Mac, died in 1971. Kroc died in 1984.