The Fishy History of the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich – Weirdness Wednesdays March 16, 2022

Here’s an unusual post for this week’s Weirdness Wednesday post: The Fishy History of the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich.: Longer article. It’s interesting that Ray Kroc had his own invention for meatless burger. He held a contest and his meatless burger scored 6 compared to the Filet-O-Fish that scored over 250 votes.

K. Annabelle Smith March 1, 2013

How a struggling entrepreneur in Ohio saved his burger business during Lent and changed the McDonald’s menu for good.

A Filet-O-Fish advertisement from 1976 featuring the elusive Phil A. O’Fish. Image courtesy of Archives, McDonald’s Corporation.

For a burger joint like Mickey D’s, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich is surprisingly popular: Pirates would give their arm for one and apparently, whales eat “boatloads” of them. The Atlantic-Pollock based lunch item is consumed at a rate of 300 million a year— 23 percentof them are sold during Lent, and we can thank the Catholics in Ohio and a struggling businessman for the fast food classic.

When Lou Groen opened the first McDonald’s in the Cincinnati area in 1959, business was tough. McDonald’s was new to the area—the McDonald brothers had only just begun to franchise their stores six years prior. Groen’s son, Paul, who worked at his father’s McDonald’s for 20 years straight and later bought a few of his own, remembers how hard his parents worked to keep the business alive in the beginning.

As a child, Paul was paid 10 cents an hour to pick up the parking lot and keep the kitchen clean. “McDonald’s wasn’t the brand it is today back then—people didn’t come to his little McDonald’s, they went to Frisch’s,” Paul says. According to a sales ledger from 1959 (pictured below), he and his wife made a total of $8,716 profit revenue in their first month of business.


Other Weirdness Wednesdays posts:

About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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5 Responses to The Fishy History of the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich – Weirdness Wednesdays March 16, 2022

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Fascinating history! I love the filet O Fish

    Liked by 1 person

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