McDonald’s Goes Retro with 1955 BurgerBy Todd • Sep 7th, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog
Ronald McDonald has been partying across Europe like it’s 1955.
That’s the year that Ray Kroc opened the very first McDonald’s location in Des Plaines, Illinois. To commemorate that historic occasion, the megachain has introduced a brand new burger, which it has been adding to the Golden Arches’ menu boards all over Europe. And in the latest chapter of this story (which has been closely followed and reported on by our burger brethren over at BurgerBusiness), rumors are now swirling about an upcoming US debut.
For the record, the 1955 Burger bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything that was on the Mickey D’s menu in that freshman year. It’s sparsely topped by today’s standards- bacon, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized grilled onions- but it likely would have ranked as the craziest concoction ever back in the day. So where did it come from?
The 1955 Burger first debuted last year in Germany, complete with a clever TV spot, viewable here. In the ad, an apron-clad housewife in “Chicago 1955″ rocks around the clock in her Formica-for-miles kitchen while whipping up a batch of burgers, tasting and tweaking the handwritten recipe as she goes. The action flashes forward to present day Germany, where an earnest young McDonald’s employee with loads of free time during his shift has somehow found Betty Lou’s cookbook and duplicated the burg, knowing he has a bona fide hit on his hands. In fact, the 1955 Burger became the “best-performing sandwich” ever in Germany, according to McDonald’s brass.
The 1955 Burger then spread across the continent to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Sweden. Now the chain has apparently set its sights on England as the next landing spot for the retro burger, with a British debut set for sometime in the next several weeks. So will the new burger make it across the pond? While the clown has remained tight-lipped about a stateside rollout, the TV ads being used to currently sell the 1955 Burger in Denmark would certainly suggest it. Two of them can be watched here and here.
(Screen grab by Burger Business)
Both commercials reach into the way-back machine to interview living folks with real-life ties to that first 1955 McDonald’s in Des Plaines. In the first, a customer from the opening day of business in Mickey D’s history recalls not even knowing what was on the menu as he approached the window. In the second, an employee at the Des Plaines store reminisces about his daily walk to work, which took him through a neighbor’s yard, where he met his future wife. These spots have incredible production value and unquestionably cost a small fortune to shoot (just think about tracking these seniors down and taking them back to the original location, now all gussied up with gorgeous neon lighting and freshly-wetted pavement, for long and lingering camera shots of the reunions), all celebrating “a tribute to the beginning.” The ad agency swears in a press release that these spots (English-language spots, no less) were created solely for Scandinavia, but it’s really hard to imagine that everyone went to this kind of trouble just to sell a few extra burgers in Copenhagen, isn’t it?