America’s Oldest Restaurant Chain – 24/7 Wall St.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, may have been established in 1940 if you take that as the year Richard and Maurice McDonald launched their first restaurant. They turned it into a franchise business in 1953, which is much more like what the business operates today. By some measures, particularly the number of locations, Subway, launched in 1965, is larger than McDonald’s. In both cases, companies that started very small have grown into companies with thousands of locations in the United States and abroad.

In the period following the launch of these two large chains, several other, somewhat smaller ones were created. These include Burger King, IHOP and Applebee’s. The process did not stop. Very recently, there has been a set of rapidly growing “fast casual” sectors (think Chipotle). Operations like Shake Shack, Jersey Mike’s and Wingstop have grown at lightning speed, offering high quality food at a reasonable price and with many amenities.

Chains like these claim their place in a super competitive industry and are on their way to becoming household names, but some of the real oldies paved the way in a time when fast food and restaurant chains in general were still considered . a novelty. It’s no coincidence that many of the oldest chains were founded in California, the true land of opportunity, at a time when new highways meant many hungry travelers looking for a quick bite. and inexpensive.

To choose the former American restaurant chain, 24/7 Tempo reviewed listings of the country’s major national and regional restaurant operations from sites such as Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Business and QSR Magazine. We then filtered those known to be relative newcomers, determining founding dates, original locations, and number of US locations for the remaining chains from their own websites as far as possible. In cases where this information was not available directly from the channels, we pulled data from Statista and Scrapehero. (Note that some of these chains trace their founding date to earlier efforts under different names.)

Nathan’s Famous oldest chain. Here are the details:

> Year of creation: 1916
> Place of origin: Coney Island, NY
> Approximate number of units (US only): 295 (including shipping locations only)

Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker arrived in New York in 1912 and soon got a job serving thin German sausages called frankfurters (handmade by stuffing them into buns) at the popular Coney Island restaurant, Feltman’s , for 10 cents each. Encouraged to go into business on his own by singing waiters Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante (according to legend), he built a stand a few blocks away and began selling his own frankfurters, based on a recipe by his wife. , for five cents. in place. He enticed cleanliness skeptics by bringing in men wearing surgical gowns to be seen eating hot dogs outside the stand, and the crowd appeared soon after and never left. The original Nathan’s remains a go-to Coney Island destination to this day, and a nationwide expansion was started by Nathan’s son, Murray, in 1959.

Click here to read the 30 oldest American restaurant chains

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