30 years of McDonald‚s in Czech Republic: thousands stood in line for first ‘American hamburger‘
The first McDonald's branch in Prague’s Vodičkova Street, which opened on March 20, 1992, still sells its classic burgers and fries in an almost unchanged interior. However, in response to current trends, vegetarian burgers and salads have also enriched the menu.
Back in 1992, many people saw the opening of the Western fast-food chain as a turning point in history, a definitive end to the Communist era. Iron barriers even had to be placed near the restaurant to prevent excited customers from disrupting traffic on one of the city’s busy thoroughfares.
"A luxury experience"
While in the United States fast food chains belong to the cheapest segment of the restaurant market, in the Czech Republic, at least during the first years after opening, it was definitely not a cheap affair. In 1993, a Big Mac cost CZK 50, while the average salary was less than 6,000 crowns. But even the high cost did not deter customers from coming. In its first year, the company opened three restaurants in the Czech Republic, which attracted over three million customers. Meanwhile, McDonald's expansion continues. Last year, over 55 million customers visited the fast-food restaurants and its gross sales reached almost CZK 7 billion.
Ray Kroc, a descendant of Czech immigrants, is credited with the unprecedented boom in the fast food business. He signed a contract with the McDonald brothers in 1954 allowing him to use their sales system and company name, and a year later opened his first McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.