Food | Vintage

15 Original Locations Of Your Favorite Fast Food Chains And The Crazy Story Behind Their Success

Subway / Westword

Many of your favorite fast food chains are only a five minute drive or less from you, but before you could find at least one of them at every plaza, mall, or on the corner of your street, they could only be found at one location in the country, and they looked nothing like what the fast food chain does today.

Here are the photos of 15 original locations of your favorite fast food chains and the story behind their sweet success.

1. Pizza Hut

Location: Wichita, Kansas

Two brothers borrowed $600 from their mom to open a pizzeria in Kansas in 1958, and the rest is history. Fun fact: the sign only had room for nine letters, so they agreed on the name Pizza Hut.

2. McDonald's

Location: Chicago, Illinois

The first McDonald's that opened in 1948 had a pretty simple menu. Did you know that the first menu items were hot dogs, and not their famous hamburgers? That being said, the McDonald brothers realized their hamburgers sold best, and now McDonald's hamburgers are one of the most famous in the world, making the company the most successful fast food chain in the world, feeding approximately 68 million people every day.

3. Wendy's

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Dave Thomas's "old-fashioned" hamburgers became quite a hit in 1969. He named the restaurant after his fourth child, Melinda Lou "Wendy" Thomas. What many don't know is that Dave was a high school dropout, and his success proved that he didn't need a degree to become a wealthy businessman.

4. Dairy Queen

Location: Joliet, Illinois

The first store opened in 1940 and served a variety of frozen products. But way before that, a father and a son were experimenting with soft frozen dairy product to come up with a recipe that would make the world fall in love.

5. Taco Bell

Location: Downey, California

Before there was Taco Bell, Glen Bell started Bell's Drive-In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino in the '50s. In 1962, he opened the first Taco Bell, serving what customers called "Tay-Kohs." The first location also featured fire pits and mariachi bands, now that was a bang for the buck - literally.

6. Jack in the Box

Location: San Diego, California

Businessman Robert O. Peterson had a snazzy idea back in 1951 of a restaurant equipped with an intercom system and drive-thru window. Some of the first Jack in the Box employees served up hamburgers to passing motorists for only a few cents.

7. Chipotle

Location: Denver, Colorado

In 1993, Steve Ells dreamed of opening a fine dining restaurant, so he opened Chipotle in order to fund that dream, but he didn't expect his small restaurant to do so well. Within one month of opening, his first location was selling 1,000 burritos per day. McDonald's was quick to notice the restaurant's potential and invested in Chipotle, which led to the company's rapid expansion.

8. Dunkin' Donuts

Location: Quincy, Massachusetts

In 1948, William Rosenberg opened Open Kettle, a restaurant that specialized in selling donuts for five cents and premium cups of coffee for ten cents, and two years later he changed the restaurant's name to Dunkin' Donuts.

9. Starbucks

Location: Seattle, Washington

Three university students could not stop thinking about coffee, so they decided to sell high-quality coffee beans in 1971. They spent some time thinking of a name for their shop, and decided to go with the chief mate in the book Moby Dick: Starbuck. They didn't start selling cups of coffee until a decade later.

10. Subway

Location: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Fred DeLuca, the cofounder of Subway, dreamed of becoming a medical doctor, but couldn't find the money to pay for his education. In 1965, he opened a submarine sandwich shop after receiving a $1,000 loan from a friend. Once he made enough money to go to med school, Fred decided that he had something better on his plate.

11. Burger King

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

The home of the whopper got its start in 1953, when two family members bought an Insta-Broiler, which was great at cooking burgers. They emphasized on the "Insta Burger" when the restaurant first got its start, but renamed it to simply Burger King a few years later.

12. Chick-fil-A

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

At the age of 46, S. Truett Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A in suburban Atlanta after years of perfecting his chicken recipe. It was dubbed the "The Dwarf Grill" and is credited for inventing the boneless chicken sandwich.

13. KFC

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Colonel Sanders is a pretty popular name now, thanks to his famous fried chicken that got its start in 1952. However, this original recipe of 11 herbs and spices wasn't perfected just then, but decades before during the Great Depression in Corbin, Kentucky. Harland Sanders grew up with little triumph in most of his endeavors, but Harland Sanders Restaurant set him up for a lifetime of success.

14. Domino's Pizza

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan

Domino's Pizza opened its first location in 1960 when brothers Tom and James Monaghan wanted to open a pizzeria. However, it was first called Domi-Nick's Pizza, until Tom changed its name to Domino's when he purchased two additional pizzerias in 1965 (and that's why there's three dots in the restaurant's logo).

15. Carl's Jr.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Carl Karcher and his wife founded Carl's Jr. in 1941, selling hot dogs, chili dogs, tamales, and soda. It all started with less than $400, and now the company is worth millions.

Which fast food chain is your favorite?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.