Catholics Weren’t Buying Burgers on Fridays, So One McDonald’s Owner Went Fishing for a New Menu Item

At first, Ray Kroc, the man credited with making McDonald’s the most successful fast-food chain in the world, didn’t want to put a fish sandwich on his menu.

It was 1962, and a McDonald’s franchise owner in a Catholic neighborhood of Cincinnati noticed that he wasn’t selling many hamburgers on Fridays during Lent.

The man, according to McDonald’s, went to Kroc and suggested they try selling a fried fish sandwich to boost Friday sales. But Kroc wasn’t buying it.

Kroc’s idea for a non-meat alternative was to market the Hula Burger -- a slice of fried pineapple with cheese on a bun.

Eventually, Kroc was persuaded to put both ideas to the test, listing the Hula Burger and the fish sandwich on the Friday menu side by side. The results were clear: Filet-O-Fish, 350, and Hula Burger, 6.

The fish sandwich was added to the regular McDonald’s menu shortly afterward, selling for 29 cents.

Today, if you get a craving, a Filet-O-Fish will set you back just over $5.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting, and of abstaining from meat. Fasting is defined as eating one full meatless meal, as well as two smaller meals that are not equal to a full meal. Catholics also do not eat meat on the other Fridays in Lent.


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