The other day the fast-food giant celebrated its 67th birthday and for the big occasion, we thought to recall the beginnings of its operation in Hungary and show you the world’s most beautiful McDonald’s store which happens to be in Budapest! Read on to find out which one we are talking about.
The very first McDonald’s opened in a small town near Chicago in 1955. The fast-food restaurant icon changed the landscape of people’s eating all over the globe within a couple of decades. Except for some nations living in far-flung, isolated corners of the world, there is hardly anyone who has never heard of this international powerhouse or tried their delicious burgers. But how did this capitalist US chain manage to break into the Hungarian market 33 years ago, before the regime change?
As Blikk informs us, it took 33 years and 14 days for the fast-food giant to conquer Hungary after the opening of its first US store. The very first Hungarian McDonald’s opened in Régiposta Street on 29 April 1988, before the end of the Iron Curtain. Hungarians waited in mile-long queues to finally taste the American flavours. Employers of the store served 10,000 customers that day during a period of 14 hours.
People could choose from 15 different products, the most expensive item on the menu was the Big Mac which cost HUF 43 (EUR 0.11) at that time.
Even Magyar Nemzet, a renowned Hungarian daily newspaper, mentioned the big event on its cover, adding that József Márjai former Deputy Prime Minister and Jenő Váncsa Minister of Food and Agriculture opened the store. Interestingly, the first employees were not Hungarian but foreign workers who had already learned the necessary skills for the job in other stores.
It did not take long for the fast-food company to open several other stores in the country. By 1990, people could enjoy burgers and fries in three other locations: in Győr, in the first Mcdrive in Óbuda and in the most beautiful McDonald’s location at Eiffel Square. The store is located near the Nyugati Railway Station and stands out with its antique lamps, wrought-iron doors and light blue ceiling. The impressive building that houses the store was designed by Gustave Eiffel’s architectural company.
The railway station was built between 1874-77, and the former restaurant often hosted Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also called Princess Sissi.
By 1966, Hungary counted more than 50 McDonald’s stores in the country. The 100th store opened in Győr, in 2009. Today, there are 90 stores in total, and half of them operate in the capital. What used to be a unique experience back in the ‘80s, grabbing a Big Mac on your way home is an everyday thing now. Moreover, you can even order online if you are in the mood for some guilty pleasure. Over the years, McDonald’s received a lot of criticism for the low wages they pay to their employees, their environment polluting practices and the cruel ways they treat animals. Nonetheless, it seems that the fast-food giant is invincible, people are still queueing day after day in the stores for their favorite products.