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What Inspired the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich?

The McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich was born from a simple yet innovative idea: to serve a meatless option for Catholic customers abstaining from meat on Fridays. In 1962, franchisee Lou Groen noticed a dip in sales on these days and proposed the fish sandwich. It was an instant hit! Curious about how it became a menu staple worldwide? Let's dive deeper.

If you love McDonald's fish sandwich, thank the Catholic Church. The Filet-O-Fish was not part of McDonald's menu in 1959, when Lou Groen opened a franchise in Cincinnati, a city with a significant Catholic population. But after seeing his sales plummet every Friday for years -- when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat and many of Groen's customers went elsewhere to eat seafood -- Groen came up with the idea of getting his regular customers hooked on a new fish sandwich.

Company founder Ray Kroc hated the idea, saying it would "stink up" his franchises, but he agreed to a contest: He would offer customers a choice between his "Hula Burger," which was pineapple and cheese on a bun, and Groen's fish sandwich. Needless to say, Groen's invention won easily, and the now-iconic Filet-O-Fish became a permanent menu fixture in 1963.

More about Mickey D's:

  • McDonald's is the world's largest toy producer, distributing 1.5 billion toys around the world every year via its Happy Meals.

  • According to a Sponsorship Research International survey of 7,000 people in six countries, more people recognize the Golden Arches than the Christian cross, at 88 percent to 54 percent.

  • No one in the United States is ever more than 107 miles (172 km) from the nearest McDonald's.

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    • The McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich was created by an Ohio franchisee after he noticed that his largely Catholic clientele wasn't purchasing burgers on Friday.
      The McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich was created by an Ohio franchisee after he noticed that his largely Catholic clientele wasn't purchasing burgers on Friday.