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

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.

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.