Chronography of Restauarnts

Page last modified 19/10/2022


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See also Food and Drink (Pizzas and pizza outlets covered here)



13/9/2000, The French court handed down the verdict in the Jose Bove McDonalds trial. Mr Bove got three months.

12/8/1999, Local sheep farmers in Millau, Southern France, led by Mr. Jose Bove, attacked and demolished a partly-built McDonalds restaurant. This was in response to US restrictions on the import of Roquefort cheese, which was itself in retaliation for European restrictions on imports of hormone-fed beef, which affected US farmers. Roquefort production employed some 1,300 people in the Millau area and annual sales to the US were 440 tonnes. The US imposed a 100% import duty on Roquefort, sending its price in Washington DC up from US$ 30 to US$ 60 per kilo, and US sales of this cheese dwindled to zero.

19/6/1997, The fast food chain McDonalds won a partial victory in its McLibel case against two environmental campaigners.The judge decided it was true that McDonalds targeted its advertising at children, who then pestered their parents to visit McDonalds.

31/1/1990, The first McDonalds in Russia opened in Pushkin Square, Moscow.

14/1/1984, Ray Kroc, US business entrepreneur who developed the McDonalds fast food chain, died aged 81.

1975, The first McDonalds Drive Thru� opened.

1/10/1974. The first McDonalds opened in London, heralding the UK�s fast-food revolution.

5/10/1902, Ray Kroc, businessman who developed the McDonalds chain, was born (died 1984)


1986, The Pret a Manger chain was founded in London.

16/12/1980, Harland �Colonel� Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain, died aged 90.

1964, Colonel Sanders now had over 600 licencees. Sanders, now aged 74, now sold the franchise for US$ 2 million, plus an annual US$ 40,000 salary for life for acting as a �goodwill ambassador�.

1969, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy�s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant in Ohio, USA.

1962, The first Taco Bell restaurant was opened in Downey, California, by Glenn Bell. He had previously operated the Taco Tias and El Taco chains.

7/1/1959, Jean-Michel Lorain, French chef, was born.

1955, The Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken chain began when restauranteur Harland Sanders, aged 65, traveless across the USA setting up franchises with his particular blend of herbs and spices.

9/4/1955, Ray Krok bought the McDonalds burger restaurant franchise from its owners, Richard and Mac McDonald. Kroc was impressed with the McDonald sbbusiness model, but saw ways to cut costs further. The menu was streamlined, machinery used more intensively, and the burgers made more cheaply. The first of the modern McDonalds restaurants was in Des Plaines, Chicago � or � 15/4/1955, San Bernardino, California. In 1961 Kroc bought the ownership of the chain from the McDonalds brothers for US$2.7 million. By 1963 McDonalds sales of hamburgers amounted to over 1 billion. Kroc died in 1984 worth over US$ 500 million.


Lyon�s, Wimpy, Restaurants

1954, In Britain J Lyons opened the first Wimpy burger restaurant. The name Wimpy was taken from ther burger-eating character in Popeye.

25/10/1933, Lyons opened its Corner House fast food restaurant in London/ This was the Maison Lyons near Marble Arch. It could seat 2,000 people, and employed over 1,000. The earliest Lyon�s restaurant in London had opened in Coventry Street in 1907, seating 4,000, followed by a second in The Strand in 1912.


1930, As house sizes grew and more domestic appliances sbecame available, eating for the lower and midle classes shifted from restaurants to the home table. Restaurant eating became increasingly an upper clsass pursuit. The relatoive dcost of a resturanat meal compared to the same one at home rose form 25% extra in 1930 to 280% extra by 2014. However over this period, female labour participation rates also rose markedly, so the opportunity or shadow costs of hoime cooking � the time spend preparing and cleaning up � rose, making even it economic to eat out even as relative restaurant meal costs to home meal costs rose.

20/12/1928. Harry Ramsden started his first fish and chip restaurant in a hut near Bradford, West Yorkshire, which soon became the most famous in the world.

1926, Michelin Stars, for top restuarants, were instituted.

1919, The first Indian-cuisine restaurant in London opened.

1900, Michelin began their restaurant guides. Published in Paris, by tyre producers Andre and Edouard Michelin, restaurants got 3 stars (worth a special jurney), 2 stars (worth a detour) or 1 star. The idea was to get motorists to drive more, wearing out their tyres.

4/9/1885. The world�s first cafeteria opened, in New York.

15/7/1863, The Compangnie Generale des Etablissments Michelin was founded.

1765, The first �restaurant� opened in the Champ d�Oiseaux, Paris, France. Its sign said Venite ad me, omnes qui stomach laboratis, et ego restaurabo vos (come to me all those whose stomachs grumble, and I will restore you). Restaurant owners are therefore restaurateurs (restorers), not restauranteurs.

1762, Fraunces Tavern, the oldest restaurant in New York (still tradingin 2021) opened.

1742, Wittons Fish Restaurant opened in London. By now (see 1642) the idea was gaining ground that the wealthy might eat out at restaurants too. Cities were becoming safer, and also starting to be places of conspicuous consumption, where the rich might flaunt their wealth, their ostentatious clothes, jewellery, etc. This flaunting might also involve ordering more food than was actually desired or consumed.

4/3/1634. Samuel Cole opened the first tavern in America, in Boston, Massachusetts. The wealthy, however, in America and in Europe, preferred to eat at home, where se=rvants would do the cooking and cleaning up.

1170, Londoners could now purchase ready-cooked game, meat and fish to eat elsewhere.

100 AD, The poor in Roman cities would not have their own kitchens at home. For hot food they visited a thermopolium, or hot food store; not so different to the takeaways much used in less affluent urban areas today. In Pompeii, 79 AD, it has been estimated that there was one takeaway per 60-100 people, a higher ratio than in many major cities today. The lower social status of these establishments led Cicero and Homer to compare them to brothels.


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