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The stories behind how your favourite takeaway joints got their names have been revealed

Monday - 26/02/2018 22:37
PLUCKED from a dream, an old map and a kid’s birth certificate — this is how our favourite fast food joints got their names.
In 1954, Ray Kroc bought out McDonald’s from brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California. Picture: iStockSource:istock
In 1954, Ray Kroc bought out McDonald’s from brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in San Bernardino, California. Picture: iStockSource:istock

JUST how did your favourite fast restaurants get their names? 

MCDONALD’S

In 1940, brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened a small but successful drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

They redesigned it to focus on hamburgers, fries and milkshakes in 1948, and partnered with Ray Kroc in 1954.

But there was conflict between the brothers and Kroc, and in the end Ray Kroc bought the restaurant and the name, built the system around it, and made it the global powerhouse that it is today.

DOMINO’S

In 1960, brothers Jim and Tom Monaghan bought a pizza shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, called DomiNick’s.

After some drama and the subsequent rising success of the business, the original owner decided to retain the rights to the name.

With a looming deadline for an ad in the phone book (remember those?) it is rumoured that a delivery driver named Jim Kennedy came up with Domino’s Pizza.

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SUBWAY

In 1965, after medical school didn’t work out, Fred DeLuca and his friend Peter Buck opened Pete’s Super Submarines in Milford, Connecticut, setting a goal to have 32 locations in 10 years.

The sandwich slingers changed the name to “Pete’s Subway” a few years later.

But in 1974, with just 16 locations throughout the state, they decided to franchise the business in an attempt to meet their goal. The name? Simply, Subway.

Subway was originally called Pete’s Super Submarines. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Subway was originally called Pete’s Super Submarines. Picture: AP Photo/Mark LennihanSource:AP

CHICK-FIL-A

In 1946, there wasn’t much chicken at The Dwarf Grill in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Later the restaurant became known as The Dwarf House, with signage including the Chick-fil-A logo we know today.

Samuel Truett Cathy created the simplest of sandwiches (chicken and two pickles on a bun) in 1964, and eventually, the Dwarf bit fell off as the empire grew.

WHATABURGER

For the creator of the famous A-frame burger shack, bigger was simply better.

In the mid-20th century, patties were stuck at a humble 4-inches (10cm).

But Harmon Dobson dreamt of a square five (12.5cm).

A burger so grand, in fact, that it would make one exclaim, “What a burger!”

And his chain’s name is an homage to that dream.

STARBUCKS

The story of how Starbucks got its name literally starts with “st”.

When co-founder Gordon Bowker was brainstorming name ideas with some friends, an ad agency colleague declared he thought words starting with “st” were powerful.

The group later came across an old map that included a town called Starbo.

The name instantly reminded Bowker of the Moby Dick character, Starbuck, and thus an empire was born.

An old map and a copy of Moby Dick helped create the Starbucks name.
An old map and a copy of Moby Dick helped create the Starbucks name.Source:News Limited

WENDY’S

Ever since he was a boy, Dave Thomas knew he wanted to have a restaurant.

And after 20 years in the business, he did just that, opening the first Wendy’s in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio.

Wendy was the nickname of one of his children, Melinda.

But he wasn’t playing favourites — he experimented with all five of his kids’ names before settling.

CHIPOTLE

It was a bit of a eureka moment when founder Steve Ells came up with the name Chipotle.

“It was just like a light bulb went off,” he told Bloomberg.

While others close to him said it was obscure or too hard to pronounce, he stuck with it.

And now, for the US’s burrito-hungry masses, the name is on the tip of their tongue.

Despite fears it was hard to pronounce founder Steve Ells stuck with the name Chipotle. Picture: AP Photo/Gene J Puskar
Despite fears it was hard to pronounce founder Steve Ells stuck with the name Chipotle. Picture: AP Photo/Gene J PuskarSource:AP

This story originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission.

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