Most unused fast food and fast-food restaurants offer kids meals or menus, but none is as iconic as McDonald’s Happy Meal. How can you not be satisfied with the food when served in a fun box and delivered with a free toy?
But recognizable as a happy meal, it was not the first of its kind. In fact, McDVOICE didn’t even invent the concept of children’s food. The fast-food chain behind the great idea was Burger Chef.
Have you never heard of that? It is not surprising. Burger Chef moved in the 1960s and early 1970s and even ran for McDVOICE. Sadly, the return fell quickly after some failed complaints. Hundreds of locations were closed and Hardee bought the rest in 1982. The last Burger Chef franchise closed in 1996.
The Tough Competition
However, at its peak, Burger Chef made drastic improvements in the fast-food industry, largely due to the invention of children’s food in 1973. Entertaining food, as the chain called it, included a small hamburger, drink, chips, dessert and a small toy (the plastic discs were also a regular price). All of this came in a colorful box decorated with puzzles and comics containing characters like a magician named Burgerini and a vampire named Graf Fangburger. The network also accomplished what metv.com calls a “decades-long license agreement” when it partnered with Star Wars in 1978 for seven different children’s plates inspired by a distant galaxy. C-3PO and R2-D2 even came in Burger Chef commercials. Find out how much these classic fast foods cost.
Innovations in fast food marked the beginning of the chain. As per the reports of Business Insider, Donald and Frank Thomas of the General Equipment Company took a step to open a store to show their machines, including soft ice cream and proprietary grills. The success was so great that the brothers finally opened it in 1958 as a restaurant called Burger Chef. It was the first chain to sell a combination of fried burgers and drinks. In the early 1970s, McDonald’s was the only fast-food chain with the most locations in the country.
Unfortunately for Burger Chef, its main competitor finally won. McDVOICE launched Happy Meal in 1979, and the hamburger chef sued unsuccessfully for accepting the idea of a fun meal. Two years later, Burger King continued his fun school lunch and stayed out of court, The Indianapolis Star reports. Here are 10 more fast-food scandals that have rocked the industry.