LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/07/21: American fast food company, McDonald's restaurant seen at Charing Cross Road Street in London.
McDonald's to open 700 restaurants for dine-in tomorrow with food served by table service only and all customers asked to leave their contact details. (Photo by Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Rise And Immediate Fall
Of McDonald's
'Hula Burger'
By Chase Shustack
It may come as a surprise, but McDonald's famous fish sandwich and their somewhat obscure Hula Burger were going to be the same, in theory. The story of the Hula Burger and the Filet-O-Fish is one of Catholics, pineapples, and a bet between McDonald's CEO and a franchisee in Cincinnati.
Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchisee in Ohio in the 1960s, struggled during Lent, as most customers avoided hamburgers, which led Groen to invent a breaded fish sandwich to appeal to the Catholic masses (per Smithsonian Magazine). CEO Ray Kroc proposed that if Groen's fish sandwich could beat out Kroc's own "Hula Burger" in sales, he would make Groen's sandwich permanent on the menu.
Kroc's "Hula Burger" was nothing more than a pineapple ring between two buns (per Reader’s Digest). When one McDonald's store began to sell Hula Burgers and Filet-O-Fish, over 350 customers purchased the Filet-O-Fish, leaving the pineapple-based sandwich as something of a relic in the halls of McDonald's.