10 Things You Didn't Know About McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Other Fast Food Restaurants
Even if you don't love fast food, you probably still know a lot about it. Who among us can't tell the difference between a Whopper and a Big Mac, for instance?
But what about more obscure minutiae, like where Taco Bell's newest logo came from, or what Colonel Sanders did before he became a household name? Sure, the answers to these trivial questions may not net you any points on SAT or IQ tests, but they're interesting just the same. And who knows? Some of this info might come in handy in other ways, like during a spirited round of pub trivia at your local bar.
Eh, probably not. But here's ten fun facts anyway:
1. In 1989, two employees at a Domino's Pizza in Chamblee, Georgia, were held at gunpoint by a man named Kenneth Lamar Noid. According to a police detective, Noid was "having an ongoing feud in his mind with the owner of Domino's Pizza" over the Domino's mascot, called The Noid. Noid agreed to release his hostages in exchange for $100,000 (along with a library book, a getaway car and a pizza), but both employees managed to escape unharmed after about five hours. Noid only got the pizza before giving himself up.
2. Despite eating food from the McDonald's menu "every single day," the company's CEO claims to have slimmed down over the last year. Don Thompson credits his 20-pound weight loss to picking his "butt up" and "working out again."
3. Taco Bell is named after its founder, Glen Bell. His earlier burger joint was called Bell's Burgers.
4. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" actress Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared in a Burger King commercial when she was only five years old, and in it, she criticized the size of McDonald's hamburger patties. As a result, McDonald's brought a lawsuit against Burger King, during which time Gellar was prohibited from eating at any McDonald's locations. "It was tough because, when you're a little kid, McDonald's is where all your friends have their birthday parties. So I missed out on a lot of apple pies."
5. Depending on the source, Taco Bell's current pink and purple logo either debuted in the 1993 film "Demolition Man" or it was modeled after the version that appeared on-screen. (In the movie, Taco Bell is the only restaurant left in the futuristic city of San Angeles after some sort of "franchise war.")
6. Before founding KFC, Colonel Sanders shot a guy in a gun fight. While operating a fledgling gas station in Corbin, Kentucky, he (along with two representatives from Shell Oil) got into a heated shoot-out with the owner of a Standard Oil station across the road. Sanders wasn't charged with the crime, seeing as someone else started the altercation.
7. Clara Peller, the actress who played the "Where's the Beef?" lady in Wendy's 1984 ad campaigns, was fired in 1985 after uttering her famous phrase in another company's commercial — specifically, an ad for Prego spaghetti sauce. Wendy's claimed that the commercial "infers that Clara found the beef at somewhere other than Wendy's restaurants.''
8. In 1962, McDonald's franchise owner Lou Groen was looking for ways to cater to the Roman Catholic population that lived in his Cincinnati neighborhood, because they tended to abstain from meat on Fridays. He brought his idea for a fish sandwich to McDonald's headquarters, where McDonald's chief Ray Kroc issued him a challenge: If Groen's Filet-O-Fish sold better at a specific McDonald's location than Kroc's own idea for a Hula Burger (containing only a bun and a slice of pineapple), Kroc would add it to the national menu. "I won hands-down," claimed Groen.
9. The McDonald's Big Mac was originally slated to be called the "Blue Ribbon Burger." It was 21-year-old Esther Glickstein, employed as a secretary in the company's advertising department, who suggested Big Mac as a last-minute alternative. (Some sources say that the name "Aristocrat" was also a front-runner, and that the burger itself was modeled after the Bob's Big Boy.)
10. Most In-N-Out Burger locations have palm trees growing on the premises, with two planted specifically to form an X. In-N-Out founder Harry Snyder was reportedly a huge fan of the film "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," in which a host of characters race to uncover a buried treasure located beneath criss-crossing palm trees.