File this under things I didn’t know until today…
Did you know that the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was originally created for Lent? I did not.
As it turns out, Lou Groen was the man who invented the Filet-O-Fish after he opened the first Mcdonald’s restaurant in the Cincinnati area back in the 60s.
Upon opening, he realized that his customers were heavily Catholic and back then, most Catholics abstained from meat every Friday, not just during Lent.
That’s when he figured out that his customers were going to another restaurant on Friday’s that served a fish sandwich and that’s when his idea for the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish was born.
“So I invented my fish sandwich, developed a special batter, made the tartar sauce and took it to headquarters.”Source
It wasn’t that easy though – you see, McDonald’s was reluctant to add this to their menus. It was between Groen’s fish sandwich and another idea created by McDonald’s chief Ray Kroc called the Hula Burger which was a meatless sandwich.
“He called his sandwich the Hula Burger,”
“It was a cold bun and a slice of pineapple and that was it. Ray said to me, ‘Well, Lou, I’m going to put your fish sandwich on (a menu) for a Friday. But I’m going to put my special sandwich on, too. Whichever sells the most, that’s the one we’ll go with.’Source
Well, Groen’s filet-o-fish ended up selling 350 sandwiches and the rest is history.
So, now when you order up your favorite fish sandwich from McDonald’s you’ll know that it is because one guy came up with the idea for Lent and now, it’s a popular staple item on the McDonald’s menu.