And on the third day, Groen created the Filet-O-Fish. And it was good.
Not only did Groen have the almost saintlike intuition to buy a McDonald's franchise in the early '60s, but he also realized the company was getting screwed out of some serious bucks during the sacred stretch when Catholic customers ditched the golden arches for fried fish joints -- Groen noted that the nearby Big Boy was doing gangbusters business with its version of the fish sandwich.
So, he hatched a fish sandwich concept of his own that would fit with McDonald's fast food ethos, whipped up some tartar sauce, and took his experiment to Micky D's headquarters for an evaluation, and hopefully the go-ahead from corporate.
The brass at McDonald's couldn't deny that Groen's fish-wich was a solid idea, but they were already conceptualizing ideas for a meatless sandwich, too -- because if there's one thing upper-management excels at, it's crushing the dreams of their employees (excluding my bosses, of course).
Don't freak out, but the Filet-O-Fish was almost nixed for the "Hula Burger"
Groen said that McDonald's head honcho, Ray Croc, envisioned their meatless sandwich as a cold bun with a slice of pineapple and cheese on it. And he wanted to call it the (**shudder**) "Hula Burger." Seriously.
"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.' Friday came and the word came out. I won hands down. I sold 350 fish sandwiches that day. Ray never did tell me how his sandwich did," Groen said.
People prefer warm cuts of fried fish to cold slices of pineapple? What marketing department could have possibly seen that coming?! Though to be fair pineapple seems to have beat fish out in terms of popularity as a pizza topping (even if not everyone is on board).