The Filet-O-Fish was McDonald’s first non-meat sandwich addition to the menu. And while it has remained a popular menu item for over 50 years, it was created out of necessity by one desperate franchisee.
The first Filet-O-Fish was introduced by a Cincinnati-area franchisee in 1961. His Ohio restaurant was located in an area of the city where over two-thirds of the population were practicing Catholics and didn’t eat meat on Fridays. As a result, the burger sales dropped dramatically on Friday nights. Losing most of the Friday business to another local franchise that served a fish sandwich on the menu he knew he had to do something fast.