Now that it's Lent season, we're all going to drive over to McDonald's to get out favorite Lent treat: Filet-O-Fish! Shocking to most, 25% of Filet-O-Fish orders are during Lent every year. I guess our friends at corporate can thank the Catholics for this one, because who else would be eating this much fish throughout this 40-day period? 

(For those of you who aren't aware, during Lent, Catholics are supposed to obtain from eating meat of "beast and bird" and stick to fish.) 

bun, sandwich, bread
Caroline Ingalls

However, many don't know the crazy history behind this iconic menu item. Just like the classic burger and fries, the Filet-O-Fish was one of the first items you could get at McDonald's. This creation is credited to a Cincinnati franchise owner who realized he was losing Catholic customers during this time of year.

Why Fish?

Connor Howe

The whole concept traces back to the Roman times with the Lenten diet, which consisted mostly of fish, fruits, and vegetables, due to their low cost and availability. During these ancient times, almost everyone could afford to eat fish because anyone could simply run to the nearest river or ocean and catch some. 

The Invention

Caroline Ingalls

The Cincinnati McDonald's owner, Lou Groen, had the idea to start offering something people would be able to eat on Fridays during Lent. This idea blossomed in his head after finding that his profits were next to nothing on Fridays.

cake, candy, chocolate
Caroline Ingalls

Groen created a recipe for the Filet-O-Fish and took it to headquarters, where another franchise owner proposed another meatless alternative idea. His opponent, Ray Kroc, made a sandwich that consisted of cheese and pineapples, which he called the "Hula Burger." I know it sounds gross, but they loved it at headquarters.

To settle which creation would join the McDonald's menu, both items, as a test run, were sold for only one Friday during Lent. Groen won by a landslide, selling 350 sandwiches, compared to the 6 Kroc sold. From there, the Filet-O-Fish was added to the menu, after bringing in more profits at the end of the day than Kroc's creation.

sweet, vegetable
Shannon Chu

Now that it's Lent, think of giving something up for health reasons, religious traditions aside. With all of the bad things put in meat these days, it might be good to stick to fish and vegetables at least one day a week. It's a good thing you can get your vegetable from McDonald's, too. I mean, fries count, right?