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slicing potatoes. Simplot offered to build a new factory solely for the manufacture of McDonald’s french fries. Kroc agreed to try Simplot’s
fries, but made no long-term commitment. The deal was sealed with a handshake.
McDonald’s began to sell J. R. Simplot’s frozen french fries the following year. Customers didn’t notice any difference in taste. And the
reduced cost of using a frozen product made french fries one of the most profitable items on the menu — far more profitable than
hamburgers. Simplot quickly became the main supplier of french fries to McDonald’s. At the time, McDonald’s had about 725 restaurants in
the United States. Within a decade, it had more than 3,000. Simplot sold his frozen fries to other restaurant chains, accelerating the growth of
the fast food industry and changing the nation’s eating habits. Americans have long consumed more potatoes than any other food except dairy
products and wheat flour. In 1960, the typical American ate eighty-one pounds of fresh potatoes and about four pounds of frozen french fries.
Today the typical American eats about forty...
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- Spring '08