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McDonald's franchisee Lou Groen created the Filet-O-Fish back in 1962 to boost sagging Friday sales in his predominantly Catholic neighborhood.
Ray Kroc had just bought the chain from the McDonald brothers the year before and took an interest in the new non-hamburger sandwich, but even he didn't envision the staple it would become.
It was 1962, and McDonald’s was a brand primarily serving hamburgers, an item Catholic customers couldn’t consume in observance of Lent. In response, Groen put together a fish sandwich, but it required a more complicated cooking process than other items and the company wasn’t initially sold on offering it. — Alex Dixon, QSR
Today the Filet-O-Fish is still on McDonald's permanent menu and is still going strong:
The sandwich is served internationally with regional twists, such as with wasabi in certain Asia locations and an Old Bay Seasoning tartar sauce in select U.S. restaurants on the East Coast. And even though it’s served year-round, it’s still popular during Lent. In 2016, 25 percent of annual sales of the sandwich came during that time. — Dixon, QSR