This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake! Did you know that in 1974, sales from the shake helped to build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia?! The mission began when the daughter of a Philadelphia Eagles player was being treated for Leukemia. Together with with a local McDonald’s Owner and Operator- Hal Rosen, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Eagles, the family raised enough funds through Shamrock Shake sales to help open the first Ronald McDonald House as a way to keep families close during difficult times. Today, a portion of each minty flavored treat supports our House… what an easy (and delicious) way to give back!
Here are some more fun facts that you probably didn’t know about the Shamrock Shake®:
- The Shamrock Shake® was created in 1967 by Hal Rosen, a Connecticut McDonald’s Owner and Operator who made the delicious, mint shake in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. It debuted nationally in 1970 and was an instant success across the country.
- In 1974, sales from the shake helped to build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. The mission began when the daughter of a Philadelphia Eagles player was being treated for Leukemia. Together with a local McDonald’s Owner and Operator Hal Rosen, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles, the family raised enough funds through Shamrock Shake sales to help open the first Ronald McDonald House as a way to keep families close during difficult times. Today, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) continues to keep millions of families with sick children near the care and resources they need all over the world through a network of local Chapters and over 1,000 core programs.
- Giving fans another way to enjoy the classic Shamrock Shake flavor, McDonald’s introduced the “Shamrock Sundae” for a limited time in 1980, consisting of vanilla soft serve topped with a mint-green Shamrock syrup.
- On St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, Shamrock Season was bigger than ever as the “World’s Largest Shamrock Shake” was “poured” into the Chicago River in honor of a $10,000 donation to develop a new RMHC house in the city of Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. The shake was 24 feet tall.
- Following years of Shamrock Shake fandom, the iconic shake went nationwide for the first time in 2012, giving cult-followers something to celebrate.
- When chocolate was added to the Shamrock Shake for a limited time in 2017 nationally, McDonald’s changed the world (of shake-drinking) with a limited-edition straw designed by a team of aerospace and robotic engineers. The revolutionary STRAW offered the most-scientifically-ideal way to enjoy the Chocolate Shamrock Shake, delivering 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip.
- Given the special ties of the Shamrock Shake to the Philadelphia Eagles and RMHC, participating restaurants in Philadelphia offered the menu item twice in 2019: once during the regular Shamrock Season, and once to commemorate the beginning of the NFL season in September.
- Before the Shamrock Shake went national, fanatics created a website to track down which lucky restaurants offered the menu item. In 2018, McDonald’s made it even easier for fans with the McDonald’s Finder App – an official mobile directory of every Shamrock Shake-serving restaurant in the US.
- Love for the Shamrock Shake crosses borders! In addition to being a seasonal U.S. favorite, the Shamrock Shake will be sold in both Canada and Ireland in 2020.
- In 2020, McDonald’s is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Shamrock Shake by taking the legendary treat national for the first time since 2017 and introducing a new twist on the fan favorite: the OREO® Shamrock McFlurry®.