Long before diversity became an industry goal, these women were delivering it

Restaurant Rewind: Without them, we might not have the McDonald's, In-N-Out and Marriott that we do today.

The restaurant industry seems as if it’s going backward in its efforts to promote diversity within its top executive ranks. If it goes all the way back to the mid-20th century, it’ll find that the role of women in particular was far more pronounced in those formative years.

Indeed, women played key roles in the development of the chain sector, in part because those early ventures were largely family affairs. Men might have grabbed the limelight, but women were often the key figures behind the scenes.

This week’s episode of Restaurant Rewind looks back at three of those female pioneers. Without them, we likely wouldn’t have the McDonald’s, In-N-Out and Marriott International we do today.

Join us as we celebrate women who are still role models all these decades later.  

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Exclusive Content


Reaction to Wendy's dynamic pricing test reveals its risks

The Bottom Line: The burger chain mentioned last week that it would test the pricing strategy sometime next year. Consumers frustrated with prices reacted swiftly.


Why the Burgerim settlement exposes flaws in franchise oversight

The Bottom Line: The federal government allowed the chain’s founder to avoid major penalties by simply paying $1,000. What’s the point of regulation in the first place?


Why the Smashed Jack sparked record-smashing demand at Jack in the Box

Behind the Menu: The chain’s newest menu addition aims to break the mold on what a fast-food burger can be, and customers are buying in.