During Lent each year McDonald's sees an uptick in sales of its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.
The burger-chain sells nearly 25% of their wild-caught Alaska Pollock fish sandwiches during Lent, when many Catholics forgo meat on Fridays, according to spokeswoman Becca Hary.
The Filet-O-Fish sandwich owes its existence on the McDonald's menu to a Cincinnati-franchise owner who noticed in the 1960s that he was losing Catholic customers on Fridays due to the burger-only options. Since its inception, the sandwich has been a staple for many over the last 55 years.
On social media, many noted that Lent, which begins on March 1, is jokingly dubbed "Filet-O-Fish season" in some communities.
The filet-o-fish is truly a staple in the Catholic community during Lent.— Ally (@allyportz11) February 27, 2017
Just found out lent starts Wednesday. It's officially filet o fish season— Bill Ehrlichman (@BillEhrlichman) February 27, 2017
Ash Wednesday is this week. Bye bye social media and hello filet o fish fridays. 🙏🏼 #Lent— Austin Quick (@El_Presidente35) February 27, 2017
Lou Groen, who owned the first McDonald's restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, came up with the idea of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962, when he was making next-to-nothing on Fridays, according to McDonald's archivist Mike Bullington. He created a Filet-O-Fish recipe and took it to headquarters, where McDonald's chief Ray Kroc was also preparing his own meatless alternative, Bullington said.
Kroc challenged Groen to a Friday sell-off to see whether customers preferred Kroc's Hula Burger, which consisted of a piece of grilled pineapple and cheese on a bun, or the Filet-O-Fish. Bullington said Groen won by a landslide, with the Hula Burger selling six sandwiches and Filet-O-Fish selling 350.