Friday, October 21st, 2016

He brought Ronald McDonald to Madison


The Associated Press is reporting Edwin Traisman died Tuesday at the age of 91. According to the AP, during his life Traisman helped develop Cheez Whiz, individually wrapped slices of cheese and, most importantly, invented the process for freezing french fries for McDonalds. He owned five McDonalds restaurants.

Desiring a return to research, he went as a program manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Food Research Institute in 1970. In 1987, he helped initiate research on E. coli, which was then a little-known pathogen, according to a university news release. He was later inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Traisman officially retired from the institute in 1988 but continued to edit its newsletter until his death.

‘‘He was a marvelous guy with a marvelous legacy,’’ director Michael Pariza said.

The Capital Times reports Traisman was the first person to open a McDonalds franchise in Madison.

Traisman became one of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc’s first franchise owners in 1957, when he opened a McDonald’s near the intersection of South Park and Buick streets, where an Open Pantry operates today. Hamburgers sold for 15 cents, french fries for a dime and milkshakes for 12 cents. The concept of the fledgling McDonald’s intrigued him, so one day while still working for Kraft he stopped at one of the new Chicago-area restaurants to find out more about it.

He often told the story of how he approached a man sweeping the floor and asked to see the manager. The man sweeping the floor turned out to be none other than Ray Kroc himself, who quickly gave Traisman all the details. He secured a franchise for $25,000. The McDonald’s Corp. eventually repurchased the franchise in return for company stock. By that time, Traisman had opened four more restaurants in the Madison area.

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