Episode #7 of the course “History’s greatest entrepreneurs”
American businessman Ray Kroc was one of the leaders of the fast-food and quick-service restaurant industries. In the mid-20th century, he introduced the assembly-line mentality to his hamburger restaurants by standardizing their operations at all franchises. Important to the development of food service around the world, Kroc pioneered concepts of sanitation, customer service, and food preparation that are standard practice in the restaurant industry today.
Born in 1902, Kroc stumbled through a variety of careers in his youth until he landed in the restaurant industry, where he seemed to have found his calling. In 1954 or 1955 he convinced two brothers to allow him to purchase a franchise of their small chain restaurant—the first McDonald’s Inc. chain location opened in Illinois in 1955. The location was a huge success, and eventually Kroc bought out the McDonalds brothers and expanded the restaurant across the nation.
The oldest operating McDonald’s restaurant was the fourth one built, opening in 1953.
Standardized operations in every store meant that McDonald’s offered speedy service with a smile. He ordered strict measurements for portions, cooking based on standardized time and temperature measurements, and uniformed packaging and presentation at all locations. He also strictly enforced uniformed appearance for employees. Kroc remained so involved with the original store location throughout his life that he would sometimes call the manager to remind him of cleaning standards. As an entrepreneur, Ray Kroc also explored various marketing strategies that caught the public imagination and brought people to his restaurants.
In his later life, Kroc filled his retirement time with his love of baseball. From 1974 to 1979, he owned and actively managed the MLB team the San Diego Padres.
“We take the hamburger business more seriously than anyone else.”
“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
“Its easy to have principles when you’re rich. The important thing is to have principles when you’re poor.”
“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
“Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonald’s” by Ray Kroc
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