‘The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it’ said Ray Kroc, an American entrepreneur who expanded McDonalds from a local fast food to a world renowned multi-million dollar business. Included in ‘The World’s Most Important People of the Century’ by Time 100, Ray Kroc was one of the most successful business personalities of the world.
Kroc was born on 5th October 1902 in Oak Park. At 15, he served in the First World War as a Red Cross Ambulance driver. After the war he tried his luck at various jobs including a paper cup salesman, jazz musician, pianist, radio DJ and band member. While selling cups he met Earl Prince who had invented the Multimixer. Kroc recognized the cash cow and got exclusive marketing rights to the machine. He earned a lot from this venture however by the time he turned 50, sales began to decline. As people left for the suburbs soda fountains began to close down.
When Kroc received an order of 8 machines from a small restaurant, he was very curious so decided to go to California and see for himself. It was McDonalds, a small hamburger place run by two brothers. And that was it; Kroc reached the right place at the right time and then did something about it. Kroc was very intrigued by this restaurant as it was different from all the other eating places of the time. He calculated the financial opportunities of opening franchises of the restaurant all over the country. When he pitched his idea to the brothers but they were not interested. Then Kroc took help from Harry Sonnenborne who assisted him with the financial aspects. Kroc became the President of McDonalds in 1955 and bought out the entire corporation from the brothers.
Kroc developed the restaurant maintaining strict rules, standardizing operations and making sure that the taste of the food was same in very restaurant. He did not allow cost cutting techniques such as using soy bean fillers in the patties. He developed a manual that had precise policies and guidelines. These measures ensured high service standards and consistency in all McDonald’s restaurants. His marketing techniques helped improve sales immensely. By 1970s McDonalds became the largest food supplier in the U.S and remained in this position for the next twenty years. Kroc’s entrepreneurial spirit enabled him to spearhead the one of world’s most successful business that serves more than 50 million customers in a single day and has over half a million employees. Kroc also known as the ‘king of the hamburger’ is the pioneer of one of the most compelling names in the fast food industry.
Kroc is a true example of an entrepreneur who had the drive and extraordinary skills that allowed him to mastermind his success. Kroc was a school drop out but this did not stop him. He suffered a stroke in 1978 after which he had to enter AA rehab. Ray Kroc died due to heart failure on 14th January 1984 but his legend lives on.