We remember Ray Kroc, or the man who gave us McDonalds hamburgers. He was born in Illinois and a great entrepreneurial story:
It was in his role as a milkshake machine salesman that Kroc first became involved with McDonald’s, a restaurant chain based in San Bernardino, California.
The McDonald brothers were clients who had purchased multiple mixers. Grasping the franchising potential of McDonald’s, Kroc offered to work as a franchising agent for a cut of the profits.
Ultimately, Kroc’s ambitions for the restaurants eclipsed those of the McDonald brothers. In 1955, Kroc became president of the McDonald’s Corporation. He bought out the owners entirely six years later.
In 1977, after leading McDonald’s past archrival Burger King, Kroc reassigned himself to the role of senior chairman. He held this position until his death in 1984.
Under Kroc’s ownership, McDonald’s retained some of its original character while incorporating new elements. Kroc kept the assembly line approach to hamburger preparation that the McDonald brothers pioneered in the 1940s.
Kroc’s key contributions to the restaurant were automation, standardization and discipline. Franchise owners, carefully chosen for their ambition and drive, went through a training course at “Hamburger University” in Elk Grove, Illinois.
There, they earned certificates in “hamburgerology with a minor in french fries.”
Kroc saw the growth of suburbs and placed his stores there. He captured new markets with tasty hamburgers and french fries.
In “Cubanos in Wisconsin“, I recall our first encounter with McDonalds’ milkshakes and cheeseburgers. It was a great welcome to the US.