Who Is Ray Kroc?

McDonald's Founder Ray Kroc

While, in the real world, this is a bit of a misnomer, The McDonald's Brothers actually founded McDonald's. What Ray Kroc did was to revolutionize the fast food industry. In fact it would be safe to say that he revolutionized the entire retail industry and how products were and are still delivered to market today.

There is a funny anecdote about Ray. At a young age, his father took him to someone who said they could predict the future. This person revealed that young Ray Kroc, would someday be in the food service industry. Lucky guess, well that parts up to you, but an interesting story either way.

The more important part of the story is what drove this young man to become the king of fast food chains and the leader of a whole new market delivery system called franchising. You see, he was always an entrepreneur, even when he was still in elementary school, he already had his own lemonade stand.

As with many kids of his generation, Ray worked his way through school, but found himself losing interest in his studies and eventually quite in favor of taking a sales job. What happened next was the beginning of a path that would take him to his most recognized role as the founder of McDonald's, the franchise organization.

Ray's Tenacity Changed The History Of McDonald's

From the very first sales job, it was clear that this young man was serious about success. Ray had the traits that an entrepreneur needs for success. He was willing to:
1) Work what ever hours it took to succeed.
2) Do whatever it took.
3) Understand the importance of delivering a quality product.
4) Make sure that he took care of the needs of his customers.
5) Learn and understand his market to be able to uncover new and unique opportunities.

While all of these things seem like they are pretty basic to success, it's amazing how few people are willing to do what it takes to actually succeed. But Ray Kroc got it and he lived by these six factors every day of his career. So, it was no surprise when he found a great new product that could handle five milkshakes at a time and new exactly how to market it.

The Multimixer put Ray into his element and it also put him in front of restaurant owners each and everyday. He was able to get the exclusive marketing rights to the product and spent the next ten years building a dynamic and successful business around this unique product.

The Entrepreneur, Ray Kroc, Saw His Next Opportunity

With the Multimixer business starting to slow, Ray was surprised by a large order from a couple of brothers in San Bernardino, California. By this time, many of his soda fountain customers had started to close. But this upstart restaurant was ordering enough mixers to make up to 40 milkshakes at a time.

Given his nose for marketing, Kroc, decided that he had to investigate this unique operation, especially since it was defying the odds in a changing market. So when he met with the McDonald brothers in California, he saw an operation like none he had ever seen before. He could see right away why this concept would work.

1) It was simple, they didn't have a lot of menu items.
2) It was easy to replicate, it just needed someone to document the process's.
3) There was potential for excellent margins, due to the simplicity and low overhead.
4) It used an assembly line process to make the food, providing customers with fast service, consistent and good quality product.
5) It was less expensive then other dine out options.

Being the driver that he was, Ray, was able to figure out how to take this operation and multiply it hundreds of times over. While the McDonald brothers had a great concept, they did not share Ray's vision. So rather then get involved, they were willing to give him exclusive rights to sell the McDonald's system and franchise operations.

In his first year Ray sold 18 franchises and from there the rest is history. McDonald's is one of the most successful franchise operations of all time, making Ray Kroc one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century.

Scott Schreiber is a retired businessman who has over 30 years of successful management of turn around projects, Mergers & Acquisitions, Venture Capital work and senior sales and marketing management. Scott's current mission is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs learn how to compete, grow and succeed in our current economy. He is also the founder of The Entrepreneur Success Team.

Learn more about 21st Century Entrepreneurs here.

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