Ray Kroc: The Biography Of The McDonald’s Entrepreneur
Today, McDonald’s is synonymous with fast food throughout the world. No matter where you go on your travels, you are likely to find a McDonald’s restaurant somewhere nearby. It is one of the biggest global brands in the world alongside Coca Cola and it may be hard to believe that it was the work of one man that made it so. Ray Kroc was the extraordinary entrepreneur that turned one restaurant into a global franchise.
Through The World Wars
Given his humble beginnings, it may be difficult to see how Ray Kroc turned himself into entrepreneur extraordinaire. Born on October 5, 1902, Kroc did not even begin to amass his fortune until after the close of World War II. He had taken part in both World Wars and had failed to adapt to any of the trades he attempted to forge a career in between them. He had been a travelling salesman, a pianist and an ambulance driver and failed at all three. However, not to be disheartened and believing that his big break was out there, Kroc persisted in trying various jobs until he found his niche.
Ray Kroc met Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California in the early 1950s. The brothers had opened their first restaurant in 1948 and business was good because the hamburger restaurant concept was relatively untried until that point. As a milkshake mixer salesman, Kroc saw a chance to put his entrepreneurial skills to the test and went into partnership with the brothers so that his sales numbers soared. When the first opportunity arose to buy the small chain they had though, he grasped it with both hands.
The McDonald’s Years
Unlike the brothers, the entrepreneur in Ray Kroc had great hopes for expansion of the trade. Kroc had worked hard for everything he had achieved until that point and saw the chain as a chance to really achieve entrepreneur status. He bought the chain for $2.7 million in 1961. Proving that age is not an obstacle for any entrepreneur, Kroc was 59 at the time.
Although convenience food was not new, Kroc made the whole mechanism of serving it innovative. Serving affordable food that everyone liked via an efficient and convenient process that took only a few minutes was Kroc’s goal and he achieved it to the point at which the entrepreneur had restaurants in over 100 countries and a $500 million fortune by the time he died.
Ray Kroc did not rest on his laurels but none of his future endeavours as an entrepreneur were successful. He tried several times to incorporate more high quality restaurants and taverns into his portfolio and all failed because they did not have a new and unique selling point. McDonald’s did, which is why it has continued to go from strength to strength after Kroc’s death.
Ray Kroc is entrepreneurial proof that you can make your money at any stage in life if you are willing to take a risk and take your chances as and when they arrive. He is an inspirational figure because many others would have given up by that point. Kroc did not and now the world can visit his legacy every day of the year!