Ray Kroc
Overview
 
Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 fast food businessman who joined McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999....

, and amassed a fortune during his lifetime. He owned the San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego, California. They play in the National League Western Division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the National League Pennant twice, in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times...

 baseball team from 1974.
Kroc was born to parents of Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 origin in Oak Park
Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb bordering the west side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is the twenty-fifth largest municipality in Illinois. Oak Park has easy access to downtown Chicago due to public transportation such as the Chicago 'L' Blue and Green lines,...

, near Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, on October 5, 1902.
Encyclopedia
Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 fast food businessman who joined McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999....

, and amassed a fortune during his lifetime. He owned the San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team based in San Diego, California. They play in the National League Western Division. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the National League Pennant twice, in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times...

 baseball team from 1974.

Early life and career

Kroc was born to parents of Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 origin in Oak Park
Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb bordering the west side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is the twenty-fifth largest municipality in Illinois. Oak Park has easy access to downtown Chicago due to public transportation such as the Chicago 'L' Blue and Green lines,...

, near Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, on October 5, 1902. His father originated from the village Břasy
Brasy
Břasy, , village in western Bohemia, Rokycany District, Plzeň Region of the Czech republic. It is located 10 km north of Rokycany and 3 km southwest of Radnice, 458 m. above sea-level. Břasy lies at largely deforested plateau, which falls sharply towards the valley of Berounka River in the west...

 near Plzeň, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 (now the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

). He grew up and spent most of his life in Oak Park, Illinois. During the First World War he lied about his age and became a Red Cross
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

 ambulance driver at 15. During the war, Kroc served in the same regiment as Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

. Between the end of the war and the early 1950s he tried his hand at a number of trades including paper cup
Paper cup
A paper cup is a cup made out of paper and often lined with plastic or wax to prevent liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper. It may be made of recycled paper and is widely used around the world.-History:...

 salesman, pianist
Pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

, jazz musician, band
Band (music)
In music, a musical ensemble or band is a group of musicians that works together to perform music. The following articles concern types of musical bands:* All-female band* Big band* Boy band* Christian band* Church band* Concert band* Cover band...

 member and radio DJ at Oak Park radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

 WGES. At one time, Ray worked for room and board
Room and board
Room and board describes a situation where, in exchange for money, labor or other considerations, a person is provided with a place to live as well as meals on a comprehensive basis...

 at one of Ray Dambaugh's restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s in the midwest
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 to learn the restaurant business. Years later, he returned the favor by coming to Ray Dambaugh's funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 in Evans City, Pennsylvania
Evans City, Pennsylvania
Evans City is a borough in Butler County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,009 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Evans City is located at ....

 to pay his respects. He eventually became a multi-mixer milkshake
Milkshake
A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is made from milk, ice cream or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce....

 machine salesman, traveling across the country.

McDonald's

With Prince Castle Multi-Mixer sales plummeting because of competition from lower-priced Hamilton Beach
Hamilton Beach Company
Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. is a manufacturer of home appliances, air purifiers, and commercial restaurant equipment marketed primarily in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including:* Blenders* Mixers* Toasters* Slow cookers* Irons* Air purifiers...

 products, Ray took note of the McDonald brothers who had purchased 8 of his Multi-Mixers. Immediately after visiting the San Bernardino
San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California is a large city in the Inland Empire Metropolitan Area of Southern California.San Bernardino may also refer to:-Landforms:*San Bernardino , a torrent that flows through the Italian province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola...

 store, Ray became convinced that he could sell mixers to every new franchise restaurant that they opened, and so he offered his services to the McDonald brothers who were looking for a new franchising agent following the departure of agent Bill Tansey due to health issues.

Kroc eventually became frustrated with the brothers' willingness to accept their chain having only a handful of restaurants. In 1961, he bought the company for $2.7 million (enough to pay each brother $1 million each after taxes), plus an overriding royalty
Royalties
Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

 of 1.9% on gross sales to the McDonalds. (When negotiating the contract the McDonald brothers said that 2% sounded greedy; 1.9% was more attractive.)

The agreement was a handshake with split agreement between the parties because Kroc insisted that he could not show the royalty to the investors he had lined up to capitalize his purchase. At the closing table, Kroc became annoyed that the brothers would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit. The brothers had told Kroc that they were giving the operation, property and all, to the founding employees. Kroc closed the transaction, then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn't in writing. The McDonald brothers consistently told Kroc that he could make changes to things like the original blueprint (building codes were different in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 than in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

), but despite Ray's pleas, the brothers never sent any formal letters which legally allowed the changes in the chain. Kroc also opened a new McDonald's restaurant near the McDonald's (now renamed "The Big M" as they had neglected to retain rights to the name) to force it out of business.

After finalizing the agreement with the McDonald Brothers, Kroc sent a letter to Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

. (They had met as ambulance driver trainees at Sound Beach, Connecticut.) Kroc wrote, "I have very recently taken over the national franchise of the McDonald's system. I would like to inquire if there may be an opportunity for a McDonald's in your Disney Development." Disney agreed under stipulation to increase fries from ten cents to fifteen cents allowing himself the profit. Kroc refused to gouge his loyal customers leaving Disneyland to open without a McDonald's restaurant.

Kroc maintained the assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

 "Speedee Service System" for hamburger preparation, which was introduced by the McDonald brothers in 1948. He standardized operations
Standardization
Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards.The goals of standardization can be to help with independence of single suppliers , compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality....

, ensuring every Big Mac
Big Mac
The Big Mac is a hamburger sold by McDonald's, an international fast food restaurant chain. It is one of the company's signature products...

 would taste the same in New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 or Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

. He set strict rules for franchisees on how the food was to be made, portion sizes, cooking methods and times, and packaging. Kroc also rejected cost-cutting measures like using soybean filler in the hamburger patties. These strict rules also were applied to customer service standards with such mandates that money be refunded to clients whose orders were not correct or to customers who had to wait more than 5 minutes for their food. However, Kroc let the franchisees decide their best approach to marketing the products. For example, Willard Scott
Willard Scott
Willard Herman Scott, Jr. is an American media personality and author best known for his television work on NBC's The Today Show and as the creator of the Ronald McDonald character.-Early years:...

 created the figure now known internationally as Ronald McDonald
Ronald McDonald
Ronald McDonald is a clown character used as the primary mascot of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain. In television commercials, the clown inhabits a fantasy world called McDonaldland, and has adventures with his friends Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie the Early Bird, and...

 to improve sales in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Quotes

  • Kroc defined salesmanship as “the gentle art of letting the customer have it your way."
  • "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean," was a common reproach to idle employees.
  • "I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night."
  • "The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization."
  • "It's easy to have principles when you're rich. The important thing is to have principles when you're poor."
  • "Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get."
  • Kroc popularised the mantra "In business for yourself, but not by yourself" and successfully balanced the need for central control over franchisees, ensuring that they followed a rigid, proven formula, with the need to empower restaurant owners to suggest improvements to the business model.

Personal life

Kroc's foundation supported research and treatment of alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, diabetes, and other diseases. He established the Ronald McDonald House foundation. He was a major donor to the Dartmouth Medical School
Dartmouth Medical School
Dartmouth Medical School is the medical school of Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. The fourth-oldest medical school in the United States, Dartmouth Medical School was founded in 1797 by New England physician Nathan Smith and grew steadily over the course...

.

In 1972 Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. (Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 - NJ
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

) suggested Kroc's contributions of over $200,000 to Richard M. Nixon's re-election campaign influenced the White House's policy on wages
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is a federal statute of the United States. The FLSA established a national minimum wage, guaranteed 'time-and-a-half' for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor," a term that is defined in the statute...

 for teenage workers.

Kroc died of heart failure at Scripps Memorial Hospital
Scripps Health
Scripps Health is a nonprofit health care system based in San Diego, California. The system includes four hospitals and 19 outpatient facilities, and treats a half-million patients annually through 2,600 affiliated physicians....

 in San Diego, California, on January 14, 1984 at the age of 81. He left a widow
Widow
A widow is a woman whose spouse has died, while a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed widowhood or occasionally viduity. The adjective form is widowed...

, Joan. His previous marriages, to Ethel Fleming (1922–1961) and Jane Dobbins Green (1963–1968), ended in divorce.

In popular culture

Kroc's purchase of McDonald's is the basis for Mark Knopfler's
Mark Knopfler
Mark Freuder Knopfler, OBE is a Scottish-born British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the British rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded in 1977...

 song "Boom, Like That
Boom, Like That
"Boom, Like That" is a 2004 single by Mark Knopfler, from his album Shangri-La. It is - with "Darling Pretty" - one of the only two Mark Knopfler solo singles to reach the UK Top 40, hiting no. 34.-Lyrics:...

", from his 2004 album Shangri-La.

Further reading

  • Byers, Paula K., and Suzanne M. Bourgion, eds. Encyclopedia of World Biography. " Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "Kroc, Raymond *Emerson, Robert L. The New Economics of Fast Food. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
  • Reiter, Ester. Making Fast Food: From the Frying Pan into the Fryer. Buffalo: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991.
  • Janice Claire Simpson, Ray Kroc: Big Mac Man (1978)
  • Biography
    A&E Network
    The A&E Network is a United States-based cable and satellite television network with headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, London, Los Angeles and Stamford. A&E also airs in Canada and Latin America. Initially named the Arts & Entertainment Network, A&E launched...

    : Ray Kroc, Fast Food McMghghillionaire (1998) video

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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