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"If I had a brick for every time I’ve repeated the phrase Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value, I think I’d probably be able to bridge the Atlantic Ocean with them."

- Ray Kroc,1959

Ray Kroc, an Innovative Entrepreneur


Raymond Albert Kroc was born in Oak Park, Illinois on October 5th, 1902. At age 15, he lied about his age to the Red Cross and joined their ranks as an ambulance driver for World War 1. For 17 years after the war, Kroc was a salesman, selling everything from paper cups to a traveling milkshake machine of his own design, a product called the Prince Castle Multi-Mixer. It was through his innovative milkshake machine that Ray Kroc became aware of McDonald's. In the 1950's, Maurice and Richard McDonald ("Mac" and "Dick") placed an order for a eight of Kroc's milkshake machines for their restaurant, McDonald's, in San Bernardino. Of course, such a large order of Kroc's Multi-Mixer milkshake machines piqued the interest of Kroc, especially since he was slowly losing business to the lower-priced Hamilton Beach products, and he traveled to the McDonalds restaurant to see their McDonald brothers' business. Upon arrival, Kroc was impressed by what he saw, and was hired to be the franchising agent for McDonalds, seeing as the current McDonald brothers’ agent Bill Tansey had recently retired due to health issues. With assistance from Ray Kroc, McDonald’s sold its 100 millionth hamburger in 1958. By 1959, McDonald’s was able to open its hundredth franchise, and was advertising the opportunity to open even more establishments in the fast food restaurant chain (advertisement shown at left. In 1961, Ray Kroc purchased the McDonald’s company for $2.7 million. It was then when Ray Kroc was able to establish the changes in the McDonalds Corporation that make it so successful today. This includes the famous Hamburger University, opened the same year Kroc purchased the McDonald’s Company. Ray Kroc died on January 14, 1984, and it is said that his dedication to McDonald’s never faltered.

This is and excerpt of Ray Kroc's obtuitary from the New York Times.


January 15, 1984


Ray A. Kroc dies at 81; Built McDonald's Chain


Ray A. Kroc, the builder of the McDonald's hamburger empire, who helped change American businiess and eating habits by deftly orchestrating the purveying of billions of small beef patties, died yesterday in San Diego. He was 81 years old and lived in La Jolla, Calif.

Mr. Kroc, who also owned the San Diego Padres baseball team, died of a heart ailment at Scripps Memorial Hopsital in San Diego, a McDonald's spokesman said. At his death he was senior chairman of McDonald's.

Mr. Kroc, a former piano player and salesman of paper cups and milkshake machines, built up a family fortune worth $500 million or more through his tireless, inspired tinkering with the management of the McDonald's drive-ins and restaurants, which specialize in hamburgers and other fast-food items.

He was a pioneer in automating and standardizing operations in the fiercely competitive, multibillion-dollar fast-food industry. He concentrated on swiftly growing suburban areas, where family visits to the local McDonald's became something like tribal rituals.

First McDonald's in 1955

He started his first McDonald's in Chicago in 1955 and the chain now has 7,500 outlets in the United States and 31 other countries and territories. The total systemwide sales of its restaurants were more than $8 billion in 1983. Three-quarters of its outlets are run by franchise-holders.

Richard G. Starmann, a vice president and spokesman, said at McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., that 1983 was a profitable year for the company, which is the United States' largest food service organization in sales and number of outlets.

What made Mr. Kroc so successful was the variety of virtuoso refinements he brought to fast-food retailing. He carefully chose the recipients of his McDonald's franchises, seeking managers who were skilled at personal relations; he relentlessly stressed quality, banning from his hamburgers such filler materials as soybeans.

Mr. Kroc also made extensive, innovative use of part-time teen-age help; he struggled to keep operating costs down to make McDonald's perennially low prices possible, and he applied complex team techniques to food perparation that were reminiscent of professional football.

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