Short Biography of Ray Kroc
Known as the pioneer of fast-food franchising, Ray Kroc worked his way from rags to riches by building an empire the world has come to know as McDonald’s. After purchasing the rights to the golden arches and even the McDonald’s name, Kroc worked hard and fast to spread the word of his quality food and fast service. Within a few years, he set up hundreds of restaurants, trained franchise managers and owners at his special university, and blanketed America with marketing that they couldn’t resist.
In his early teens, Ray Kroc wanted to join the American Red Cross so that he could offer his services in World War I. While in training, with the end of the war, the Red Cross announced they would not need his group’s help abroad. Kroc returned to Chicago, Illinois where he searched for different business opportunities. Enjoying the piano and having enough skill to be offered different positions in different bands, Kroc played the jazz piano with the famed Isham Jones and Harry Sosnick.
Ray was married in 1922 and not making enough to support himself and his wife, he decided to change career paths and head into the business world. He began working for the Lily-Tulip Cup Company. Missing music, he pursued a job with one of Chicago’s most innovative radio stations, playing the piano, arranging guest appearances, and hiring others to play live. Following, he headed to Florida to sell real estate, but the flailing market sent him back to Chicago. Upon his return, he sold multi-mixers, which could make five milk shakes at a time. One small restaurant named McDonald’s in California was using over five of the machines, and he wanted to know how and why. So, he traveled to California and found that the McDonald brothers had taken an assembly-line approach to food service. After offering the brothers a contract of .05% of the profits if his business plan was successful, Ray Kroc set up a McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois.
With this move, Kroc started a fast-food revolution that is still followed in today’s restaurant business models. He wanted the food to be delivered fast, but he wanted it to be of the highest quality. French fries were made in-house, local, quality beef was used, and milkshake mixture ratios were perfected. His franchise managers would attend the famed Hamburger University in Illinois and would receive a BA in Hamburgerology with a Minor in French Fries. Through persuasive and unyielding advertising, the McDonald’s name became famous not only in America, but within a few years, throughout the world. Today, McDonald’s operates in over 30 countries and brings in annual revenues of over 10 billion dollars.