This is perhaps the most American dream story: The son of Czech immigrants, who doesn’t even have a high school diploma, recognizes the humble Hamburger’s enormous business potential and becomes one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Of course, there are a few twists to the plot, including the fact that it took Ray Kroc more than half a century to dream his American dream. He was 52 years old when he opened his first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois, that day, April 15, 60 years ago. The red and white tile restaurant with gold ties that became the chain’s trademark, sold burgers, fries, and smoothies on opening day for $ 366.12 to McDonald’s burgers, fries, and smoothies. (Today, the chain serves 69 million customers per day in 36,000 locations in more than 100 countries and had sales of $ 27 billion in 2014.) At the time of Kroc’s death in 1984, his family’s fortune was worth at least 500, according to the New York Times, Millions of dollars.
The Rise Of The McDonald’s
Before Kroc took the step that would take him to the top of the world’s largest fast-food chain, he paid his vendor’s fees for 34 years. Half of that time was spent selling paper cups to fast food retailers like Howard Johnson and Dairy Queen, the other half sold “multiple mixers” that could mix five shakes at once. As such, he met Dick and Mac McDonald, two brothers who ran a small hamburger chain in California.
They bought eight mixers and, as Kroc told the Times, “I had to see what kind of operation I was doing 40 [shakes] at the same time.” He was so impressed with the way he worked that, despite his “opposition from family, friends, and business partners,” he opened the first franchise for what he called the “McDonald’s system.” When Kroc’s ambitious vision no longer collided with the McDonald brothers’ goals in 1961, he bought his business. He was so sure of his strategy that, at age 62, he used and earned his savings and a few others.
McDonald’s has known a number of controversies over the years, the most recent being the goal of today’s national protests to pressure the fast-food industry to raise employee wages, but it’s still the Hamburg chain biggest in the world. Similarly, its founder remains larger than life personality in the business world. Kroc, who could be the subject of an upcoming biopic (in which Michael Keaton is speaking to play), said in The Times: “I think to be an entrepreneur, you need to have a big ego, a lot of pride.” ability to inspire others to follow your example. “