Ray Kroc Essay

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The following material is copyright © 1996, Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Inc. and Forbes Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. No use may be made of this material without the express written consent of the copyright holder. Ray Kroc, McDonald's, And The Fast-Food Industry In 1954, a fifty-two-year-old milk-shake machine salesman saw a hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, and envisioned a massive new industry: fast food. In what should have been his golden years, Raymond Kroc, the founder and builder of McDonald's Corporation, proved himself an industrial pioneer no less capable than Henry Ford. He revolutionized the American restaurant industry by imposing discipline on the production of hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes. By developing a sophisticated operating and delivery system, he insured that the french fries customers bought in Topeka would be the same as the ones purchased in New York City. Such consistency made McDonald's the brand name that defined American fast food. By 1960, there were more than 200 McDonald's outlets across the country, a rapid expansion fueled by low franchising fees. Ray Kroc had created one of the most compelling brands of all time. But he was barely turning a profit. Ultimately, it was his decision to use real estate as a financial lever that made McDonald's a viable operation. In 1956, Kroc set up the Franchise Realty Corporation, buying up tracts of land and acting as a landlord to eager franchisees. With this step, McDonald's began to generate real income, and the company took off. Kroc then introduced national advertising programs to support the rapidly proliferating franchises, and when it appeared that growth in the company's home territory was slowing in the early 1970s, he started an energetic and successful push to make McDonald's a global presence. Throughout the

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