Ray Kroc's success story is quite a record of persistence and achievement. He didn't invent the McDonald's chain (as many erroneously believe) but he knew a winner when he saw one and he negotaited to buy the business. He truly believed that McDonald's could be a huge, global operation if it was promoted right and run with an emphasis on quality, customer service, cleanliness, and value. These four attributes made the acronym "QSCV", and it was something that Ray Kroc preached to his people every single day.
Ray Kroc shows his confidence throughout the book, not just with business, but also in his personal life. He pursued his business dreams with unmatched vigor, and he was equally determined to reach his personal goals. His relentless courtship of Joni, his one true love, is one of the highlights of the book. It's fun listening to Kroc spill his heart out, telling the reader all sorts of details about his personal life. He was absolutely ga- ga over his beloved Joni, and he shows no embarrassment in admitting his feelings. Here was a man who had the world in his hands, a senior citizen who was head of a large corporation, and yet he was completely, hopelessly in love and willing to give it all up for his number one lady. He was having trouble sleeping, and couldn't concentrate on work anymore. He was like a starry- eyed teenager, always in a daydream- like state, fantasizing about the woman he loved. He was prepared to do virtually anything to capture her heart.
Kroc was an outspoken and egotistical man, and these personality traits pop up throughout the book. He blew his top several times, when things didn't go his way or when someone would make a negative comment about McDonald's, and he could often be quite profane and a little vile. This was true in his other business ventures as well like when his San Diego Padres baseball team (he was the owner) wasn't performing up to par. There was one episode, in 1974, when the Padres played miserably and Kroc let them know exactly how bad they were. It was the home opener, and at its conclusion, Kroc grabbed the public address microphone and harshly criticized the players for such a lousy performance. The media jumped all over the incident, but Kroc was undeterred. He gave no apologies, feeling that the team was letting down the fans and deserved to be chewed out.
One place where Kroc didn't let his ego get in the way with smart business was with the naming of the restaurant. He decided to keep the original name, McDonald's, rather than using his own name. This was a wise move, especially considering Ray's last name. Would you want to visit a restaurant that was named "Kroc's"? Just the name alone would make me lose my appetite and it was a wise business decision to keep the original name intact.
This book shows occasional dabs of humor and some good writing. Kroc and editor Robert Anderson both deserve credit for making the book more enjoyable to read with its easy- flowing style. It's not awash in humor, but there's enough to help keep the book interesting. One criticism that I have of this book, however, is the layout; specifically, the fact that the chapters have no titles, which is inexcusable. Titles are helpful for reference purposes, and they should have been included. If Ray Kroc didn't realize this, then the editor should have. Other than that, the book is well- written and partically error free from a grammatical standpoint.
Kroc tells his story with gusto and pride. You can tell that he's very happy with the McDonald's company and gleaming with satisfaction over the way his personal life and professional life have turned out. This book was written in 1977, and much has changed since then, both with McDonald's and with fast- food in general. There are far more choices in fast- food today, like submarine sandwiches, which had not yet achieved a substantial share of the market back when Ray Kroc wrote this book. It's hard to say how Kroc would have reacted to these modern- day changes in the marketplace, but I'm sure he would have welcomed the challenge.
Many people don't prefer McDonald's food, but the man behind the arches, Ray Kroc, is a person who deserves respect. His tenacity was unrelenting, his confidence was unmatched, and his drive to succeed was unstoppable. He took a small, roadside restaurant in California and transformed it into the world's largest fast- food chain. "Grinding it Out" is a testament to the difference that one man can make when he has guts and determination to be the best.