Go into McDonald's today, and you see a complex, well-operated business system operated by ordinary people. That is impressive in and of itself. What is even more impressive is to understand the roots of how this business was established, which you can do by reading this entertaining and revealing book.
Unlike most people who write about themselves and their businesses, Ray Kroc was pretty candid about the problems he had, the people who gave him a hard time, the mistakes he made, and his personal life. That makes this book very valuable to those who want to understand what entrepreneurship is all about.
As an adjunct to reading this book, I suggest that you also visit the McDonald's museum near O'Hare airport in Ray Kroc's first store. There are notes there about all of the problems that he had to solve over the years, many of which are described in the book.
Ray Kroc did not invent the original McDonald's concept, but what he franchised and eventually bought from the McDonald brothers was not yet a real business system. For example, when he first tried to duplicate the french fries that were so famous in San Bernardino, California, his french fries turned to mush. It turned out that the storage methods used by the McDonald brothers aged and dehydrated the potatoes a bit so that they could fry up nicely. Kroc had to invest in finding a process for doing that outside of the near-desert climate of San Bernardino.
The McDonald's system that we see today is the creation of Kroc's attention to detail, appreciation for consumer value, ability to solve problems, taking calculated risks that he could not afford to lose, and attracting talented people into the system. The book gives you a great sense of what that was like. Anyone starting an e-business today will be going through many of the same trials and tribulations.
The book is filled with wonderful stories about McDonald's and the people of McDonald's.
I have a special fondness for the subject since I grew up about a mile from the first McDonald's in San Bernardino, and have been eating their hamburgers now for over 50 years. It is truly awe-inspiring to me to see what has been accomplished from such humble beginnings.
Clearly, this book is a stallbuster for you in business. Kroc was 52 when he became interested in McDonald's. He had no special skills in restaurants. (The closest he came was in selling Lily cups and milk shake machines to restaurants, lunch counters, and drive-ins.) He had relatively little money to invest compared to the size of the opportunity. He ran into many obstacles that could have broken most businesses. Yet he just put his head down, and kept moving forward on the most important things. You can learn a lot from his determination.
Good luck with using this example to create a new set of practices for business that exceed what anyone has ever accomplished before!
Coauthor of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise (available in August 2000) and The 2,000 Percent Solution
am 17. Oktober 1998
It's amazing how the same idea can go different places with different people. Ray Kroc turned McDonalds into a global franchise vs the original owners who had invented the marvelous idea but were happy with it being a small idea. This has happened with other ideas before, including Coca-Cola, where the original inventor basically sold the core idea to someone with a great imagination who would later expand the idea so that everyone everywhere could enjoy a good soft drink. Ray Kroc, thank you for standardizing good, low cost meals.
am 8. August 2014
Die Biografie von Ray Kroc, dem Vater von McDonald's, ist eines der großartigsten Bücher, die ich je gelesen habe. Sie zeigt auf, wie jemand mehr oder weniger aus dem Nichts und unter schwierigsten Umständen (zwei Weltkriege, große Depression) durch unglaubliche Anstregungen und viel Leistung nach ganz ganz oben kommen kann. Es zeigt aber auch, wie hart es manchmal gewesen sein muss. Mir fällt besonders auf, dass das Buch nicht nur die guten Seiten seines Lebens zeigt, sondern auch die vielen privaten und geschäftlichen Rückschläge, die Kroc erlebt und verarbeitet hat.
Wer es wie Ray Kroc schafft, unter diesen Umständen und in dem Alter (er hat McDonalds mit 53 Jahren gestartet!) ein solches Weltunternehmen aufzubauen, darf wirklich als einer der größten Unternehmer des 20. Jahrhunderts bezeichnet werden!
David Wenger, Wenger Engineering GmbH, Ulm