Monday, April 13, 2015

Ray Kroc worked for 17 years as a milkshake machine salesman. His travels took him to dozens of restaurants that featured burgers and shakes. He was most impressed, however, by a Mc Donald’s restaurant in San Bernardino California that was owned by Richard and Maurice Mc Donald. The brothers filled customer orders in under a minute by using an assembly line to prepare and package a limited selection of burgers, fries, milkshakes, and soft drinks. Kroc offered to help the brothers expand the business as their franchising agent. In turn he would earn a share of the profits.

In April 1955 Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois and changed how people around the world would grab a quick meal. Within six years he had bought out the brothers, and by 1965 there were more than 700 restaurants featuring the signature golden arches. In 2014 the number had grown to 14,350 in the USA and 21,908 international locations.

Kroc’s business model stressed a “Mc Donald’s system” that mandated consistent food quality, fast service, clean stores and good values. He contracted with specific suppliers for all ingredients; standardized methods for food storage, cooking, and serving; and enforced management protocols for all franchisees. They attended Hamburger University in Elk Grove Illinois where there was no deviation from the System. A 1.6 ounce hamburger was served with a quarter ounce of onion, a teaspoon of mustard and one tablespoon of ketchup. Fries were nine-thirty seconds of an inch thick. This reassured Mc Donald’s customers that a Big Mac made in Troy Michigan tasted the same as one ordered in Kansas City.

When Ray Kroc died on January 14, 1984, Mac Donald’s was valued at $8 billion. His personal fortune was estimated at $500 million.

Photo: Ray Kroc

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at ed@thvmail.org.

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