Ray Croc’s inspiring story has been told over and over again in many different talks. Here’s another recap of his CEO success story.
During the early 1950’s a restaurant in California was making a lot of money offering hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, soft drinks, and milkshakes at very low prices.
Intrigued, a traveling salesman peddling food mixers met with the owners and offered to open several branches of the successful dining place.
Thus, already in his 50’s and besieged by health problems, salesman Ray Kroc started the first McDonald’s eatery for brothers-cum-restaurateurs Dick and Mac McDonald.
Convinced the chain would be more successful if it were independent, he bought out the brothers for a mere $2.7M in 1961.
Just three years later, the famous mascot Ronald McDonald made his debut, the 500th McDonald’s restaurant had been opened, and more than 1 billion hamburgers had been sold?
What was one major key to Kroc’s unbelievable success? For one thing, Kroc never changed the fundamental format devised by the brother-low prices, simple menu had prompt service.
But he added cleanliness- the parking lot, the kitchen floor, the uniforms, everything had to be spotless.
For him, the customer’s first impressions of a dining place-which is booth seen and smelled determines whether he or she will go back.
That’s the power of customer service combined with visionary entrepreneurship.
His mascot also helped a lot. Within the first six years of airing his initial TV ad, over 90% of American children were more familiar with Ronald McDonald than with the name of the president of the United States.
By the time of his death in 1984 as company chairman, McDonald’s Corporation was-and-still is- the largest restaurant company in the world, with restaurants in 14 countries.
However, like many great entrepreneurs, Kroc didn’t invent convenience dining. Instead, he refined the idea in the best way possible. He had an amazing ability to expand a concept with all its complexities and implement it in the best and most profitable way possible.
Wise words from Ray Kroc:
“I was 52 years old, I had diabetes and incipient arthritis. I had lost my gall bladder and most of my thyroid gland in earlier campaigns, but I was convinced that the best was ahead of me . . . The definition of salesmanship is the gentle art of letting the customer have it your way.”
See? At 52 there’s still much that can be done! Be inspired and take action!