McDonald’s History – How Ray Crock Started Up At 52

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You may not know the name Ray Kroc, but you certainly know the business that he built. The brand name McDonald’s is known in every corner of the globe and it is Ray Kroc, who is the man that brought the golden arches to the masses. His story is truly one of rags to riches and really shows what the entrepreneurial spirit can get you in America if you are committed to a vision.

Kroc was born in and spent most of his life living in Oak Park, Illinois. As the years went on Ray would have a lot of different jobs and even lied about his age to land a job working as an ambulance driver at the age of 15. Other jobs that Kroc had included selling paper cups and he even once was a DJ at a local rock station in order to make ends meet. He was a dreamer and he was a seller. He was always after the perfect product to sell, which would make him a very rich person. As luck would have it, Kroc would land his big break selling multi-mixers to restaurants across the country.

McDonald’s Logo, 2012

In the 1950’s milkshakes were a big part of the beverage industry in the United States especially at diners, restaurants, and teen type hangouts. Kroc really found his niche selling the multi-mixers which allowed its users to make multiple milkshakes at once in order to keep up with demand. During the 50’s Kroc actually did very well as a salesman and thought he would be selling those mixers for the rest of his career. It turns out that competition to the multi-mixer would actually work out to Ray’s advantage.

Have you ever heard of Hamilton Beach? There products and appliances are all over kitchens and households around the U.S. They actually came up with a cheaper version of the multi-mixer that was outselling the original and thus Kroc’s selling business plummeted. With orders down, he received an order for 8 multi-mixers for a small burger restaurant in Southern California that also sold shakes. He still didn’t know, that this was a very important order for his life, this sale would change his life forever… the rest of the world, too! One wonderful morning in 1954 (Crock was at the age of 52 then), upon visiting the fast food joint, Kroc was amazed of the big crowd of customers, waiting patiently for their turn and buying a big amount of hamburgers, chips, and drinks. The first thought that came to his mind then was that if he could convince the McDonald brothers to expand their obviously profitable business, he could sell multi-mixers to each new branch that opened up and he could make a fortune.

That’s right, Kroc first became involved with McDonald’s in order to sell more multi-mixers. As the next couple of years went on Kroc was growing more and more frustrated with the McDonald brothers because they were content with only having 5 or 6 restaurants. If no new places opened then Kroc couldn’t sell any multi-mixers. Then one day he had an idea that would change the world forever.

Kroc’s vision was that more and more people would want their food faster and he looked at McDonald’s as the perfect restaurant to satisfy the public appetite. He had a vision for McDonald’s that even the McDonald brothers didn’t see. In 1961, with the backing of some investors Kroc bought out the brothers for $2.7 million and the McDonalds restaurant concept was now his.

After this, we all know the expansion that McDonald’s has experienced since 1961. Kroc’s success all happened after he was 50 years old, making him a perfect example of how sticking with your dreams and always being on the lookout for the next big opportunity can pay some serious dividends.