Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm Lovin' It!

You can do one of two things right now. Either hop in your car and drive to McDonald’s, or hop in the Wayback Machine with me and Max and head back to 1954. How often do you get an offer like that? I’m guessing you’re choosing the latter. So hang on. Here we go.

We’ve arrived in southern California to find a salesman named Ray Kroc selling a machine called the Multimixer. Its primary benefit is that it’s capable of creating five milkshakes at the same time. At the same time Ray is selling these machines, brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald have successfully franchised eight McDonald restaurant locations in the southern California area. Their primary benefit is their Speedee method of providing mass produced hamburgers for 15 cents a pop. And that’s half the price customers are paying at the diners in these days. In addition, they offer French fries, Coca-Cola, coffee and milkshakes.

So we find the brothers working away at one of their eight franchise locations, and in walks Ray Kroc. Ray is immediately intrigued with this fast food process and asks the brothers if he can franchise the operation outside southern California. Ray is a good salesman and the brothers agree to his proposition. Before long Ray is opening his first restaurant in a Chicago suburb of Des Plaines. If we fast-forward a bit to 1958, the company is selling its 100 millionth burger.

Although the Automat in New York and White Castle preceded them, it was the streamlined production method developed by the McDonald brothers that set them on a course for greatness. Their Speedee Service System was influenced by the production line innovations of Henry Ford.

Since the menu items were limited, it allowed for pre-production of the products and offered almost immediate service to the customer. Since there were no traditional seating arrangements, consumers could walk right up to the service window, place their order, and enjoy a hamburger, fries and a Coke in a short time.

Ray didn’t purchase the entire McDonald’s operation outright in 1961. He was the architect behind making it a nationwide, and currently global, chain. And Ray wasn’t beneath the menial work required to ensure cleanliness in the restaurants. He frequently sprayed out the garbage cans with a hose and scraped gum up off the parking lot area at his own Des Plaines location.

In addition, Kroc also made it very easy for customers to view the food preparation by removing any walls between the cooks and the counter where patrons placed their orders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only managers would do that now. It's nice to know that it started out well.

Perhaps I was working at a badly managed location.