In 1917, 15-year-old Ray Kroc lied about his age to join the Red Cross as an ambulance driver, but the war ended before he completed his training. He then worked as a piano player, a paper cup salesman and a Multimixer salesman.
In 1954, he visited a restaurant in San Bernardino, California that had purchased several Multimixers. There he found a small but successful restaurant run by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, and was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation. They produced a limited menu, concentrating on just a few items – burgers, fries and beverages – which allowed them to focus on quality and quick service.
They were looking for a new agent and Kroc saw an opportunity. In 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name. By 1958, McDonald’s had sold its 100 millionth hamburger.
Right up until he died on January 14, 1984, Ray Kroc never stopped working for McDonald’s. His legacy continues to this day as the system provides McDonald’s customers with great tasting, affordable food; crew and franchisees with opportunities for growth; and suppliers with a shared commitment to provide the highest quality ingredients and products.
From his passion for innovation and efficiency, to his relentless pursuit of quality, to his many charitable contributions, Ray Kroc’s legacy continues to be an inspirational and integral part of McDonald’s – today and into the future.