Ray Kroc life and biography

Ray Kroc  picture, image, poster

Ray Kroc biography

Date of birth : 1902-10-05
Date of death : 1984-01-14
Birthplace : Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nationality : Czech-American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-27
Credited as : Businessman, McDonald's Corporation,

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Raymond "Ray" Albert Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was a Czech American businessman who took over the (at the time) small-scale McDonald's Corporation franchise in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and amassed a $500 million fortune during his lifetime. He was also the owner of the San Diego Padres baseball team starting in 1974.

Known as the pioneer of fast-food franchising, Ray Kroc worked his way from rags to riches by building an empire the world has come to know as McDonald’s. After purchasing the rights to the golden arches and even the McDonald’s name, Kroc worked hard and fast to spread the word of his quality food and fast service. Within a few years, he set up hundreds of restaurants, trained franchise managers and owners at his special university, and blanketed America with marketing that they couldn’t resist.

In his early teens, Ray Kroc wanted to join the American Red Cross so that he could offer his services in World War I. While in training, with the end of the war, the Red Cross announced they would not need his group’s help abroad. Kroc returned to Chicago, Illinois where he searched for different business opportunities. Enjoying the piano and having enough skill to be offered different positions in different bands, Kroc played the jazz piano with the famed Isham Jones and Harry Sosnick.

Ray was married in 1922 and not making enough to support himself and his wife, he decided to change career paths and head into the business world. He began working for the Lily-Tulip Cup Company. Missing music, he pursued a job with one of Chicago’s most innovative radio stations, playing the piano, arranging guest appearances, and hiring others to play live. Following, he headed to Florida to sell real estate, but the flailing market sent him back to Chicago. Upon his return, he sold multi-mixers, which could make five milk shakes at a time. One small restaurant named McDonald’s in California was using over five of the machines, and he wanted to know how and why. So, he traveled to California and found that the McDonald brothers had taken an assembly-line approach to food service. After offering the brothers a contract of .05% of the profits if his business plan was successful, Ray Kroc set up a McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois.

With this move, Kroc started a fast-food revolution that is still followed in today’s restaurant business models. He wanted the food to be delivered fast, but he wanted it to be of the highest quality. French fries were made in-house, local, quality beef was used, and milkshake mixture ratios were perfected. His franchise managers would attend the famed Hamburger University in Illinois and would receive a BA in Hamburgerology with a Minor in French Fries. Through persuasive and unyielding advertising, the McDonald’s name became famous not only in America, but within a few years, throughout the world. Today, McDonald’s operates in over 30 countries and brings in annual revenues of over 10 billion dollars.

He died of heart failure at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California, on January 14, 1984 at the age of 81. Kroc was married to his third wife, Joan B. Kroc. He had been married twice before, to Ethel Fleming (1922–1961) and Jane Dobbins Green (1963–1968), who had been John Wayne's secretary. Toward the end of his life, Kroc used a mobility aid to get around, an Amigo mobility vehicle (sometimes referred to as a Li'l Rascal).

The former Dire Straits guitarist and lead vocalist Mark Knopfler released a song about Ray Kroc on his 2004 album Shangri-La. It was inspired by Ray Kroc's autobiography Grinding It Out and the starting of McDonald's, using many of Mr. Kroc's exact words: "Kroc style, boom like that."

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