The Founder: Business 101

My friend told me about this movie and I finally watched it two times last night. Yea, It was just that good. Based on a true story of how Ray Kroc, a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger joint in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. Kroc soon maneuvers himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a multi-billion dollar empire. After watching this movie, I was left with a lot of thoughts in my head. Analyzing the different aspects and situations. This movie is for the visionaries, and those who wish to grasp what really goes down in a business, and also for those who wish to know the actual story behind McDonald’s fame. Check out some things I got from this movie. 

Personalities in Business

There are many different types of people you will work with in business and run into. Here are some of the personalities and characteristics I spotted in the movie. 

  • Gift of Gab - The ability to talk anyone into anything. If you have this quality you will succeed in sales. 
  • The Creative - Kroc may have been able to persuade and sale a dream but Dick and Mac McDonald was the brains and the creative mind behind the whole project. To have this makes you stand out. 
  • Risk Taker - Dick and Mac were very traditional and did things buy the book. In business especially today with technology and things always changing and things evolving. You have to be willing to take risks, to adjust and make changes. Business is all about risks. Things may not work but that is what is all about. Kroc took a risk. 
  • Hustler - Kroc was a hustler. He did whatever he could to make it happen. Sometimes in business you need a little of this in your blood because things are not always going to be easy. You may be creative but you got to hustle to get your idea out there. 

Basic Rules of Business 

There is no "I" in Success - Teamwork is the keys. Ray Kroc understood that teamwork is one of the most important elements to running a successful business. “None of us is as good as all of us,” he once said, and in order for him to expand his small one-unit restaurant across the United States and then overseas, he needed the help of loyal and dedicated employees. Kroc insisted McDonalds’ workers be treated respectfully in every location, setting up rules for fair treatment and respect for all employees, and also ensuring his workers had a comfortable and fair environment to work in.  
Be Open to Change - At times we are all stuck on how we want things and we lost out on the opportunity for things to be even better. McDonald brothers had the idea but they were so bent to keep things the way they planned it keep them stuck in the same store for years until they had it no more. In business you have to open and willing to change. 
Stay Loyal to Your Brand - Shoot for perfection Nothing in this world is perfect, but McDonalds the brand did everything to ensure  customers received quality service every time they came to a McDonalds restaurant, no matter where the restaurant was located. One thing I admired about the McDonald's brothers was that they had their way of doing things and no matter what they wanted to stick to it. They set up standards for how the food was made and also how it was cooked, what the serving sizes were, and how McDonalds packaging and icons would appear
Protect Your Ideas - One of the first mistakes the brothers made was letting Kroc in so quickly. Giving him the ins and out of their business and what they had planned for future. Keep your ideas to yourself. 
There is no Kindness in Business - “If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water.” this saying in the movie was harsh but needed. A lot of us are way to nice and get upset when the next person pushed their way to the top. Business is about the struggling and the fight. There is no room for kindness
Create Your Opportunity - In this business today just like back then you have to make your own lane. Kroc knew how to create opportunities for himself. After making a pitch to the McDonald’s brothers for nationwide expansion of their restaurants while still selling milkshake makers, the brothers asked who would manage their franchising division. Kroc replied “What about me?” Kroc didn’t try to inspire the McDonald’s brothers to grow their business. He took advantage of the opportunity their disinterest in earning money offered him
Don't Give Up - There is one part of the movie where Ray is on the ground admire the first land where he is about to build his own McDonalds. and he says "Just be right this one time. One time" It makes his character relate-able. All those dreamers who are struggling in life, waiting for their big moment to hit them, for their right decision to happen. On final scene of movie Ray Kroc is speaking to himself in the mirror practicing his speech of how he got to know “a milkshake salesman build a fast food empire with an annual revenue of $700 million” and he says…. Persistence. When you see the movie you will be amazed. But most of all this is true. Persistence is everything, today we give up so easily and stop taking risk after the first business venture doesn’t succeed. And Here is this old many who gets his big break after years of many failures.
Love What You Do - “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” says Ray Kroc. Business should be about what you can provide for your customers, and how passionate you are about that. If the passion for your business and for your customers is not there, your business will die. In the movie, Kroc goes to his fancy rich friends and discuss the business to invest in. All they saw was a money opportunity, they had no passion for the brand, nor did they care about customers, as predicted their McDonalds was unsuccessful.
Be a risk taker - According to Kroc, “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” Harsh words, maybe, but in Ray Kroc’s mind not taking any risks deprives you of the opportunity of being successful. Kroc took a small business model and began down a long expansion plan with absolutely no real idea of what the outcome would be. The fast-food industry was still very young, if non-existent, at the time when he embarked on his journey, but through perseverance, and his willingness to take risks and gamble on himself and his product, he came out on top as one of the most successful entrepreneurs.
Know Your Field. The best part of the movie to me, which I would say was the "Ah Ha" moment was when that Financial Adviser guy approached him and told Ray that he didn't know what line of business he was in. That Ray had it all wrong, that the primary business focus was to sell hamburger franchises, but what he lost sight of was the location of each franchise. The real estate and its location was the most significant factor in the success of each franchise. Basically, from that moment Ray had a hole new game plan. The person that bought the franchise was also paying for, buying, the land under the franchise for Ray Kroc’s organization. McDonald’s today is the largest single owner of real estate in the world.
When you try to pay attention to what Ray Kroc was all about, you cannot really blame him for what he did. He was a businessman who tasted success. He obeyed by the laws of business wherein he was ready to take desperate measures to stay at the top. I am feel the movie shows Ray Kroc in a little bit of bad light, I honestly think McDonald's great grand-kids have finally decided to share their family story from their point of view, but that’s the beauty of John Lee Hancock‘s project. It leaves us with questions on what we should call fair, and what not. What do you think?

1 comment

  • Angie A

    Great movie and even better write up!!

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