Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s, by Ray Kroc

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Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's, by Ray Kroc

Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s, by Ray Kroc

Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's, by Ray Kroc

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Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's, by Ray Kroc

Few entrepreneurs can claim to have actually changed the way we live, but Ray Kroc is one of them. His revolutions in food service automation, franchising, shared national training and advertising have earned him a place beside the men who founded not merely businesses but entire new industries.

But even more interesting than Ray Kroc the business legend is Ray Kroc the man. Not your typical self-made tycoon, Kroc was 52 when he met the McDonald brothers and opened his first franchise.

Now meet Ray Kroc, the man behind the business legend, in his own words. Irrepressible enthusiast, perceptive people-watcher, and born storyteller, he will fascinate and inspire you. You’ll never forget Ray Kroc.

  • Sales Rank: #56298 in Books
  • Brand: Kroc, Ray/ Anderson, Robert
  • Published on: 1992-04-15
  • Released on: 1992-04-15
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.78″ h x .63″ w x 4.04″ l, .28 pounds
  • Binding: Mass Market Paperback
  • 232 pages

Features

  • Great book!

Review

“Columbus discovered America, Jefferson invented it, and Ray Kroc Big Mac’d it.” ―Tom Robbins, Esquire magazine

“A marvelous, zesty read, filled with the optimism and enthusiasm of Ray Kroc.” ―West Coast Review of Books

“He was past fifty before he ever thought of getting into the fast food business. Within a decade he was a millionaire, and his odyssey is a classic success story!” ―Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin

About the Author
Ray Kroc (1902-1954) was a businessman, generally credited with building the McDonald’s restaurant chain into one of the successful corporations in the world.

Most helpful customer reviews

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful.
An Unvarnished Look at One of America’s Great Entrepreneurs
By Donald Mitchell
Go into McDonald’s today, and you see a complex, well-operated business system operated by ordinary people. That is impressive in and of itself. What is even more impressive is to understand the roots of how this business was established, which you can do by reading this entertaining and revealing book.
Unlike most people who write about themselves and their businesses, Ray Kroc was pretty candid about the problems he had, the people who gave him a hard time, the mistakes he made, and his personal life. That makes this book very valuable to those who want to understand what entrepreneurship is all about.
As an adjunct to reading this book, I suggest that you also visit the McDonald’s museum near O’Hare airport in Ray Kroc’s first store. There are notes there about all of the problems that he had to solve over the years, many of which are described in the book.
Ray Kroc did not invent the original McDonald’s concept, but what he franchised and eventually bought from the McDonald brothers was not yet a real business system. For example, when he first tried to duplicate the french fries that were so famous in San Bernardino, California, his french fries turned to mush. It turned out that the storage methods used by the McDonald brothers aged and dehydrated the potatoes a bit so that they could fry up nicely. Kroc had to invest in finding a process for doing that outside of the near-desert climate of San Bernardino.
The McDonald’s system that we see today is the creation of Kroc’s attention to detail, appreciation for consumer value, ability to solve problems, taking calculated risks that he could not afford to lose, and attracting talented people into the system. The book gives you a great sense of what that was like. Anyone starting an e-business today will be going through many of the same trials and tribulations.
The book is filled with wonderful stories about McDonald’s and the people of McDonald’s.
I have a special fondness for the subject since I grew up about a mile from the first McDonald’s in San Bernardino, and have been eating their hamburgers now for over 50 years. It is truly awe-inspiring to me to see what has been accomplished from such humble beginnings.
Clearly, this book is a stallbuster for you in business. Kroc was 52 when he became interested in McDonald’s. He had no special skills in restaurants. (The closest he came was in selling Lily cups and milk shake machines to restaurants, lunch counters, and drive-ins.) He had relatively little money to invest compared to the size of the opportunity. He ran into many obstacles that could have broken most businesses. Yet he just put his head down, and kept moving forward on the most important things. You can learn a lot from his determination.
Good luck with using this example to create a new set of practices for business that exceed what anyone has ever accomplished before!

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful.
Kroc on Kroc for Kroc
By Robert J. Crawford
This is the autobiography of one of the great entrepreneurs of the 20C. If only for that, it is worth the read of anyone who is interested in understanding business or the fast-food industry. For all his earthy common sense and lack of formal education, the system that Kroc set up can only be described as a work of genius. Afterall, MCdonald’s at the moment has surpassed Coca Cola as the most recognized brand in the world: it serves nearly 45 million people every day, commands unparalelled influence in every related industry, and often serves as the symbol of the US itself.

THe great strength of this book is that you get Kroc’s view of what makes himself tick: he devoted himself relentlessly to a single business purpose within the capitalist system, was open to suggestions from talent that he cultivated regarding that purpose, and adapted it as he needed to thrive. It is a remarkable story of a man who re-made himself many times, and began what became the McDonald’s corporation in his 50s! You simply have to respect what he accomplished at a time when most men would have given up.

The pillars of his business model are well known: 1) it is more an ecosystem of separate companies that grow together with long-term bonds of trust and the highest standards of professional conduct; 2) it pursues operational efficiency while refusing to compromise safety and cleanliness; 3) it is adept at finding innovations pioneered by both its suppliers and owner-operators and then disseminating them into the system; 4) it sticks to its core competency – hamburger and fries – and with few exceptions listens to consumers. That is about it, really, in an idealist version, but it explains why the company’s many competitors failed to grow as big and fast.

During the process, furthermore, Kroc did not go for making a quick buck – by selling franchise rights for a killing or gouging his owner-operators by monopolising what supplies they had to buy from him – and focused instead on treating his suppliers and owner-operators fairly, reasoning that if they could thrive, so would he. No other fast-food chain did that.

Of course, as an autobio, Kroc focuses far more on the bright side of what he has done. He does not ask himself any hard questions and comes off, not surprisingly, as distrusting of the motives of his critics as well as the legitimate concerns of many intellectuals and political activists. While open-minded, we see, he was myopically focused on refining his business model and hence unaware of his impact on the wider society.

Moreover, except for some quotes and quirky details, the business issues are also covered better in McDonald’s Behind the Arches, by John F. Love. But then, both are authorised versions of the McDonald’s view. The reader will need to look elsewhere for more thoughtful critiques.

Recommended. The curious reader can get a lot from this book.

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful.
The Story Behind the Golden Arches
By Bryan Carey
Ray Kroc’s success story is quite a record of persistence and achievement. He didn’t invent the McDonald’s chain (as many erroneously believe) but he knew a winner when he saw one and he negotaited to buy the business. He truly believed that McDonald’s could be a huge, global operation if it was promoted right and run with an emphasis on quality, customer service, cleanliness, and value. These four attributes made the acronym “QSCV”, and it was something that Ray Kroc preached to his people every single day.

Ray Kroc shows his confidence throughout the book, not just with business, but also in his personal life. He pursued his business dreams with unmatched vigor, and he was equally determined to reach his personal goals. His relentless courtship of Joni, his one true love, is one of the highlights of the book. It’s fun listening to Kroc spill his heart out, telling the reader all sorts of details about his personal life. He was absolutely ga- ga over his beloved Joni, and he shows no embarrassment in admitting his feelings. Here was a man who had the world in his hands, a senior citizen who was head of a large corporation, and yet he was completely, hopelessly in love and willing to give it all up for his number one lady. He was having trouble sleeping, and couldn’t concentrate on work anymore. He was like a starry- eyed teenager, always in a daydream- like state, fantasizing about the woman he loved. He was prepared to do virtually anything to capture her heart.

Kroc was an outspoken and egotistical man, and these personality traits pop up throughout the book. He blew his top several times, when things didn’t go his way or when someone would make a negative comment about McDonald’s, and he could often be quite profane and a little vile. This was true in his other business ventures as well like when his San Diego Padres baseball team (he was the owner) wasn’t performing up to par. There was one episode, in 1974, when the Padres played miserably and Kroc let them know exactly how bad they were. It was the home opener, and at its conclusion, Kroc grabbed the public address microphone and harshly criticized the players for such a lousy performance. The media jumped all over the incident, but Kroc was undeterred. He gave no apologies, feeling that the team was letting down the fans and deserved to be chewed out.

One place where Kroc didn’t let his ego get in the way with smart business was with the naming of the restaurant. He decided to keep the original name, McDonald’s, rather than using his own name. This was a wise move, especially considering Ray’s last name. Would you want to visit a restaurant that was named “Kroc’s”? Just the name alone would make me lose my appetite and it was a wise business decision to keep the original name intact.

This book shows occasional dabs of humor and some good writing. Kroc and editor Robert Anderson both deserve credit for making the book more enjoyable to read with its easy- flowing style. It’s not awash in humor, but there’s enough to help keep the book interesting. One criticism that I have of this book, however, is the layout; specifically, the fact that the chapters have no titles, which is inexcusable. Titles are helpful for reference purposes, and they should have been included. If Ray Kroc didn’t realize this, then the editor should have. Other than that, the book is well- written and partically error free from a grammatical standpoint.

Kroc tells his story with gusto and pride. You can tell that he’s very happy with the McDonald’s company and gleaming with satisfaction over the way his personal life and professional life have turned out. This book was written in 1977, and much has changed since then, both with McDonald’s and with fast- food in general. There are far more choices in fast- food today, like submarine sandwiches, which had not yet achieved a substantial share of the market back when Ray Kroc wrote this book. It’s hard to say how Kroc would have reacted to these modern- day changes in the marketplace, but I’m sure he would have welcomed the challenge.

Many people don’t prefer McDonald’s food, but the man behind the arches, Ray Kroc, is a person who deserves respect. His tenacity was unrelenting, his confidence was unmatched, and his drive to succeed was unstoppable. He took a small, roadside restaurant in California and transformed it into the world’s largest fast- food chain. “Grinding it Out” is a testament to the difference that one man can make when he has guts and determination to be the best.

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