In 1948, Dick and Mac McDonald’s opened a self-service drive-in restaurant. The menu was limited to nine items and service was faster than anyone had seen before. In 1954, Ray Kroc,52, first saw the operations of the McDonald’s restaurant and was fascinated by it. He had an epiphany and started his career in hamburgers by buying worldwide franchise of the restaurant from McDonald brothers; opened his first McDonald’s in 1955 and by 1965 there were 700 McDonald’s. Rest is history that defines the biggest fast-food chain in the world.
McDonald brothers perfected the operation of making and selling fries and hamburgers. Ray Kroc took it global and made McDonald’s a world icon. This is a perfect example of two different set of skills you need, one of a perfectionist to create a perfect operation and another of a visionary to take it global.
Who made McDonald’s “McDonald’s”? Ray Kroc.
It was Ray Kroc who picked it up from one store in a town in California, believed in the concept, set a perfect system to replicate the operations, built a team of great people and set McDonald’s as a world renowned brand. Without the vision, passion and risk taking ability of a Ray Kroc, McDonald’s would have been a great hamburger and fries joint in San Barnardino, CA just like Thai Tom is in Seattle, WA or Aravind Eye Hospital is in South India.
Both Thai Tom and Aravind Eye Hospital are great examples of a process made perfect by a unit at a certain place. But they are not yet global phenomenon because they don’t have someone with a vision and leadership to adopt them and take them worldwide. They are just like McDonald’s was in 1954, and for them to become “McDonald’s”, all they need is a “Ray Kroc.”