Tag Archives: Richard and Maurice McDonald

San Bernadino and The First McDonald’s Restaurant

Although the original McDonald’s restaurant started in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, the present McDonald’s Corporation dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.

The brothers were interesting, some would say eccentric, characters who were enthused by the assembly line manufacturing method of  Henry Ford in his car factories and in 1948 they suddenly closed their traditional and popular restaurant for several months and set about applying the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to only the essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which were produced on a continuous basis, rather than made to order, and with no alternatives on offer.  This was whole new idea that they called ‘fast food’, which could thus be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently.  The brothers reduced labour costs because henceforth there were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving only in paper bags. Their introduction of the ‘Speedee Service System’ established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The original mascot of McDonald’s was a man with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger shaped head whose name was ‘Speedee.’

Kroc was a multi-mixer milkshake machine salesman, travelling across the country and he was intrigued by an order from the McDonald brothers who had purchased eight of his Multi-Mixers, which to him seemed rather a lot for a small restaurant.  Immediately after visiting the San Bernandino restaurant he became convinced that he could sell mixers to every new restaurant that they opened, and so he offered the McDonald brothers a deal.

Although they were truly innovative the two brothers however were not particularly ambitious and were they were satisfied with their one restaurant that provided them with a comfortable life.  But Ray Kroc realised the potential and with much bigger plans proposed a chain of new McDonald’s restaurants and he tried to convince them to expand the operation but eventually became frustrated with the brothers’ lack of vision and their willingness to accept their chain having only a handful of restaurants and he forced them into an agreement.

Because Kroc insisted that he could not show the royalty to the investors he had lined up to capitalize his purchase the agreement was made with a  handshake with split appreciation between the parties .  When it came time to close the deal Kroc became annoyed that the brothers would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit.  The brothers had told Kroc that they were giving the operation, property and all, to the founding employees.  Kroc closed the transaction and then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn’t in writing.  The McDonald brothers consistently told Kroc that he could make changes that he wanted but despite Ray’s requests, the brothers never sent any formal letters which legally approved the changes in the chain.  To force the issue Kroc opened a new McDonald’s restaurant near the brothers restaurant (now renamed “The Big M” because they had neglected to retain rights to the name) to force it out of business.

In 1961, he finally purchased the company from the brothers. The agreement was for the McDonalds to receive $2.7 million for the chain (enough to pay each brother $1 million each after taxes) and to continue to receive an overriding royalty of 1.9% on future gross sales  and specifically 1.9% because when negotiating the contract the McDonald brothers said that 2% sounded greedy.

The Assembly Line and McDonalds Restaurants

Henry Ford introduced the concept of the assembly line and he revolutionised modern transportation but as a consequence of this he also helped introduce the fast food restaurant.  In 1955, an American businessman with a sharp eye for an opportunity called Ray Kroc unleashed a restaurant revolution and the beginning of the western world obesity problem when he opened the ninth McDonalds franchise restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois, which eventually led to the McDonalds Corporation and world domination by the hamburger giant.

Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman and his work brought him into contact with the two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, at their innovative hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino in California when he became intrigued by the volume of sales at a relatively small restaurant and went to visit them to understand why.  The brothers were interesting characters who were inspired by the assembly line manufacturing method of Henry Ford and in 1948 they had temporarily closed their successful but traditional restaurant for several months for a refit and when it reopened some time later had applied the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to the bare essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which rather than made to order were produced on a continuous basis and with no alternatives offered.  Food could therefore be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently, a new idea that they called “fast food”.  There were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and to save on the washing-up they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving orders in simple paper bags.

The two brothers were not particularly ambitious however and they were quite satisfied with their single successful restaurant and the comfortable life that it provided for them but Ray Kroc saw the potential of the idea and wanted to have even more new McDonalds (more restaurants = more milk shake machine sales) and he pressed them to expand the operation.  Eventually he lost patience with them and forced the brothers out of business by opening a rival diner in competition that he called McDOnalds (similar but not quite the same) right on the other side of the street.  The small restaurant of the two brothers lost a lot of their customers and Ray Kroc bought them out in 1961 for $2.7 million, which was a tidy sum in 1961.

McDonalds didn’t reach the United Kingdom until 1974 and now there are over a thousand of them and the Company business plan is to open thirty new restaurants every year.  I don’t remember when I first started using McDonalds, probably at about the time my children started to request it as a dining option, and now, apart from the occasional breakfast bun, I would only use it if I am absolutely desperate!

McDonald’s restaurants are now operating in 119 countries and territories around the world and serve 58 million customers each day. It operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 1.5 million people.

A Life in a Year – 15th April, The First McDonald’s Restaurant

Although the original McDonald’s restaurant started in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California, the present McDonald’s Corporation dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955.

Kroc was a multi-mixer milkshake machine salesman, travelling across the country and he took note of McDonald brothers who had purchased eight of his Multi-Mixers, which seemed rather a lot for a small restaurant.  Immediately after visiting the San Bernandino restaurant he became convinced that he could sell mixers to every new restaurant that they opened, and so he offered the McDonald brothers a deal. 

The brothers were interesting, some would say eccentric, characters who were enthused by the assembly line manufacturing method of  Henry Ford in his car factories and in 1948 they suddenly closed their traditional and popular restaurant for several months and set about applying the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry. 

They pared the service back to only the essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which were produced on a continuous basis, rather than made to order, and with no alternatives on offer.  This was whole new idea that they called ‘fast food’, which could thus be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently.  The brothers reduced labour costs because henceforth there were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving only in paper bags. Their introduction of the ‘Speedee Service System’ established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant. The original mascot of McDonald’s was a man with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger shaped head whose name was ‘Speedee.’

Although they were truly innovative the two brothers however were not particularly ambitious and were content with their one restaurant that provided them with a comfortable life.  But Ray Kroc realised the potential and with much bigger plans proposed a chain of new McDonald’s restaurants and he tried to convince them to expand the operation but eventually became frustrated with the brothers’ willingness to accept their chain having only a handful of restaurants and he forced them into an agreement.

Because Kroc insisted that he could not show the royalty to the investors he had lined up to capitalize his purchase the agreement was made with a  handshake with split appreciation between the parties .  When it came time to close the deal Kroc became annoyed that the brothers would not transfer to him the real estate and rights to the original unit.  The brothers had told Kroc that they were giving the operation, property and all, to the founding employees.  Kroc closed the transaction and then refused to acknowledge the royalty portion of the agreement because it wasn’t in writing.  The McDonald brothers consistently told Kroc that he could make changes that he wanted but despite Ray’s requests, the brothers never sent any formal letters which legally approved the changes in the chain.  To force the issue Kroc opened a new McDonald’s restaurant near the brothers restaurant (now renamed “The Big M” because they had neglected to retain rights to the name) to force it out of business.

In 1961, he finally purchased the company from the brothers. The agreement was for the McDonalds to receive $2.7 million for the chain (enough to pay each brother $1 million each after taxes) and to continue to receive an overriding royalty of 1.9% on future gross sales (when negotiating the contract the McDonald brothers said that 2% sounded greedy, 1.9% was much more acceptable).

A Life in a Year – 14th January, Henry Ford invents the Hamburger

On 14th January 1872 Henry Ford introduced the concept of the assembly line and he revolutionised modern transportation but as a consequence of this he also helped introduce the fast food restaurant.  In 1955, an American businessman with a sharp eye for an opportunity called Ray Kroc unleashed a restaurant revolution and the beginning of the western world obesity problem when he opened the ninth McDonalds franchise restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois, which eventually led to the McDonalds Corporation and world domination by the hamburger giant.

Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman and his work brought him into contact with the two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, at their innovative hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino in California when he became intrigued by the volume of sales at a relatively small restaurant and went to visit them to understand why.  The brothers were interesting characters who were inspired by the assembly line manufacturing method of Henry Ford and in 1948 they had temporarily closed their successful but traditional restaurant for several months for a refit and when it reopened some time later had applied the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to the bare essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which rather than made to order were produced on a continuous basis and with no alternatives offered.  Food could therefore be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently, a new idea that they called “fast food”.  There were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and to save on the washing-up they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving orders in simple paper bags.

The two brothers were not particularly ambitious however and they were quite satisfied with their single successful restaurant and the comfortable life that it provided for them but Ray Kroc saw the potential of the idea and wanted to have even more new McDonalds (more restaurants = more milk shake machine sales) and he pressed them to expand the operation.  Eventually he lost patience with them and forced the brothers out of business by opening a rival diner in competition that he called McDOnalds (similar but not quite the same) right on the other side of the street.  The small restaurant of the two brothers lost a lot of their customers and Ray Kroc bought them out in 1961 for $2.7 million, which was a tidy sum in 1961.

McDonalds didn’t reach the United Kingdom until 1974 and now there are over a thousand of them and the Company business plan is to open thirty new restaurants every year.  I don’t remember when I first started using McDonalds, probably at about the time my children started to request it as a dining option, and now, apart from the occasional breakfast bun, I would only use it if I am absolutely desperate!

McDonald’s restaurants are now operating in 119 countries and territories around the world and serve 58 million customers each day. It operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 1.5 million people.

Is McDonald’s responsible for obesity in France?

 In 1955, a businessman called Ray Kroc unleashed a restaurant revolution and the beginning of the western world obesity problem when he opened the ninth McDonalds franchise restaurant, in Des Plaines, Illinois, which eventually led to the McDonalds Corporation and world domination by the hamburger giant.

Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman and his work brought him into contact with the two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, at their innovative hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino in California.  The brothers were interesting characters who were inspired by the assembly line manufacturing method of Henry Ford and in 1948 they closed their successful but traditional restaurant for several months and applied the principles of mass production to the restaurant industry.

They pared the service back to the bare essentials, offering a simple menu of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, which were produced on a continuous basis, rather than made to order, and with no alternatives offered.  Food could therefore be served to a formula, nearly instantaneously and always consistently, a new idea that they called “fast food”.  There were no waitresses and customers walked to a single window to place and receive their orders.  They made the food preparation area visible to the customers, to exhibit its standards of cleanliness, and they eliminated all plates and cutlery, serving only in paper bags.

The two brothers were not particularly ambitious however and only wanted to have their one restaurant but Ray Kroc wanted to have even more new McDonalds and he pressed then to expand the operation.  Eventually he lost patience with them and forced the brothers out of business by opening a rival diner that he called McDOnalds (similar but not the same) right on the other side of the street.  The small restaurant of the two brothers lost their customers and Ray Kroc bought them out in 1961 for $2.7 million, which was a tidy sum in 1961.  McDonalds didn’t reach the United Kingdom until 1974 and now there are over a thousand of them.  I don’t remember when I first started using McDonalds, probably at about the time the children started to request it as a dining option, and now I would only use it if I am absolutely desperate!

McDonald’s restaurants are now operating in 119 countries and territories around the world and serve 58 million customers each day. It operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 1.5 million people.

The battle for France was one of the most difficult.  The first outlet was opened in the Paris suburb of  Créteil in 1972 and in 1999 a farmer turned environmental activist and anti-globalisation protester Jose Bové gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘drive-thru’ when he vandalised a half built McDonald’s by driving a tractor through it.  At the time he was running for President and must have thought this would be popular with the French electorate but he was no match for Le Big Mac. The first round of the presidential election was held on April 22nd, and Bové finished an embarrassing tenth, getting barely 1 percent of the total vote. By then, McDonald’s was expanding rapidly in the land of fine dining and had three hundred more than it had had when Bové began his high profile campaign.  The company was pulling in over a million people per day in France, and annual turnover was growing at twice the rate it was in the United States. Against McDonald’s, Bové had lost in a landslide.

Even though the French will maintain that they despise the fast food chain and the concept an awful lot of people do eat there. Across France there are nearly twelve hundred restaurants and in Paris alone there are almost seventy restaurants under golden arches, with even more dotted around the outer suburbs. That’s much the same as London, but with only a third of the people.  McDonald’s, or “macdoh” as it is known, is France’s dirty secret.  In 2007 the chain’s French revenues increased by 11 per cent to €3 billion. That’s more than it generates in Britain and in terms of profit, France is second only to the United States itself.  It is now so firmly a part of French culture that the menu includes McBaguette and Croque McDo and in 2009 McDonald’s reached a deal with the French museum, the Louvre, to open a McDonald’s restaurant and McCafé on its premises by their underground entrance.

A consequence of the French love of fast food is a growing obesity problem in a country that has always always prided itself on being slim and healthy with a belief that there is something in the French lifestyle that protects them against obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  This is called the ‘French Paradox’ and is now being exposed as a myth because they are straying from the very dietary habits that made them the envy of the world: eating small portions, eating lots of vegetables, drinking in moderation, and limited snacking.  It seems that the French are exercising less, eating more fast food, and are employed in more service jobs where time is spent sitting at a desk rather than driving a tractor or working an assembly line.  Overall six and a half million French, that’s 14.5% of the population, are now classified as obese.

A photograph taken on the beach at Berck in Northern France:

France 2010 Berck Plage and French obesity