October 5, 2002 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's was born one hundred years ago today. Regardless of how you feel about their burgers, you have to agree that McDonald's has certainly changed the world, for better or for worse.
posted by Silune (10 comments total)
Ray Kroc was the founder of McDonald's Corp, but was not the founder of 'McDonald's' per-se, as there was already a McDonald's restaurant in... er.. San Bernadino(?) AFAIR.

However, he can not take most of the credit, as McDonald's was not doing too great entirely under his command.

It was Harry Sonneborn's financial genius that really kickstarted McDonald's and turned it into the powerhouse it is today. While McDonald's was barely turning a profit under Kroc, Sonneborn had it raking in the $$$ in no time. Without Sonneborn, McDonald's would have died early, especially since one of their competitors (the name evades me) was bigger than them at the time.

Sonneborn realised that the way to riches was by real estate and leasing.. not just selling burgers. Interestingly, Sonneborn is not referenced in the corporate history page you link above. This may be because Sonneborn and Kroc had a falling out later on ;-) Either way.. Kroc was not the business wizard many made him out to be.

(Yes, I've read a few books about McDonald's corporate history. I'm lame.)
posted by wackybrit at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2002

I'm with Schlosser

Also of interest: a recent fast food related MeFi thread
posted by matteo at 1:00 PM on October 5, 2002

And, lest we forgot, the middle stooge, Louis Feinberg, was born one hundred years ago today. He tried to sell hamburgers, too:
On another occasion, Larry convinced Moe to finance a fast-food restaurant in Glendale called Mi Patio. Larry's two friends, who conceived the idea, planned to sell Stoogeburgers, which would be served in little plastic baskets with the Stooges' faces printed on the sides. After several months of so-so business the partners skipped town with everything they could get their hands on, including the burgers. As a result, Moe and Larry were left holding the bag.
Sounds a little like it could be a plot for one of their movies.
posted by bragadocchio at 1:44 PM on October 5, 2002

Don't forget the theme song! (McDonalds1979flexidisc .mp3 5.21mb care of the Oddball auditorium archive)
posted by ewwgene at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2002

i recently read an article, think it was USAToday, that talked about how McDonalds was rethinking their fatty ways and looking to offer a more natural fare to the their customers. i don't know that they were losing market share, but apparently they are one of the last to get on the boat, with Wendy's and BK, among others, offering new, healthier alternatives to the usual grease.
posted by memnock at 2:53 PM on October 5, 2002

I've read that no countries in which McDonald's does business have gone to war with each other. Is that true?
posted by 327.ca at 5:15 PM on October 5, 2002

NATO vs Yugoslavia, 2000. There was are McDonalds in Belgrade.
posted by dydecker at 6:10 PM on October 5, 2002

Ray's widow, Joan, is alive and well in San Diego, and she's a rather amazing philanthropist. This recently completed community center is just one example of how she uses all those McDonald's (and Padres) profits to benefit others.

I'll admit that it's hard to find anything redeeming about McDonald's in general, but you've got to give credit to Joan for dishing out so much money (most of the time very quietly, with no fanfare) to help communities that most need it.
posted by stefanie at 12:23 AM on October 6, 2002

Yes Ray Kroc gave us Mcdonalds, but he wasn't the founder... he created the franchise that turned the whole thing into a multi-national. The founders of McDonalds would be Richard and Maurice McDonald.

The things you learn from Bill Bryson books... ;)
posted by twine42 at 2:10 PM on October 6, 2002

I could murder a QPC right now.

Oh yeah.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:25 AM on October 7, 2002

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