Most of us have eaten in a McDonald fast food outlet, in fact 1% of the world population eat in a McDonald on a daily basis. The story on how the company was founded is an intriguing one for any entrepreneur and “The Founder (2016)” was a good biographical portrayal of the same, I enjoyed it. It revolves around Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman selling milkshake makers to restaurants who gets an order for six machines from an unknown fast food outlet named McDonald’s in west coast San Bernardino. Curious on who wants so many machines Ray travels from Illinois to California to see a brilliant establishment built by McDonald brothers Maurice (Mac) and Richard (Dick). The year was 1954 and the brothers had come up with a streamlined operation which can deliver Hamburgers within 30 seconds and for just 15 cents. Ray sees enormous opportunity for the business, signs a contract with the brothers to take the business nationwide through franchisees. In the next decade or two Ray succeeds in building a nationwide fast food chain with sales of over $700 million per year and even buys out the brothers stake to own the business empire.
As a film “The Founder” is highly entertaining due to its fast narration and focus on just Ray Kroc, the Chairman of McDonald’s Corporation; though it had scope to dwell into his failed marriage and subsequent love life it didn’t. As a management biography, it highlights three items. Perseverance being the first. Second being the importance of branding – getting the Golden Arches to be as ubiquitous across America as USA flag and Crosses on Church tops required vision. Last being the financial shrewdness to invest in “Real Estate”, to build solid assets to be the core to your business – a message that subprime crisis hit America would’ve done well to have remembered. Today McDonald’s is one of the largest real estate owners in the world!. In a sense, the Indian IT services firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro who came several decades later are today owners of large swaths of prime real estate across India, and that’s the legacy of McDonald’s.