How McDonald’s Beat the Competition


Beverly Trellis | Negosentro readers love finding out about the secrets of the entrepreneurs behind successful business ventures, and few are more successful than McDonald’s, the dominant fast-food franchise on the planet. This infographic, produced by Franchise Chatter, provides a timeline of the chain’s super-sized influence with some of its most important historical milestones.

But there are lots of fascinating insights that couldn’t be packed into this infographic. For example, McDonald’s didn’t invent the kitchen assembly-line method that put the fast into fast food – that honor goes to White Castle, the very first fast-food chain that got started all the way back in 1921. Nor was McDonald’s the first to introduce a “gimmick” burger, which was Burger King’s Whopper back in 1957.

So how did the founding entrepreneurs of McDonald’s beat the competition at their own game? As it turns out, although brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald got the ball rolling, it was Ray Kroc who bought the company from them and super-sized it into the world’s most successful fast-food corporation.

He accomplished this by focusing on what he thought would make the franchising aspect of the company successful – uniform standards and methods to produce consistent high-quality food at all locations, finding the right franchisees willing to work hard at being successful, and persuading suppliers to buy into the vision. He envisioned a 3-legged stool made up of McDonald’s franchisees, McDonald’s suppliers, and McDonald’s employees, with the stool only being as strong as each of the legs supporting it.

He also only allowed single-store franchises instead of the more common multi-unit territories. He didn’t want a franchisee to be spread too thinly over multiple locations – a brilliant move that kept each franchisee focused on the success of just one store.

Kroc’s relentless focus on perfecting the “system” and demanding that franchisees stick to it was the special sauce that vaulted McDonald’s into the forefront of the fast-food industry. He was passionate about innovation and efficiency without sacrificing quality.

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How McDonald