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Perfect for fans of The Founder, this is the real-life story of the world’s premier entrepreneurial success. The growth of McDonald’s worldwide continues to astonish. In tough financial times, McDonald’s proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. McDonald’s has been a trendsetter Perfect for fans of The Founder, this is the real-life story of the world’s premier entrepreneurial success. The growth of McDonald’s worldwide continues to astonish. In tough financial times, McDonald’s proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. McDonald’s has been a trendsetter in advertising, focusing on different demographics as well as the physically disabled. McDonald’s created McJobs, a program that employs both mentally challenged adults and senior citizens. And because its franchisees have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace, McDonald’s has evolved successfully with the health food revolution, launching dozens of new products and moving toward environmentally safe packaging and recyclable goods. Inspiring, informative, and filled with behind-the-scenes stories, this remarkable saga offers an irresistible look inside a great American business success.


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Perfect for fans of The Founder, this is the real-life story of the world’s premier entrepreneurial success. The growth of McDonald’s worldwide continues to astonish. In tough financial times, McDonald’s proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. McDonald’s has been a trendsetter Perfect for fans of The Founder, this is the real-life story of the world’s premier entrepreneurial success. The growth of McDonald’s worldwide continues to astonish. In tough financial times, McDonald’s proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. McDonald’s has been a trendsetter in advertising, focusing on different demographics as well as the physically disabled. McDonald’s created McJobs, a program that employs both mentally challenged adults and senior citizens. And because its franchisees have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace, McDonald’s has evolved successfully with the health food revolution, launching dozens of new products and moving toward environmentally safe packaging and recyclable goods. Inspiring, informative, and filled with behind-the-scenes stories, this remarkable saga offers an irresistible look inside a great American business success.

30 review for McDonald's: Behind The Arches

  1. 4 out of 5

    Omar Halabieh

    As best summarized on the back cover of the book - "McDonald's is the story of an American business success, a company that proved the value of hard work, ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instincts. In McDonald's: Behind the Arches, business writer John F. Love tells the astonishing story of the people, and the strategies, the innovation and the brilliance that turned a single hamburger stand into a multibillion-dollar corporation that has influenced the very culture of America - and now the As best summarized on the back cover of the book - "McDonald's is the story of an American business success, a company that proved the value of hard work, ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instincts. In McDonald's: Behind the Arches, business writer John F. Love tells the astonishing story of the people, and the strategies, the innovation and the brilliance that turned a single hamburger stand into a multibillion-dollar corporation that has influenced the very culture of America - and now the world." An exceptional business read, with countless lessons in business, management, leadership and sourcing. These lessons are inter-weaved within a great story about the start and growth of one of the most recognizable brands in the world. A must read! Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful: 1- "Few outside McDonald's understand that Ray Kroc's brilliance is found in the way he selected and motivated his managers, his franchisees, and his suppliers. He had a knack for bringing out the best in people who worked with him. To be sure, Kroc's success with McDonald's is a story of his own entrepreneurship. But it is more. He succeeded on a grand scale because he had the wisdom and the courage to rely on hundreds of other entrepreneurs." 2- "The fundamental secret to McDonald's success is the way it achieves uniformity and allegiance to an operating regimen without sacrificing the strengths of American individualism and diversity. McDonald's manages to mix conformity with creativity." 3- "Essentially, the approach Kroc took in franchising was the same as he took in selling food service supplies: his success was based on finding a way to make his customers successful with his product. As simple as it sounds, it was a revolutionary idea in the rapidly expanding food franchising business, and Kroc's notion of a fair and balanced franchise partnership is without question his greatest legacy." 4- "In short, Kroc assembled and tolerated one of the most diverse collections of individuals ever to occupy the top management of an american corporation. And even today, the practice of recruiting extremely individual managers is a McDonald;s trademark, one almost completely hidden by the chain's legendary operational uniformity." 5- "In fact, McDonald's greatest impact on American business is in the areas that consumers do not see. In their search for improvements, McDonald's operations specialist moved back down the food and equipment supply changed...They changed the way farmers grow potatoes...they altered the way ranchers raised beef...Indeed, no one has had more impact than McDonald's in modernizing food processing and distribution in the past four decades." 6- "McDonald's also encouraged closeness with vendors by giving them enormous incentives to upgrade their operations. It did so by demonstrating early on that it could be just as loyal to suppliers that met its standards as it was tough on those that did not." 7- "What converted McDonald's into a money machines had nothing to do with Ray Kroc or the McDonald brothers...Rather, McDonald's made its money on real estate and on a little-known formula developed by Harry J. Sonneborn." 8- "The free exchange of Zien's promotional ideas set a precedent that remains a key principle in McDonald's marketing today: that all franchisees are partners, and what one develops to improve his or her local operation is provided freely to all operators to improve the system's performance, with no royalty going to the franchisee, who discovered the concept." 9- "...for most of its history, dedication to new products resided with certain product-oriented franchisees who stubbornly pushed their inventions on company managers who were not easily sold on them." 10- "He (Kroc) had built not a company but a system of independent companies all pursuing the same goal, each dependent on the other. Indeed, the synergy that was developing between all the parts of McDonald's was so different and unexpected that Kroc himself was only beginning to grasp the significance of it." 11- "The packaged foods companies belatedly discovered that there was an enormous difference between the management of manufactured foods sold to grocers and foods prepared and sold directly to customers at a fast-food outlet. In the former, manufacturing is centralized and more easily controlled, and the sale to the consumer is indirect and depends highly on branded advertising. In the latter, production is decentralized and difficult to control, since each store is a self-sustaining production unit. Furthermore, the sale to the consumer is direct and depends highly on local service." 12- "But McDonald's reliance on nearly captive suppliers for technological breakthroughs goes beyond new products. Indeed, it was suppliers - driven by the prospect of increased McDonald's business - who played the key role in organizing McDonald's supply lines and making its distribution system one of the most advanced in all of retailing." 13- "...McDonald's Americanization of the global food service industry is one of the most promising developments in U.S. trade relations. McDonald's, after all, is exporting what has become the centerpiece of American industry - the service sector." 14- "More important, however, Fujita's success made it clear to McDonald's that to succeed in retailing abroad it needed a partnership that could give McDonald's a home grown flavor in each foreign market without deviating from the fundamentals that made McDonald's work in the United States." 15- "The company was not only a good target for environmental activists because it was large, but the fact that it had outlets in virtually every U.S. community of any size made McDonald's accessible to picketers and protesters everywhere, in some cases for issues that the company was not remotely involved in." Regards,

  2. 5 out of 5

    trinainmanila

    Highly sympathetic to McDonald's as a corporation and Kroc as a visionary. Informative, but guard yourself against the author's bias. Highly sympathetic to McDonald's as a corporation and Kroc as a visionary. Informative, but guard yourself against the author's bias.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    It was very good and actually interesting which surprised me considering it is a book about McDonalds. I got it from my dads bookshelf in his office. He likes it too.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Luciano Villegas

    A fantastic book for any business-oriented mind and/or anyone fascinated by the McDonald's story. Found myself writing and highlighting quotes, business practices, and Krocisms throughout. I never would have guessed McDonald's at heart is an entrepreneurial enterprise. This story of growth, mistakes along the way, and international expansion is one for the ages. A fantastic book for any business-oriented mind and/or anyone fascinated by the McDonald's story. Found myself writing and highlighting quotes, business practices, and Krocisms throughout. I never would have guessed McDonald's at heart is an entrepreneurial enterprise. This story of growth, mistakes along the way, and international expansion is one for the ages.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    A long and detailed history of one of the, if not THE most famous fast food franchise in history. A look, warts and all, at McDonald's as it started and how it has grown to a huge multi-national corporation. I have been reading this on and off for about a month. It's not an easy read (at least, not for me), as it is organized thematically, rather than chronologically. That in itself is not an issue, but it can make reading hard. It's a fascinating look at McDonald's, although it does suffer by bei A long and detailed history of one of the, if not THE most famous fast food franchise in history. A look, warts and all, at McDonald's as it started and how it has grown to a huge multi-national corporation. I have been reading this on and off for about a month. It's not an easy read (at least, not for me), as it is organized thematically, rather than chronologically. That in itself is not an issue, but it can make reading hard. It's a fascinating look at McDonald's, although it does suffer by being somewhat outdated. It would have been interesting to see history of "super-sizing" as well as the fast food controversies over obesity and health issues addressed. Hopefully this will be updated at some point.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Guzman

    I became curious about the history of McDonald's after watching the movie The Founder. The movie was wrong on many fronts with regards to Ray Kroc. His family is probably livid about his inaccurate portrayal in the movie. This book, while long, is fascinating. The history of McDonald's gave me a newfound respect for the company and the level with which they'll go to ensure the quality of their food. While I never ate at McDonald's, save for the occasional breakfast on the go, I found myself eatin I became curious about the history of McDonald's after watching the movie The Founder. The movie was wrong on many fronts with regards to Ray Kroc. His family is probably livid about his inaccurate portrayal in the movie. This book, while long, is fascinating. The history of McDonald's gave me a newfound respect for the company and the level with which they'll go to ensure the quality of their food. While I never ate at McDonald's, save for the occasional breakfast on the go, I found myself eating there more frequently because of this book. I highly recommend this read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I randomly watched The Founder and it led me to this book. Fascinating as someone who went often as a kid in the 80s and into the 90s.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kend

    So, I wrote this review for my INFO 5712 (Horizon Technologies in Libraries and Information Science) course this semester (Fall 2018), and I'm too tired to cut it down for Goodreads. Sorry, folks! John F. Love’s McDonald’s: Behind the Arches was something of a landmark book when it was originally published in 1986, and even after more than three decades it serves as a useful and thoroughly researched history of the company’s—and the entire American fast food industry’s—early years. It is also, i So, I wrote this review for my INFO 5712 (Horizon Technologies in Libraries and Information Science) course this semester (Fall 2018), and I'm too tired to cut it down for Goodreads. Sorry, folks! John F. Love’s McDonald’s: Behind the Arches was something of a landmark book when it was originally published in 1986, and even after more than three decades it serves as a useful and thoroughly researched history of the company’s—and the entire American fast food industry’s—early years. It is also, in many ways, a chronicle of the cult of personality at the heart of the McDonald’s empire, and gives an almost-insider’s perspective on the ways in which such personalities inform American business interests. In 1986, few if any companies made the Fortune 500 list that were helmed by charismatic leaders like McDonald’s Ray Kroc; in 2018, we have weathered the media storms surrounding dozens of such tech titans, from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the late 1980s to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in the late 2010s. We are now in some ways primed to both emulate and criticize the world’s most powerful founders and CEOs, rendering Love’s forgiving picture of the McDonald’s Corporation’s hierarchy a touch too rosy and naïve for modern tastes. Structure McDonald’s: Behind the Arches, appropriately for a book tracking the development of a company dominated by the cult of personality, is structured around the important people in its hierarchy: the McDonald brothers, company founder Ray Kroc, and the cluster of successors whom he trained up through the company’s development and groomed to take his place—including those that gave him considerable trouble. These first-tier managers included Sonneborn, Schindler, Turner, Conley, and Martino, each of whom took on significant functions within McDonald’s and allowed it to remain somewhat decentralized. Whether consciously or subconsciously, the book’s internal architecture mirrors this reality as the tight structure of the early chapters gives way to much more loosely structured, roughly chonological chapters in the second half. The Cult of Personality Love’s comment that “selfish interests never prevail” (p. 8) no longer rings true in an era when a tech titan can launch an aerospace start-up and then also launch his luxury roadster beyond Earth’s orbit without any accountability to the public. It is difficult to nurture the illusion that such public figures—absurdly wealthy, socially insular, and politically powerful—are remotely in touch with the average citizen’s daily needs and experiences. Back in 1986, by contrast, Ray Kroc may indeed have seemed like a champion of the common man—although this image may in part be due to Love’s biography itself. How we write about public figures is, after all, how we remember them. Love’s treatment of Ray Kroc is a perfect example. Described by Love as a man with a “disarming capacity for dealing with hundreds of people on an extremely personal basis” (p. 45), Kroc had a magnetic personality—and just like a magnet, he both attracted some people and repelled others. Love repeatedly describes Kroc’s colorful public and private outbursts and the effect these displays of emotion had on his employees—making him in many ways an even more perfect parallel to some of today’s charismatic corporate figureheads, of whom such tantrums are almost expected. Today’s experts are divided on the benefits and risks of such behavior from figureheads such as Kroc on a company’s bottom line; Kroc is now joined by such rarified company as Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Even Steve Jobs was known by reputation for being a demanding and often difficult boss. This particular kind of leadership style attracts controversy. Adam Monson (2018), for example, argues that “[e]ach time Musk damages his celebrity status, he damages Tesla, which makes Tesla a very risky investment. Tesla is especially risky for the average investor who can't afford it to crash” (para. 6). Recent reports, including Julia Carrie Wong’s (2018) recent article in The Guardian, indicate that Tesla is rife with malpractice and employee lawsuits waiting to happen, in part because Musk struggles to keep a rein on his public misbehavior. Musk’s legacy, like Kroc’s, will likely shift from the right to the wrong side of public opinion as the consequences of his behavior have more time to manifest. Love’s book was published before McDonald’s reputation was fully eroded by greater public awareness of the company’s systemic problems and the more problematic elements of Kroc’s leadership. One can easily forgive McDonald’s: Behind the Arches for being of its time, but it is less easy to forgive McDonald’s as a corporation or Kroc as an individual. Showing its (Problematic) Age In many ways, McDonald’s: Behind the Arches is indeed a product of its time—including the most problematic aspects of that time. While it’s perhaps inevitable that a book about 1980s technology would reference Xerox as a revolutionary leader in office equipment development (p. 48) and the Soviet Union as a continuing fact of life (p. 447), it is disappointing that a book published after the civil rights movement and second-wave feminism would be so tone deaf to women and people of color. The world was a different place in 1986 in terms of industry, but 1986 is not so old that the book’s stance on social issues should feel so utterly alien. For example, Love is aware of, if not particularly bothered by, the systemic sexism embodied throughout McDonald’s history. Early on in McDonald’s: Behind the Arches, Love writes that the McDonald brothers after whom the company is named employed only men “[p]erhaps as an overreaction” (p. 8) to what they saw as the power of women to attract unwanted demographics to their stores. Despite lavish profiles of the company’s majority-male executives, Kroc compliments the one woman—June Martino, who began as Kroc’s bookkeeper in 1948 and later became McDonald’s Corporation’s Secretary-Treasurer, and finally a Director—for being something of an exception to her gender; he describes how she “even cleaned the washrooms [at one store] to prepare the place for a wedding reception” (p. 413). He also makes note of her lifelong interest in phrenology (p. 96)—a pseudoscience which has long served to prop up arguments for racial and gender profiling—and describes her as being something of a “den mother to McDonald’s young [male] managers” (p. 109). She was, according to Love, most valued for having “involved wives in the McDonald’s family” and for “deal[ing] with their frustrations over the long hours their husbands were putting in” (p. 109). While it is entirely possible that men were also performing the same tasks, Love chooses to highlight her accomplishments in supposedly domestic, maternal, and feminine roles—while doing nothing of the sort with his profiles of McDonald’s male executives. McDonald’s stance on women eventually changed, mostly due to self-interest, which is to say that the company eventually realized at an institutional level that women made good employees, and therefore they helped make the company profitable; the company had to be dragged to this conclusion kicking and screaming, however, after a franchisee violated the store’s license by hiring women in the mid-1960s (p. 293). In that case, “[a]s soon as the company’s field consultant spotted women in the Elkhart store, he told Christian [it’s owner] to fire them. Christian refused” (p. 293)—and several years later, in 1968, the company officially allowed stores to hire women as staff (p. 294). Even then, however, “[s]ome of the criteria on hiring the first female crew persons were so discriminatory that they could not be published in the operations manual” (p. 294). Kroc, by and large, left it to others to move the company forward on gender equality; Sonneborn, for example, was the one to insist that his wife and McDonald’s Secretary-Treasurer June Martino be allowed into the all-male New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) director’s dining room when the company celebrated being listed on the NYSE in 1966 (p. 245). Love concludes, somewhat mildly, that “Kroc was no pioneer of women’s rights” (p. 98). More accurately, he was only bigoted in ways which were tolerated by his majority-male peers. The book is also slow to condemn Kroc’s (and therefore McDonald’s) racism, even though the book is, once more, aware of the issue. Time and again throughout the book, Love argues that “Kroc assembled and tolerated one of the most diverse collections of individuals ever to occupy the top management of an American corporation” (p. 88, emphasis mine). By implication the word diversity, in the 1980s, apparently did not acknowledge the concept of race; even today, only one of the fourteen top executives listed on the McDonald’s website is a person of color, while three are women. McDonald’s: Behind the Arches seems blind to the fact that McDonald’s actively benefited from racism—and only granted franchise licenses to African Americans after the Cleveland Civil Disorders of 1966 through 1968 made it clear the company would lose profits by continuing to exclude people of color from the franchise (p. 363). Black applicants, according to Love, “did not fit [McDonald’s] notions about how a licensee should look, talk, and dress, and about the amount of formal education he should have” (p. 371). Desegregation was still ongoing at the time, making it nearly impossible for people of color to acquire the same level of education as white franchise applicants. McDonald’s had only four black operators as of 1969, not quite 50 in 1972, and 167 as of 1986 (p. 373) as a result of aggressive affirmative action and the ill-fated (and terribly named) “zebra packages” (p. 372) by which the company paired up black franchisees with white partners in an attempt to boost diversity while maintaining other, more nebulous standards. Love bends over backwards to apologize for Kroc’s racism, stating at one point that “despite Kroc’s repeated use of ethnic [antisemitic] epithets, he harbored no real prejudices” (p. 99). The company’s corporate hierarchy and dealings with its franchisees would rather seem to contradict this statement. The company continues to face, as Lenika Cruz (2015) notes, a legacy rife with systemic racism. While McDonald’s (among other brands) began taking “depictions of African Americans more seriously” in its advertising in the 1970s, “other minorities were left out, largely because they had no significant spending power and weren’t worth pursuing” (para. 9). Thus, any intersectional concept of diversity—one which would acknowledge the enormously important presence of Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, and other minority ethnic groups in America as citizens and consumers—is mooted. 32 years after its original publication and 23 years after the publication of a revised edition, McDonald’s: Behind the Arches does not bear up well under the lens of social criticism. Its ongoing relevance is rooted instead in its analysis of the company’s internal architecture and operations. Controlling the Narrative Writes Love, “[i]t is in the area of manpower that McDonald’s influence on the American economy is most overlooked” (p. 4), with one in fifteen workers getting their first job through the company (p. 5) as of 1986. Turnover was, he points out, always high, but the company’s influence remains massive in terms of the American workforce; each year, thousands of employees progress through McDonald’s training and then take that training into other jobs—and not just in food service. Love writes that “the history of McDonald’s is a case study on managing entrepreneurs in a corporate setting” (p. 8). The company bet its future success on maintaining high standards of quality in service and product development in its early years, and in denying territorial franchise licenses that would have loosened the company’s central control over individual stores (p. 60). According to Love, Kroc realized early on that “[t]he whole purpose of a franchise system [...] was to obtain the benefits of cooperative purchasing so that restaurant operators in the chain could sell food at a lower price than they could if they ran their restaurants independently” (p. 64), and he made it part of his mission to align franchisees’ self-interest with the company’s general business interest. He gave franchisees “freedom to create and contribute ideas that he believed benefited the system, but he would not tolerate deviation from the norm when he thought it hurt the system” (p. 86). While Love repeatedly describes Kroc’s approach as generous in spirit and somewhat freewheeling, it is clear from the sequence of events that Kroc was actually deeply invested in maintaining rigid control over even the smallest minutiae of the company and its franchisees: experimentation only happened within strict guidelines, and Kroc was prone to bringing in company-approved assistance to supervise even that experimentation. If an experiment was proven to be a success, the franchisee lucky enough to have developed it maintained absolutely no intellectual property rights over the product or service, and benefited not at all from the company’s co-option of that idea. Kroc was therefore able to maintain a uniform McDonald’s customer experience and profit from his employee’s well-constrained ingenuity. This balance between control and freedom as the basis for controlled innovation is a recurring theme in Love’s book. Control, writes Love, could indeed be carried too far but also enabled the company to reshape the food service industry to better serve its needs—and yes, sometimes, the customer’s needs as well. A key benefit of administrative control was the company’s enforcement of its “SQC” (p. 145), or quality control, standards. They issued manuals which were “at times too detailed” (p. 142). These manuals “specified prices for all products, a violation of current restraint of trade rules, and [their] all-male job titles were intentionally discriminatory” (p. 142). Even later, corrected manuals were hundreds of pages long. McDonald’s staff, meanwhile, were trained to provide speedy, efficient, and high-quality service at “Hamburger University” (p. 148), the company’s sprawling training center. When it came to dealing with vendors and the materials they supplied to the company, McDonald’s prototyped surprise vendor inspections (p. 131) and instituted a series of laboratories and test kitchens to invent new products and refine existing ones. Kroc and McDonald’s were not content to leave fries and milkshakes alone, for example, and sought instead to constantly improve both the product and the efficiency of production by way of new technologies and machinery. Their systems proved eminently portable: McDonald’s essentially reconstructed foreign food supply systems abroad after expanding overseas, just as it had earlier done in the United States (p. 442). Control—no matter whether it was exerted by way of real estate ownership, franchise licensing, staff training, vendor contracts, and SQC reports on both vendors and franchise stores—accomplished two simultaneous goals: raising profits, and raising customer satisfaction. Writes Love, “viewed from the outside, centralized control seemed to be a passion for Ray Kroc” (p. 205) and it was enforced by the fact that, in 1982, McDonald’s became “the owner of the most valuable real estate in the world” (p. 159). Franchisees rented their properties from McDonald’s, and if their standards ever slipped, they were at risk not just of losing their franchise licenses but also their functional capacity to exist. Kroc and McDonald’s became just as deeply invested in controlling the public narrative as they were in controlling operations. In the beginning, however, the company was slow to pick up on advertising of any kind, especially national (pp. 205-208). Kroc advocated for franchisees investing in their local communities, especially in local charities; after all, “community involvement was a far more efficient form of promotion than advertising was” (p. 212), in part because it cost the company itself no money, and while it cut into franchisees’ bottom lines, it often repaid the investment of the franchisees’ time and money in full. Additionally, charity gave “individual operators a sense of personal identity in a business where that identity can easily be lost” (p. 213). This was also an area where the McDonald’s administration had little interest in exerting its control, at least in the beginning, and allowed creativity to flourish. Later on, as company-run stores began to make up a larger percentage of McDonald’s locations, the company began to invest more in Ronald McDonald Houses. Kroc reportedly was known for saying that McDonald’s “is not in the restaurant business; it’s in the show business” (qtd. in Love, p. 208), and he understood instinctually the need for effective branding and a strong public image. McDonald’s began to encourage franchisees to pool their money to pay for radio, television, and direct mail advertising campaigns. McDonald’s also invested in creating the character of Ronald McDonald for public marketing campaigns—appropriating the idea from a franchisee—to appeal to the national children’s market (p. 224). Further funds went toward appearances in the Macy’s Parade (pp. 246-247) and in the first-ever round of Super Bowl commercials (p. 248). While initial franchisee investments were low, the company as a whole had spent $180 million on national advertising by 1985 (p. 250)—all of it guided and directed by Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s Corporation rather than by the franchisees themselves. Today, in 2018, McDonald’s seems to strike a balance between national and local advertising, the former of which is now centered on social media and television, and the latter of which remains up to the individual franchisee’s skills, interests, and imagination. (I'm omitting the "Ongoing Relevance" section since it doesn't all fit. Apologies.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Coffee Store Guy

    Last time I checked, the only thing behind the arches was trees.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lamec Mariita

    I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know everything about McDonald's. In all parts of the world has become part of the eating culture and represents a modern way of life. This book takes you behind the scene and shows how a great idea went to spread out across the world. One cannot help but leave with great admiration for Ray Kroc and others surrounding McDonald's for their perseverance in bringing to the world an affordable, quality food product in spite of a barrage of barriers place I recommend this book for anyone who wants to know everything about McDonald's. In all parts of the world has become part of the eating culture and represents a modern way of life. This book takes you behind the scene and shows how a great idea went to spread out across the world. One cannot help but leave with great admiration for Ray Kroc and others surrounding McDonald's for their perseverance in bringing to the world an affordable, quality food product in spite of a barrage of barriers placed in their way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Kocik

    After reading this book I have a newfound respect for this Company. Not only a success story, but a Company that believes in the pursuit of quality and service while maintaining fairness to the people that work there. I grew up in DesPlaines, Illinois where the first Ray Kroc McDonald's was built in the same year I was born, so I literally grew up with McDonald's. To this day their regular, original hamburgers and cheeseburgers represent comfort food to me. When I asked my Dad to buy stock in th After reading this book I have a newfound respect for this Company. Not only a success story, but a Company that believes in the pursuit of quality and service while maintaining fairness to the people that work there. I grew up in DesPlaines, Illinois where the first Ray Kroc McDonald's was built in the same year I was born, so I literally grew up with McDonald's. To this day their regular, original hamburgers and cheeseburgers represent comfort food to me. When I asked my Dad to buy stock in the company when i was a kid still, when they first went public, I remember him saying: "They wont make it, but Henry's (another competitor in the area) will". I am happy to say that I am glad Dad was wrong on this one and that they not only "made it" but then some - I only wish I had had some of that stock now though...I would not have to be working for someone else today and maybe would have had one of my own stores to run.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dave Ives

    Enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. If you're looking for insights and inspiration on how a well run business comes into being, functions and operates, this book is a winner. I did feel the author's bias coming through a bit as it seemed like there were glimpses of hero worship going on ... author is a big fan. But, author also exposes some not so nice aspects of the McDonalds story, but usually brings it back to a positive somehow. Again, this leads me to believe there's a autho Enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. If you're looking for insights and inspiration on how a well run business comes into being, functions and operates, this book is a winner. I did feel the author's bias coming through a bit as it seemed like there were glimpses of hero worship going on ... author is a big fan. But, author also exposes some not so nice aspects of the McDonalds story, but usually brings it back to a positive somehow. Again, this leads me to believe there's a author positive bias almost as if McDonalds asked him to write the book. The book is an excellent read, author makes it interesting and kept me wanting to read more. Overall, a valuable book that tells the story of one of the most successfull business operations ever - McDonalds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ali

    What could I say? It is a love story in a form of an entrepreneurial instrument. Touchy. The author has done an outstanding, extraordinary and almost never-replicated job in constructing this masterpiece. His ability to isolate the events of each chapter from the other related events put things into their prospectives. It is unmatched mature, decent and world class reading about a corporation (and the people who built it) of the same qualities.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    - Fascinating look behind an American capitalist story - Holds up well, 20 years after publication - Shows the importance of identifying the opportunities that align with the greater forces in society - formation of middle class families; automobile transportation; suburbanization; standardization

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    This is the second account of the creation, founder and everything else about the McDonald’s franchise I have completed. Some of the information between the two books is repetitive but interesting. Some of the other greed and corruption was a bit of a surprise but not a shock. Better than I thought it was going to be.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tarek

    Essential read for every entrepreneur or corporate directors. Teaches you the greatness of distinguished relationships with your suppliers and strong community influence you can have by growing all the people around in the process

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kevin McClear

    The author is a bit too enamored with the subject for this to feel unbiased, but the book remains a fascinating study of the structure and history of one of the more important companies in the world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Olmedo Vogue

    They sell the meat of the rat. :( This book is truely.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Manav Chopra

    Surprising account of the convoluted rise of the man behind McDonald’s. A full account of the makings of the McDonald empire.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Man

    Very motivational. Had no idea ray a krock started in his 50s and he just started as a pianist and sales man

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott Goglin

    I read this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ted Daniels

    This book is 25 years old, but it is still a worthwhile read. Mr. Love gets past the well-documented legend of Ray Kroc, and credits the business people that made it all work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna Frano

    Recommended by a top executive in my company, so I read it. Well written and good pacing. Bit dated because the book is older but so many lessons to be learned

  24. 4 out of 5

    Akshara

    For those who love business and it's brick up way to success must find this book an interesting read. For those who love business and it's brick up way to success must find this book an interesting read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Chase

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Best book about McDonald's!! Tons of fun facts!! Best book about McDonald's!! Tons of fun facts!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob Pollock

    Am interesting look into how McDonald's became the king of franchises. Am interesting look into how McDonald's became the king of franchises.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    One of the greatest corporate history books on earth. Analyses the Kroc, McDonald’s brothers rivalry and partnerships, with depth and excitement.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Keegan

    Comprehensive and extremely in-depth, albeit far too laudatory, which can more than obscure the disastrous effect of the fast food giant.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    You did that hungry!! I loved it, every twist and turn caught me by surprise!! I can’t wait to read more of your books....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    A fantastic book! A real education. The author really gets into nuts and bolts rather than the usual vague "innovations in supply chains"-type stuff. Quite understandable and answers a lot of questions and corrects a lot of misconceptions. Plenty of fast food restaurants already existed, really what Kroc did was create an innovative powerful franchise system. And what really assured its success was Harry Sonneborne's inspiration to create real estate wealth. Lots of fun anecdotes. Kroc's secretar A fantastic book! A real education. The author really gets into nuts and bolts rather than the usual vague "innovations in supply chains"-type stuff. Quite understandable and answers a lot of questions and corrects a lot of misconceptions. Plenty of fast food restaurants already existed, really what Kroc did was create an innovative powerful franchise system. And what really assured its success was Harry Sonneborne's inspiration to create real estate wealth. Lots of fun anecdotes. Kroc's secretary was given a 10% stake in the company. The McDonalds refused to approve any changes at all to the system so Kroc was constantly in violation of contract even for adding a furnace to the stores, since the one in California didn't have or need one. The corporation was among the early users of rooftop air handling because the volume of cooking done meant all the air in the building needed to be replaced every 3 minutes and the couldn't afford to lose the storage room in the basement. During rush hours--and this was before the stores had indoor seating--the crew couldn't have left because the pressure difference was too great to open the doors. Taco Bell is named after its founder Glen Bell, a telephone repairman who was a frequent visitor to the original McDonald's. (Again, contrary to popular legend, Kroc wasn't the first to notice how well they were doing.) When the restaurants were redesigned, they were so sturdy that the city of Cleveland made them designated evacuation spots. The first McDonald's in Japan was built in 36 hours. The trick to perfectly frying fries isn't a particular temperature of the oil in the deep fryer, that changes between machines and even between batches. The trick is that once the oil has regained 3 degrees from when you put the fries in, they're ready. (The other tricks involve getting the potatoes with the right starches. Early McDonald's buyers went out and tested them by floating them in water. Today the lengths McDonald's goes to get consistent ingredients causes anxiety about food diversity, but in the early days it was the solution to suppliers who tried to pass off adulterated or frankly unsafe product. The original Ronald McDonald was played by Willard Scott. None of the food innovations Kroc came up with ever succeeded and most of the new products you've heard of were created by franchisees. (The fish sandwich was a response to Catholic communities' meatless Fridays.) I think the story of Kroc's early career and how he got involved was cute too. He worked for a long time as a salesman of restaurant supplies, often urging ideas on owners that would increase their sales and thus use of his products. When his employer didn't want to take on multimixers, he went independent and became the distributor (if I understand correctly). He worked with owners and suppliers to keep milkshake production going even through dairy shortages during the war, but afterwards sales were still falling off. He visited the McDonald's drive-in because they were his best customers and he needed to see what on earth they were using so many machines for. In a meeting with the brothers, he asked them to let him know when they hired a a new franchise licenser so he could keep in touch with him about supplying the new stores with multimixers (the first one had to retire after only a short stint due to health problems). A week later he called to check in and ask if they had chosen one yet. When they said no, he said, "Well what about me?" There were a couple points in the more recent history (Well, "recent". The revised edition was printed in '95.) that grated as pro-McDonald's biased, for example the nutrition side of things and union issues. But hey, the guy needs access to write a thorough book.

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