Ray Kroc is often called the “Henry Ford of food services”. He realized that the mass production of fast food required the combination of precise measurements and an efficient assembly process. “There is a science to making and serving a hamburger”, Kroc once said.
Along those lines, Kroc required exact specifications on all of his beef patties: Fat content: below 19%
Weight: 1.6 oz
Diameter: 3.875 inches
Onions: ¼ oz
Kroc even had a laboratory in suburban Chicago to devise a method for making the perfect fried potato in the late 1950’s.
Instead of only supplying franchisees with milk shake formulas and ice cream, he wanted to provide an entire operation system so that a store in Delaware and a store in Nevada could serve burgers of the exact same size and quality, each containing the same number of pickle slices and topped with the same sized dollops of mustard and ketchup, each arrayed on a similar tray alongside potatoes deep-fried for the exact same length of time.
To further accomplish this goal, Kroc built and maintained relationships with suppliers who could supply ingredients to ensure that all McDonald’s stores would have quality, similar tasting burgers. If individual stores utilized different suppliers, burgers would be of varying qualities.
Through rapid growth and extensive advertising, McDonald’s became the nation’s largest fast food chain in the early 1970’s. The value of Kroc’s stock holdings rose to about $500 million. During this time, Kroc began to focus on entering foreign markets, starting with Japan and Germany in 1971.
Kroc passed away in 1984 at the age of 81, just ten months before McDonald’s sold its 50 billionth hamburger. As an entrepreneur, Kroc excelled at identifying opportunities, establishing standardization procedures, and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit among his employees.