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Picture of Ray Kroc
Kroc was not in the best state of health when he first came across the MacDonald brother’s hamburger operation. He was 52-years old, and had been suffering for years from a combination of arthritis, diabetes, and the loss of his bladder and thyroid in previous surgeries. However, he never lost his positive attitude or his faith in the future. “The best is ahead of me,” he would always say.
The telling of this tale reveals the story of a simple and ordinary man, with less than ordinary dreams. How many people would think of starting up a new business in their 50s, not to mention with a myriad of health problems? Even many young entrepreneurs find themselves drained from all the energy it takes to successfully start up a company. How many people would place a mortgage on their own home to get enough money to get their business going? Much like the golden arches than shine brightly in the eyes of the over 54 million customers McDonald’s serves daily around the world, the story of this entrepreneur is one of shining hope and perseverance.
There are many pictures of business and entrepreneurial success, but few demonstrate the persistence and dogged willpower like the picture of Ray Kroc. He was a tireless worker who was always on the lookout for new and hidden opportunities. When one customer purchased eight of the multi-mixers he was selling, Ray Kroc immediately got on a plane and visited that customer to see how they were using it. It turned out to be one of the greatest decisions of his life, when he met the MacDonald brothers and the idea for a national chain was born.
How many others would have done the same – boarded a plane to meet a customer after they purchased more than one of whatever product was being sold? How many others would have simply congratulated themselves on their sales success and moved on to the next customer? No, this entrepreneur had to satisfy his curiosity. It was that thirst for knowledge and new ventures that characterizes his life story.
When he died in 1984, the picture of Ray Kroc had been firmly cemented in U.S. history. Not only did he completely transform the fast food industry and American culture, but he did so at an age when many others were content to simply retire. That is the true picture of Ray Kroc – a man who never stopped, who never gave up, and who never took ‘no’ for an answer.
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