|Stagnant water in a discarded McDonald's plastic cup (Visviva)
Together with Walt Disney, - both were still snot-nosed - Ray Kroc worked his age up to become an American Red Cross driver to be deployed in World War I in Europe. They were only 15 but claimed to be 17 years old. After being trained in Connecticut as a driver, he would leave for Europe.
"He hoped to travel to Europe and help soldiers who had been hurt in battle. However, the war ended before Ray could go overseas," wrote Joanne Mattern in Ray Kroc: McDonald's Restaurants Builder.
Kroc had returned to school for several months. He later became a ribbon seller during the day and played the piano for a jazz band in a dance hall in Michigan at night.
In 1919, Kroc, who was 17 years old, met Ethel Fleming, the daughter of a hotel owner in Paw Paw Lake, Michigan. They fell in love and married in 1922. After marriage, they both moved to Chicago.
The birth of Marilyn, their daughter, made Kroc even harder to earn money by working as a salesman for Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation. In his office, he became the best salesman. He also continued to play the piano and became a music director on a Chicago radio.
|The world's largest "paper" cup standing about 68-feet tall in front of what was once the Lily-Tulip manufacturing company, later Sweetheart Cup Company, which is actually made of poured concrete (MissionInn.Jim)
In 1925, Kroc and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and became a real estate marketeer. But sales were only good in the first year. In the following year, his achievement decreased, so he had to find a side by playing the piano at a club in Florida.
Because of his wife's longing for Chicago, they went back there. Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation hired him again, and Kroc took the position of regional sales manager. After getting the position, he left due to a cut in employee salaries when sales of paper cups dropped. Kroc then worked for Earl Prince, the owner of Prince Castle which produced Multimixer.
When Ray Kroc worked as a salesman, two brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald were tired of working as handymen. They both worked at Motion-Picture studios. With the money they had, both of them opened a small stand that sold hot dogs in 1937 in Monrovia, California.
In 1940, they both opened McDonald's Bar-B-Que restaurant on West 14th and 1398 North E Streets, San Bernardino, California. It was a drive-in restaurant. Initially, the American menu that they sold was quite a lot, but then only nine left, including milkshake. In October 1948, their restaurant was closed but reopened on December 12.
Apparently, Kroc's Multimixer's biggest customer was a restaurant owned by the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino. He took the time to look at the restaurant in 1954. He flew to California and was immediately astonished by the concept of self-service operation.
|Logo from 1948 until 1953 (McDonald's)
Then, he chatted with the two restaurant owners. According to Kroc, the fast-food restaurant could be developed. However, the two brothers were satisfied with what they had made. "See that big white house with the wide front porch?" Maurice pointed out, as Kroc wrote in Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's, "That's our home and we love it."
The two siblings were younger than Kroc. Maurice was 52, - Kroc was a month older - and his younger brother was 45. They did not really want to rake in much more money. They just want to enjoy their lives with the restaurant they had. They were only founders and not sellers who want their products to spread across the world like Ray Kroc.
Kroc's interest in the McDonald brothers' restaurant was continued by opening a restaurant and establishing McDonald's Corporation in Des Plaines, Illinois, on April 15, 1955, exactly today 65 years ago.
The company began selling the restaurant franchise. To increase company profits, Ray Kroc founded McDonald's Franchise Realty Corp. to buy lands and sell them to franchisees on credit.
Having partnered since 1954, in 1961, Ray Kroc bought McDonald's rights from Richard and Maurice for 2.7 million dollars. Then, the McDonald brothers really retired from the historic restaurant business.
McDonald's then also made a change. The Speedee mascot, the figure of a burger and sandwich cook with a chef's hat disappeared and changed to Ronald McDonald in 1963. Two years later, McDonald's entered the stock market. Ray Kroc later became successful and wealthy as the McDonald's CEO.