McDonald's - Franchising / Fast Food Industry
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Fast food and franchising

   In the 1950s and 1960s, McDonald's became one of the most successful companies in the world.  A man named Ray Kroc used a business system called franchising to help the company grow very rapidly.

  The success of McDonald's made franchising a widely-followed business model for many other companies, especially fast food businesses. 

  Here's how it works:  A company develops a new business, and carefully plans all the details needed to run it successfully.  Then, the company sells the right to use its name, and a copy the business plan, to people in other cities. 

   Since all the details are already worked out, people will pay money - called a franchise fee - to get the business plan handed to them complete and ready to go.  That way, they get a head start on owning and running a successful business of their own.

Ray Kroc was selling restaurant equipment when, in 1954, he noticed that
a hamburger stand in California seemed very popular with customers.
He saw an opportunity to spread the same idea of "speedy service"
with a limited menu of items all over the country.

Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald's restaurant in 1955 in a small
city not far from Chicago.  A replica of his original McDonald's now sits
on the site as a museum to Ray Kroc's business creativity.  (A
working McDonald's restaurant is right across the street!)

Kroc insisted that anyone starting a McDonald's franchise business had to
follow the parent company's strict rules on cleanliness and food preparation. 
In the photo below, Ray Kroc is hosing down the area in front of his
restaurant to keep it bright and clean.  By 1965, there were 500
McDonald's restaurants in operation. 

Eventually, thousands of people all over the country
purchased a McDonald's franchise from Ray Kroc's company. 
Kroc (on the right) is shown below looking over blueprints
for a new design with a business partner, Fred Turner. 
there are more than 33,000 McDonald's restaurants around the world.

For an interactive timeline with more details of McDonald's history,
Click Here

The color photo of the McDonald's restaurant is from the National Archives.
All other photos are courtesy of McDonald's.

Some images have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2009, 2016 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.