You may not know who Ray Kroc is, but I’m very sure you’ve heard about titan fast food chain, McDonald’s. Kroc was the person behind McDonald’s and who turned the franchise system into the most successful fast food corporation in the world.
In 1954, when Kroc was 52, he was a salesman selling multi-mixers for restaurants. And when he first encountered the McDonald’s brothers, he knew that he had stumbled upon a goldmine where he could multiply and expand to thousands of restaurants worldwide. Kroc then successfully convinced the McDonald’s brothers to sell the franchise rights to him. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, there are more than 14,000 McDonald’s in the United States, over 23,000 in international locations, and Ray Kroc has been included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century. And in terms of brand value, the company is valued more than $88 billion.
If you want to learn more about Kroc and his story, read his biography, Grinding It Out.
Without doubts, there are plenty of success lessons, entrepreneurship spirit, and inspirational quotes we can learn from this extraordinary man.
And this is exactly what you are going to discover in this post. I have compiled 17 great lessons and motivational quotes that I believe everyone should learn from Ray Kroc.
1. “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.”
One of the keys to success is continuous learning. Just like what Kroc said, continue to learn and grow. The moment you stop growing, you start rotting.
There are many ways how you can learn and grow, and one of the easiest ways is to read books. Which book to read? Well, just get yourself a copy of Ray Kroc’s biography and McDonald’s success story, Grinding It Out.
The book is a very inspirational read. Although we all are familiar with McDonald’s, not many people understand how Kroc built the company to the largest fast-food franchise business in the world.
2. “Take calculated risks. Act boldly and thoughtfully. Be an agile company.”
Ray Kroc always believed that if you want to be extraordinary and produce remarkable results in whatever you do, you must dare to take the risk, envision the future, and move fast to take action.
Many people are stuck working in a company that they hate and they don’t dare to take the risk to quit and get a better job or start their business. This is why most people are not successful.
Of course, don’t just take risks blindly. Be thoughtful and take calculated risks. When you are clear about what you wanted and have a plan for it, you greatly increase your chances of success. That, my friend, is a calculated risk you should take.
3. “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customers first, success will be yours.”
Again and again, we often heard the phrase, “You must love what you do” or “Follow your passion”. I know that you have heard about this at least a thousand times, but I need to stress it here one more time, “Do what you love and success will follow.”
In fact, Ray Kroc is not the only person who agrees that the idea of working solely for the money will never work out in the long-term, other highly successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Jack Ma of Alibaba say the same thing before.
Success is difficult, and if you are doing it solely for the money, you will quit whenever things are not working out. And those who love doing it are willing to do it even without pay, they persevere and succeed in the end.
4. “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
Business may involve taking big risks. When the day Ray Kroc visited the McDonald’s brothers, he was impressed by how they ran the restaurant and the business. The idea of serving hamburger, fries, soft drink, and milkshakes were so simple that it gave Kroc the inspiration to want to do the same.
As a result, Kroc believed that he had struck a goldmine and quickly convince the two brothers to sell him the franchise right to open more McDonald’s elsewhere. At that time, Kroc was just a salesman, but he decided to take the leap of faith and go for it.
The same thing can happen in your life. Sometimes you may discover opportunities where you must make the decision that will change the course of your life forever.
This is especially true in business. A business can involve a lot of risk-taking and require you to put in a lot of money to grow it. Hence, learn to take calculated risks like how Ray Kroc did for McDonald’s.
5. “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
Success is just a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the higher your chances of getting a yes.
In my home country, there are people who go from one restaurant to another to approach the diners and to sell them something. It can be pens, socks, homemade cookies, etc.
And every time I encounter these people, I observe them closely. I notice that many people will reject them and refuse to buy from them, but if they continue to approach and pitch people to buy, they will eventually land a sale or two.
It is simply a numbers game. The same goes for everything in life. The more you sweat and work harder for it, the luckier you will become.
6. “The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.”
Whenever an opportunity presented to you, you must be willing to act on it. You can be at the right place and at the right time, but if you are not the right person, who is not willing to take action, success will just pass you by.
We all understand about being in the right place and at the right time, but more importantly, you must be the right person who dares to take action. Without you playing your part, success may elude you.
7. “We take the hamburger business more seriously than anyone else.”
No matter what business or how puny the job you are working on right now, take it seriously and work at it diligently.
Perhaps, Robin Sharma, the author of “The Leader Who Had No Title“, says it well. He says, “Leadership is less about the position you hold than the influence you have. It’s about doing world-class work, playing at your peak, and leaving people better than you found them. It’s about leading without a title.”
When Jackie Chan, the famous actor was a nobody in the early stage of his acting career, he treated his role seriously and acted as real as possible. Even if he had to act as a dead person lying on the floor, he acted diligently. Eventually, people started to notice him, directors wanted him to act more, and this was how he started his career.
You too, have to do the same. Regardless of what job position you are in, or whatever business you are running, you must treat the work as seriously as possible.
After all, if you are not serious about your business/goals/job/dreams, who else would?
8. “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
If you want to be a great leader in your company, you must first show the quality within yourself. Therefore, if you want to present yourself as someone successful, you must show that you possess the qualities and standards.
There is no way you can find a highly successful company being led by someone mediocre. Your company, business, products, and even employees will be portrait and reflected in your standards.
So learn to grow and become the right person, and the right team will be attracted to you.
9. “McDonald’s is a people business, and that smile on that counter girl’s face when she takes your order is a vital part of our image.”
One of the core reasons why McDonald’s is able to grow at such a tremendous rate is not so much because of its food, but rather, it is because of the service and how the company portraits themselves in the public.
People often associate having great times in McDonald’s, with friendly services, and also a clean restaurant. Since the beginning, the company has always positioned itself as a customer service company, not just a restaurant selling hamburgers.
No matter what business you are in, you are always in the customer service business. Train your team and treat your clients and customers with care. Exceed their expectation and your business will grow beyond your imagination.
10. “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.”
Most restaurant operators don’t really care about their store’s cleanliness, but not McDonald’s. Ray Kroc believed that having a good customer image is equally important as serving great food.
This lesson is especially important for people who are involved in the food and beverage industry. If you are running a restaurant, make sure it is clean.
11. “It’s easy to have principles when you’re rich. The important thing is to have principles when you’re poor.”
Anyone can feel good when they are healthy, they get their bills paid, they have a great relationship, etc; anyone can feel positive during those good times. The real test comes when things are not going your way, and when you are struggling financially to make ends meet.
It is easy to say things and do things when you’re rich and you have it all. The key is not what you do or how you react during those times, but how you respond when you get knocked down. Are you going to keep your principles and maintain your values during tough times?
Remember, success comes from within you. You must first become the person of success only then you are able to produce the amazing results you want in life.
Without becoming the right person, things will eventually come down and you may fail in the end. So commit to growth.
12. “When I saw it working that day in 1954, I felt like some latter-day Newton who’d just had an Idaho potato caromed off his skull. That night in my motel room I did a lot of heavy thinking about what I’d seen during the day. Visions of McDonald’s restaurants dotting crossroads all over the country paraded through my brain.”
Envision the success you want and have the courage to pursue your dreams. Just like what Ray Kroc did. When he discovered McDonald’s the first time, he was so excited and can’t stop thinking about growing the business worldwide.
Kroc then took the courage to negotiate the deal with the McDonald’s brothers, and somehow, he managed to replicate the success of the store to each McDonald’s branch worldwide.
Everyone has dreams, but not everyone will do anything about it. Don’t just think about the perfect life you want at night, live it by taking action.
13. “I have always believed that each man makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own problems. It is a simple philosophy.”
Regardless of the situation, you are having in life right now, you are the one who created that. You must take the responsibility in order to take charge of your life.
If you are struggling financially, it is because of your decision and action that get you where you are. If you are doing extremely well financially, guess what, it is because of your own action too.
Thus, learn to take the responsibility and create the life you want. If you are happy, remember, you created that. If you are having a lot of problems, you are the one who created the problems too.
14. “Look after the customer and the business will take care of itself.”
Ray Kroc believes that customer is the company’s number one priority. No matter what he did, he must aim to serve his customers and give the best experience as much as possible.
When the customer is happy, they will come back for more and the business will take care of itself. There’s no way you can build a business without customers. Customers are the ones who pay for your profits. And if you are not making money from your business, find out the reasons from your customers.
15. “If you believe in it, and you believe in it hard, it is impossible to fail.”
You must believe that you can do it before you can make it possible. No matter how big your dreams or how bold your goals are, the first step to realizing them is to believe that it is possible to achieve them.
When you truly believe that something is possible, you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. More importantly, you will do things with 100% commitment.
On the other hand, when you don’t believe that you are able to achieve your goals, you will never do your best. You will only put in half-hearted attempt to do it.
Hence, always believe in yourself, your dreams and your goals. Believe that you can do it and it is impossible to fail.
16. “Adversity can strengthen you if you have the will to grind it out.”
Many people are afraid to make mistakes and to face adversity. In fact, adversity is the reason people are able to grow. When you make mistakes, you learn from them and come back stronger.
Yes, you may feel depressed, frustrated, and inferior when you get knocked down, but if you are willing to treat them as feedback, you can turn them into stepping stones to reach the success you want.
Failures are necessary in order to be successful. Napoleon Hill, the best-selling author of “Think and Grow Rich”, said:
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
17. “Our aim was to insure repeat business based on the system’s reputation rather than on the quality of a single store or operator.”
Since the launched of the first McDonald’s store by Ray Kroc, he focused on building a successful franchise system that can be replicated over and over again. Kroc understood that if he wanted to make McDonald’s available across the world, he must rely on a system that can work anywhere, without his supervision.
Kroc built a successful company because of the business’ system. As long as you are able to replicate the system, you can expand your business and aim for world domination.
For entrepreneurs who aspire to be like Ray Kroc and who want to build successful businesses like McDonald’s, learn to build a system that can work without you.
More importantly, read his book, Grinding It Out, and understand first-hand, how Ray Kroc did it.