Kroc, Ray (Raymond Albert Kroc), 1902–84, American fast-food restauranteur and franchiser, b. Chicago. Kroc held several jobs before becoming (1937) the distributor for a blender that simultaneously prepared several milkshakes. Visiting a small but profitable San Bernadino, Calif., restaurant owned by brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, he was impressed by the fast assembly-line fashion preparation of burgers, fries, sodas, and shakes. Kroc acquired the business's franchising rights and in 1955 founded the McDonald's Corp. Six years later he bought out the brothers. Using quality, service, cleanliness, and value as a commercial mantra, and maintaining strict uniformity of product, McDonald's grew quickly, as franchises opened throughout the country and menu items were gradually added. Kroc served as president (1955–68), chairman of the board (1968–77), and then senior chairman until his death. By then, McDonald's had changed America's eating habits, with more than 7,500 restaurants in operation and annual sales topping $8 billion.
See his Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's (1977, repr. 1990).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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