Hamburgers Under the Golden Arches
Wednesday, 3rd July, 2013
Fred Turner and Ray Kroc at the 2500th McDonalds store
Owners of small businesses like employees who have worked at McDonalds. Starting work in a well managed, very busy, fast food outlet teaches teenagers how to serve a fairly demanding clientele while doing the job at a fast pace. These skills are very useful in a liquor store.
That McDonalds can quickly lift young workers to a new level is just one measure of the awesome attention to detail which has made this business a global giant. To end up in all corners of the globe means that everyday all of the basic rules are being ticked off and applied in a methodical and relentless manner.
For the student of retailing and marketing there are so many lessons in the story of McDonalds that the word seems synonymous with management. The Economist sees other attributes and has created a Big Mac index of 'purchase pricing parity' or PPP, this being a measure of the cost of buying a Big Mac in any country and converting this into an index of whether that countries currency is under or over-valued.
You cannot over-estimate the impact of the food service revolution and McDonalds partly created the fast food concept. Indeed in some respects, such as serving hot food, it seems more revolutionary than the other retail giants we have profiled in the annals.
McDonalds became a champion because of the vision of Ray Kroc but of great significance was the passion for the business of his long serving deputy Fred Turner. How did Kroc pick Turner and make him a giant?
The following is from; "Fred Turner the man who made McDonald’s, died on January 7th, aged 80"; Economist, 26th January, 2013.
........."Indeed, even by the corporation’s tenth birthday in 1965 - which was also ten years since Ray Kroc, the founder, had hired Mr Turner as a grillman in his very first franchise outside Chicago - McDonald’s was changing the American landscape".
"By the time he [Turner] retired in 2004, having risen to CEO in 1973 and chairman in 1977, there were 31,500 restaurants worldwide… Annual revenues when he retired were $19.1 billion…...."
"Each place was spanking clean; he would visit obsessively to chew out staff for smudgy windows or litter in the parking lot, and his training videos insisted that even the pipes under the sinks should be buffed until they shone. He knew what he was talking about; he had sweated by a grill himself."....................
.................."In Fred’s red-and-yellow universe, each hamburger had to be a perfectly consistent, reliable artefact. Ten patties could be formed from each pound of beef; not 11, and not nine. Twenty-four was the maximum number that could go on the grill at one time. The buns had to be pre-separated, which saved precious seconds of serving time, and the fries had to be precisely 0.28 inches thick....... All this was in Fred’s Bible, the training manual he wrote; and it was taught, too, in his Hamburger University (founded in 1961 in a restaurant basement in Elk Grove, Illinois), where for three weeks managers and staff were trained to run franchises properly in every single respect, graduating at last with a degree in hamburgerology. More than 80,000 people worldwide now boast this savoury qualification".
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