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Mcdonalds: behind the Arches Paperback – 1 Jul 1995
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From the Inside Flap
McDonald's: it is the world's premier entrepreneurial success story, a company whose growth worldwide continues to be astonishing. In tough financial times, McDonald's proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. In the years since "McDonald's: Behind The Arches was first published, McDonald's has been a trendsetter in advertising, focusing on different ethnic groups as well as the physically disabled. McDonald's created McJobs, a program that employs both mentally challenged adults and senior citizens. And because its franchisees have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace, McDonald's has evolved successfully with the health food revolution, launching dozens of new products and moving toward environmentally-safe packaging and recyclable goods. Inspiring, informative, and filled with behind the scenes stories, this remarkable saga offers an irresistible look inside a great American business success.
From the Back Cover
McDonald's is the story of an American business success, a company that proved the value of hard work, ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instincts. In McDonald's: Behind the Arches, business writer John F. Love tells the astonishing story of the people and the strategies, the innovation and the brilliance that turned a single hamburger stand into a multibillion-dollar corporation that has influenced the very culture of America - and now the world.
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In telling the story, author Lowe hits at crucial point as to why McDonalds as a franchise succeeded so strongly for so long, and why so many other franchise systems fail or have failed: the franchisors and/or franchisees see it as a system to make money. The initial McDonalds franchise arrangement was so weighted towards the franchisee (a 1.9% franchise fee) that the only way for the franchisor (Ray Kroc) to succeed was to make the success of his franchisees his own aim.
Most people know the basics of the story - the McDonalds were two brothers who refurbished their successful diner for self-service and speed at low prices. Many an attempt was made by the brothers and other to franchise the idea. The man who sold them their milkshake machine, Kroc, finally made it a success.
Kroc's franchising approach was the same as his selling approach: he tried to find ways to make his customers successful with his product. His notion of fair and balanced franchise partnership was what made McDonalds a success nation- and ultimately world-wide. He figured his franchisees were his customers, and that he had to build loyalty with them. If they failed, he failed.
Elsewhere, then and now, franchisors make their money before the franchisee does via large up-front fees (for one site or for territories), or by supplying equipment and fit-outs at huge mark-ups. Kroc didn't take a salary from McDonald's for the first 8 years (he lived on a part-time salary from Multimixer) and refused to take rebates from suppliers, insisting they pass the savings on to the franchisees. He also wouldn't sell territories - just one franchise at a time.
If you've ever looked at buying a franchise, you won't find too many of those things in place - probably a fair reason why not too many survive too long.
The company struggled to survive for many year, until Harry Sonneborn (the finance man) found a way to make money that was aligned with the franchisees. Independent franchisees' biggest obstacle was getting a lease. McDonalds set up a real estate business - they would acquire the lease at fixed rent for 20 years at favourable terms, then sub-lease it at 40% markup or 5% of sales, whichever was higher. Since the 5% of sales had the potential to be infinitely higher, it maintained the focus of McDonalds on the revenue of its stores.
Unfortunately, this one's not available as an e-book/Kindle book. Well worth the buy - one of the best business books you'll ever read.
Having eaten a few burgers under the golden arches over the years, from the first time in the 'new style' restaurant in the late seventies. Due to the fact McDonald's has grown to become the most successful restaurant chain on the planet, I decided to find out how in such a short time they had revolutionised an entire industry and peoples eating habits.
You hear so many rumours / myths about the company, the quality of food, exploitation of staff etc I hoped this book would expose the truths. To my disappointment, the company started off and continues to be totally ethical and their success was down to their ruthless pursuit of quality, investment in people and systems. The fact they gained such growth and wealth by ensuring everyone within the supply chain achieved great success by adhering to their new and high standards is something you do not hear about. They looked after their franchisees, employees and suppliers rather than forcing restrictive measures and high fees.
This book was easy to read, the style was good and the story interesting.
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