• Kris Pepper

Making Success Happen: "The Founder"

I recently watched “The Founder,” a movie outlining the professional journey of Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonalds franchise.

Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. After one dead-end sales job after another, Kroc was in his 50’s when he discovered the original McDonald’s restaurant in southern California. He recognized the processes that Mac and Dick McDonald had put into place to create a fast-food business model as genius. No one else was doing it that way, and the model worked.

The movie follows Kroc’s highs and lows as he pursues franchise success. He was continually on the lookout for talent and drive in the individuals he met along the way. They were hired--whether they were looking for a job or not.

By the end of the movie, I had mixed feelings about Kroc. He was philanthropic. He recognized people and opportunities with vision, ambition, and enthusiasm. However, he was also a cutthroat business man who sacrificed his first marriage in his quest for success. overextended his power with the franchise, created off-shoot businesses without his partners’ agreement, and went on to create a multi-billion-dollar empire after buying out Mac and Dick for a mere $1.35M each and “forgetting” to pay out a handshake deal of 1% profits to them.

Putting aside the assertive and perhaps unethical way Kroc handled himself on many occasions, I admired his “never surrender” style and appreciation of great innovation and ideas. He had an open mind to solve problems and was willing to take chances with new ideas. His lessons of innovation, taking chances, and embracing new ideas are valuable, especially today. Watch the movie and let me know what you think!


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