Tuesday, May 15, 2012

McDonald's born today in 1940 - Propelled To Fame under Ray Kroc's Leadership

I noticed in Wikipedia's list of notable events for this day, 15 May, that on 15 May 1940 – "McDonald's opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California".

My feelings about MacDonald's were neutral when I first arrived on these shores. I'd sampled their wares, a BigMac, one time only, when Mac's first opened a store in the town where my parents lived. Mum and Dad were keen to try this new delicacy. Before that, the only hamburger joints I'd seen in England were Wimpy Bars where the only choice used to be "with or without onions". Upon association with my now husband I soon became educated in what he sees as the evil of MacDonald's. Now we enter their doors for one main reason - to use the restrooms/toilets when travelling. I've been known to partake of the odd smoothie or iced coffee on occasion, and - oh yes - once, when overnighting in a tiny town with no other cafe open at breakfast time we had to rely on MacDonald's for a couple of Egg MacMuffins. We survived! I secretly suspect that husband is a tad unfair to the Golden Arches.

As today is the original MacDonald's birthday, I'll put up again some details from a 2007 post as to the history of what became the giant corporation we know today.

Ray Kroc was the man who developed the juggernaut we now know as McDonald's. He didn't invent the hamburger, nor the idea of fast food per se - what he did was market these things so brilliantly that what started as that 1940 fast food restaurant, developed and owned by the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac in California, became one of the world's biggest international corporations.

A good on-line biography HERE starts thus:
"In 1954, a fifty-two-year-old milk-shake machine salesman saw a hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, and envisioned a massive new industry: fast food. In what should have been his golden years, Raymond Kroc, the founder and builder of McDonald's Corporation, proved himself an industrial pioneer no less capable than Henry Ford. He revolutionized the American restaurant industry by imposing discipline on the production of hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes. By developing a sophisticated operating and delivery system, he insured that the french fries customers bought in Topeka would be the same as the ones purchased in New York City. Such consistency made McDonald's the brand name that defined American fast food."

Here's Ray Kroc's natal chart (drawn up for 12 noon as no birth time is available). He was born on 5 October 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois. Generationally he's one of that brilliant Pluto in Gemini generation who helped in giving birth to what became known as "The American Dream". Also extracted from the link above, this snippet is intriguing:
"Kroc's father had taken four-year-old Raymond to see a phrenologist -- a practitioner of a nineteenth century "medicine" that divined insights into a person's character and capabilities from the skull's shape and size. After groping and probing the bumps on the youngster's head, the phrenologist pronounced that the child would work in the food-service industry. "

Without birth time we can't know what his 10th house of career contained, but I'd bet that Saturn would lie on or close to one of the angles. With a birth time of around 6pm Saturn would be in 10th, Sun and Venus in 6th and Aries rising - that would fit particularly well!

His chart is well-balanced element-wise. There's an Air Grand Trine - Sun/Jupiter/Pluto, all linked by 120* harmonious trine aspects. This is significant for an entrepreneur whose brilliance and success relies strongly on mental processes.

Another chart pattern here is what astrologers call a Yod (or Finger of Fate) - made up of two planets forming a sextile aspect both also forming quincunx (150*) aspects to another planet, making up in an arrow-like configuration. In Kroc's case the sextile is between Pluto and Mars, with arrow's apex at Saturn in Capricorn. If I had to pinpoint the most significant factor in this man's chart, it would be this! Saturn in Capricorn, the businessman's planet in it's own sign, hooked up to powerful and energetic Pluto and Mars - the configuration is quite tight too, making it more intense.

Saturn trines Venus in Virgo - here is the attention to detail which must have been so important in setting up a chain of fast food restaurants, all serving the same food prepared in the same way, so that the result is consistent and reliable. Another extract from the link mentioned above:
"Espousing the idea that "there is a science to making and serving a hamburger," Kroc endowed his beef patties with exacting specifications -- fat content: below 19 percent; weight: 1.6 ounces; diameter: 3.875 inches; onions: 1/4 ounce. Kroc even built a laboratory in suburban Chicago to devise a method for making the perfect fried potato in the late 1950s".

Mars in Leo, trining Uranus in Sagittarius provided the spark which helped turn an ordinary salesman with good business sense into a world-class entrepreneur. Sun in Libra trining Jupiter in Aquarius provided the tact, quick thinking and diplomacy needed to clinch deals. The deal Kroc eventually made with the McDonald brothers is legendary:
"It was not an easy time for Ray Kroc. He was suffering from diabetes and arthritis. His gall bladder and thyroid gland had already been surgically removed. But the desire to succeed burnt throughout his body. In a final act of refined salesmanship Ray Kroc managed to convince the brothers (McDonald) to sell the company to him. He asked them to name their price. The $2.7 million that Ray Kroc paid in 1961 for the McDonalds Corporation is considered to be one of the greatest acts of salesmanship of all time."(From HERE)
The juggernaut had started to roll!


Wisewebwoman said...

I'm with Himself on this one, did you see the Spurlock film and Fast Food Nation?
The stuff never decomposes.
It is toxic.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ Don't recall seeing those.

I agree that some items on the McMenu are best avoided, and so are some on the menus of all eating places I've frequented in the USA, chain and non-chain.

The McD smoothie and cold coffee drinks are decent enough, Egg McMuffin is reasonable - best if you ask them to leave out the cheese though. American "cheese" everywhere is nothing short of a travesty.

Mcloos are clean and modern - something much appreciated when "on the road", so I feel I owe 'em at least a good word. ;-)

James Higham said...

I used to eat the Egg McMuffins but as they dripped grease all over the clothes, I had to stop.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ You must have a tight grasp JH!

R J Adams said...

No, sorry, Twilight - I'm with Himself and WWW on this one. It's not Ray Kroc's fault, of course. His food was probably quite palatable in its day. After ten years in America, I've come to give all the fast food chains a wide berth. We stay in hotels with microwaves and fridges, prepare our own food, or make sandwiches and a flask of tea for any long journey.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~

Ganging up on me eh? ;-)

We give em a wide berth too, RJ, whenever possible, as I've pointed out in the post.

When we're on the road, adventuring, we do from time to time buy stuff for breakfast and store it in the motel fridge, but half the fun of adventuring for me is sampling those quaint hometown diners, especially at breakfast time. Breakfasting out is an American habit which fascinates me, and for once in a good way.