Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ray Kroc and McDonald's

Ideas on what to blog about often come from unexpected sources. A few days ago we were out on the road in a torrential downpour. We decided to wait it out at the nearest pull-in, which happened to be a McDonald's. This was much against the principles of HeWhoKnows who considers McDonald's food as one step away from the garbage bin. I think that's a little unfair. However, on this occasion it was "needs must", and McDonalds' coffee had to be preferable to a bumperoony in our precious car!

So it was that in a pleasant, recently refurbished McDonald's, I enjoyed a warm cinnamon roll and started to wonder how this great juggernaut of a company first started.

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 a single fast food restaurant owned by the McDonald brothers in California, finished as one of the biggest international corporations in the world.

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 or near Chicago. 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 - that's a pity, but I'd bet that Saturn would lie on or close to an angle. 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!

There's an Air Grand Trine in Ray Kroc's chart - Jupiter/Pluto/Sun, the orbs are a little wide, but I still think it's significant for an entrepreneur whose brilliance and success relies mainly on mental processes. The other chart pattern I notice is what's known as a Yod - made up of a sextile aspect and two inconjunct aspects - forming an arrow like configuration. In Kroc's case the sextile is between Pluto and Mars, with arrow point 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 - and configuration is quite tight, probably 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 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!

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