Removing the McDonald Brothers from McDonald’s
In 1952, the McDonald Brothers designed a more efficient and eye-catching restaurant. It featured stainless steel, red and white ceramic tiles, bright colors, and 25-foot yellow arches trimmed in neon – the original Golden Arches. To encourage customers to eat quickly and not linger in the restaurant, seats were distanced to reduce socialization, and fixed and angled to place customers directly over the food. Heat was also reduced in the dining area. With their new design in hand, the brothers began to franchise their system, starting in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1953. Ray Kroc, a milkshake mixer salesman, entered the picture in 1954. After he sold the brothers eight mixers, they hired him as their franchise agent. Kroc dreamt big – way bigger than his bosses.
The McDonald Brothers wanted to focus on just a few restaurants, and resisted Kroc’s attempts to improve their blueprint. Frustrated, he bought them out in 1961 for $2,700,000 – an amount that left each with a million dollars after taxes. At closing, Kroc discovered that he wouldn’t get the original McDonald’s at San Bernardino: the brothers gave it to the founding employees. It was renamed “The Big M”, because the siblings had failed to secure the rights to the McDonald’s name. An irate Kroc, who had gotten rid of the brothers but kept their name, opened a McDonald’s near the Big M, and put it out of business within a few years. Now free to run the enterprise as he saw fit, Kroc went on a massive expansion spree. By the time he died in 1984, there were more than 7500 McDonald’s restaurants in the US and around the world.