Ray Kroc's McDonald's turns 50

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Ray Kroc's McDonald's turns 50

Postby nichols » Fri Apr 15, 2005 11:35 pm

Image
PASADENA STAR NEWS

American success story


McDonald's celebrates its golden anniversary


By Gary Scott , Staff Writer


MONROVIA -- Fifteen years before the now world-famous Golden Arches hit the scene, brothers Richard and Maurice "Big Mac' McDonald were selling barbecue sandwiches out of a peculiarly shaped building on the edge of the Monrovia Airport.

There were no playgrounds or smiling clowns, no Happy Meals or hamburgers on the menu.

But the Airdrome, as the eatery was called, had something that would become the hallmark of a growing fast-food empire: convenience.

"A lot of people came over from the airport,' remembers Mildred Kobzeff, 88, of Glendora, an original carhop at the restaurant-in-the-round. "They were attracted to the idea of being able to drive in.'

The fare included barbecue beef and ham sandwiches, french fries, hot dogs, beer and orange juice the last a holdover from the brothers' first food outlet, an orange juice stand and furniture store in Arcadia called the Wigwam.

Kobzeff believes the McDonald brothers got the idea of a drive- up restaurant from a local drive-in theater. At the time, they were operating their own theater, the Beacon in Glendora, where Kobzeff had worked as an usherette.

But the Depression was on, and fewer people were willing to plunk down money for a movie ticket. The McDonald brothers were looking for a new venture.

Three years after it opened, in 1940, the Airdrome was moved to San Bernardino and later converted into a hamburger stand, setting the stage for what would become the most successful fast-food franchise in the world, with well over a billion served.

Today, the McDonald's corporation celebrates the franchise's official 50th anniversary, marking the opening of "McDonald's #1' in Des Plaines, Ill.

Over the years, the company became a symbol of the successes and excesses of American life, and an icon for the fast- paced, car-centric, television- watching culture that grew up around it.

Open a newspaper and find stories about people suing McDonald's because its food supersized them, its coffee burned them and its fries were secretly cooked in beef-flavored oil.

Turn to the dictionary for a word that means low-paying, low-skill work and find "McJob' a term that makes McDonald's a bit McAngry.

Walk into any business school across the country and chances are students are studying the company.

Watch TV and get bombarded with commercials that stick in your head so well that parents can still recite "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun' years after the ad went off the air.

Today, the Golden Arches are everywhere, serving nearly 50 million customers a day in over 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries. Even the French enjoy Le Big Mac from time to time.

"It is one of those few businesses that transcend selling products and services,' said Edward Zajac, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "They are kind of a slice of the U.S., like Coca Cola.'

In the early 1950s, Ray Kroc traveled to San Bernardino to find out why in the world the McDonald brothers bought 10 milkshake mixing machines for their hamburger stand. He saw a revolutionary method of preparing food called the Speedee Service System and decided it could be replicated all over the country.

McDonald's was well-positioned for America's changing lifestyle. As more and more Americans were climbing into cars, McDonald's was there to satisfy the demands of a busier, more mobile country.

Today, a traveler can even devise a vacation route around the franchises using the online McDonald's Trip Planner.

A quick check finds there are 65 franchises along the 2,036 mile journey between the Star- News offices in Pasadena and the Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus and Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Ill. an average of one restaurant every 30 miles.

McDonald's also was shrewd enough to recognize what people like to eat, and how much of it they want.

"They connect with biology because most people like foods with high amounts of sugar and fat,' said Kelly Brownell, a Yale University nutrition expert.

Critics say the fatty foods combined with the convenience has been too much of a good thing.

"It caused a decline in the American food,' said Dan Strehl, an independent food historian in Los Angeles. "It allowed people to accept a lower standard in cuisine. It supplanted eating with the family and it supplanted homemade lunches and dinners.'

McDonald's has refused any blame for obesity and other health problems associated with its foods, saying those are the result of the choices people make.

"It's all about personal responsibility,' said spokeswoman Lisa Howard.

At the same time, McDonald's has been a leader in the fast- food industry in introducing healthier food such as salads and recently launched a campaign teaching children to eat well and get some exercise.

After several years of stagnant U.S. sales and its first-ever quarterly loss in 2002, McDonald's has been surging. Profits jumped 55 percent in 2004 from the year before to $2.28 billion.

And as McDonald's continues to reach out globally, it has become a face of American values, American capitalism, and, some say, American culinary imperialism, making the Golden Arches a target of protests and violence. Examples include the ransacking of a half-built restaurant in France and the deadly firebombing of a McDonald's in Indonesia.

"Our size works for us,' said Irwin Kruger, who owns seven McDonald's restaurants in New York City, "and sometimes it works against us.'

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/Stories ... rch=filter

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So I wonder

Postby modfan » Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:43 am

Where was the 'Monrovia Airport' in Monrovia located and where was the 'Beacon' located in Glendora?

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Sunday Morning

Postby khummer » Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:23 pm

did anyone see the Sunday Morning coverage of Mc D's on CBS? I missed part of it. Did they talk about fabulous Monrovia? [/u]

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Postby khummer » Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:25 pm

KMART on Shamrock, where Michael's is now. Shopping center off Huntington was the Monrovia Airport.

Beacon - Nichols would know better than I, but I thought I was on Glendora Avenue in the downtown area. A parking lot is there now if I am the mark????

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Postby nichols » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:14 am


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Postby nichols » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:20 pm

Amazing little 1967 McDonald's employee recruitment film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZjdouRo ... re=related

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Postby 24x48 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:38 pm

Kroc's a crock! Anything of real interest about McD came before Kroc..learn more in Tennyson's book.

Thanks,


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Postby Pal George » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:13 pm

thankfully Mrs. Croc, chose to make ammends and gave a pile of his special sauce to NPR


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