Our Movie Review
Brand Creator not The Founder
Not knowing the McDonalds origins at all I was very surprised by The Founder. The title is a bit misleading as it is more the brand creator than the Founder.
We first get a view of the founder – Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) trying to flog a machine that makes multi milkshakes at once. Ray uses the same old sales pitch and gets the same old No response. We are then shown how long and boring it was to order food from your car in the early days. When Ray rings the office to check in on other business matters he is told about a big order. Ray believes this is a mistake and rings the restaurant to confirm. He is correct the order is wrong they want more than they initially ordered. This has gotten the attention of Ray and he decides to check this place out, so he drives across America to California. Which is being run by two brother Dick and Mac.
Upon arriving at the first ever McDonalds he is meet with a massive que, but is assured it won’t take long to be served. He finally gets to order his food and is shocked when it is delivered to him within minutes. Ray asks what we would now consider very stupid questions like where and how do I eat this? After his initial confusion he eats the burger and loves his experience.
Light Bulb Moment
When finishing his first McDonalds Ray happens upon one of the founding brothers and they have a little chat. Ray is in awe of the speed and precision of the process as he gets a tour of the facilities. We learn of the story behind the speedy system and the brothers detail oriented nature in developing this system. Ray really wants to be part of this in some way and has what he thinks is a brain wave. He goes to the brothers with the idea of franchising the restaurant, but the brainy brothers have already tried this. The downfall being that it was too hard to control quality.
Ray is convinced he can control the quality and persuades the brothers to allow him to sell the franchise under their very strict guidelines. Ray starts to sell franchises to rich folk and quickly runs into quality problems. He learns quickly that pedantic hard working folk are the best franchise owners. Ray has many ideas about how to add things to the menu or money making strategies but the brothers turn all his ideas down. The McDonalds brand is really taking off and Ray is the talk of the town, the guy everyone wants to be. Ray thinks he has finally made it but is surprised when he learns that his company is making no money.
The Game Changer
During a trip to the bank by Ray his conversation about his finances is over heard by Harry J Sonneborn. Harry follows Ray out of the bank and declares that if he is not making money hand over fist there is a problem somewhere. Harry and Ray look over the ledger and then Harry delivers the one piece of advice that turns McDonalds into what we know today. “you are not in the restaurant you are in the land business”. Harry advices that Ray should buy the plots of land that the restaurants are being built on and charge them rent thus also ensuring the quality. The brothers are not happy with this but there is nothing they can do as it is not part of their very tight contract.
Ray is now starting to fall out of love with his wife and in love with Joan Smith. During a meeting Joan introduces Ray to quick milkshakes which saves the need for ice-cream and thus large energy bills. As usual the brothers block this move. The relationship is breaking down between the brothers and Ray, the final straw comes when ray ship the instant milkshakes to all the outlets and the brothers are furious.
During a telephone call to discuss this Ray stands his ground and refuses to recall the instant milkshakes. The conversation is over when one of the brothers falls ill and need to go to the hospital. Ray rocks up at the hospital and hands the brothers a blank cheque for the business. The brothers talk it over and decide to sell their share for $2.7 Million dollars and 1% profit share of the company.
The Hand Shake That Never Was
During the final discussion the 1% of the profit somehow gets removed from the contract. It is eluded that this would be a gentleman agreement and the brothers would still get their 1% of the profits. however, as it turns out that never happened. But what is 1% anyway well it turns out today 1% is $100 million worth fighting for.
At the end of the film we get some amazing facts including how much land McDonalds owns around the world. I actually really enjoyed this movie and was surprised by the origins of the McDonalds brand.
The Boring Stuff
The Founder is currently in all the major cinemas and it is a easy way to pass a few hours.
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