We all know that Ray Kroc founded the McDonald's franchise back in the 1950s, and it then became the most successful business enterprise in history.
But not many know how this entrepreneurial success story came to be.
Ray Kroc was not a chef or a restaurateur.
He did not have an M.B.A. He never even went to college.
For 30 years he held a variety of jobs, from paper cup salesman, to musician, to radio disc jockey. He worked in a restaurant. Then he became a travelling salesman, selling milkshake machines.
And that's when everything changed for Ray Kroc--and for the world--at the age of 52.
"The two most important requirements for major success are, first, being in the right place at the right time and, second, doing something about it."
So said Ray Kroc.
And in 1954 he was in the right place at the right time, and he did something about it.
Kroc heard about a hamburger stand in California that had eight of his milkshake machines in constant operation, making 40 shakes simultaneously. This level of productivity was most unusual, so he went to check it out.
He sat in his car outside the McDonalds' hamburger restaurant, watching the customers lined up for their food.
In a revealing moment, Kroc approached a strawberry blonde in a yellow convertible. "It was not her sex appeal," he would later say, "but the obvious relish with which she devoured the hamburger that made my pulse begin to hammer with excitement."
Made his pulse hammer with excitement? A woman eating a hamburger? Are you kidding me?
That was the beginning of the passion.
Then came the french fry. It was the french fry that captured his heart.
"The french fry would become almost sacrosanct for me, its preparation a ritual to be followed almost religiously," he wrote.
Kroc's process for preparing french fries was specific and meticulous. As were the requirements he placed on his potato suppliers. He even went so far as to send out teams of workers, armed with hydrometers, to make sure the potatoes he purchased had the correct water content.
Why in the world would he go to all this trouble? Nobody else was doing it.
It was, of course, to make sure that every McDonald's customer got perfect french fries, every time they came.
Passion and preparation.
Ray Kroc called his first McDonald's restaurant, which he opened in Illinois, "a little money machine." That's why thousands of franchisees bought it.
And the reason it worked?
Kroc demanded consistency, achieved through adherence to the systems he designed to produce predictable, reliable results. Every time.
Ray Kroc understood, as I do, as you should, that the system is the solution.
And it all started with a milkshake machine, a strawberry blonde, and a french fry.
Where will your entrepreneurial inspiration come from?