For anyone thinking that they may be too old or past it in business, The Founder will make you realize that if you have the vision and the willpower, anything is possible.
Just ask Ray Kroc, who In 1954, was a milkshake machine salesman in his 50’s selling his stock out of car, pitching to several fast food restaurants, normally to no avail. However, while one project was failing, Kroc would stumble upon something even better when he went for lunch one day at a small burger joint in San Bernardino, California. That burger joint was a small family run restaurant called McDonald’s.
By the time Kroc passed away in 1984, he had taken that same restaurant worldwide and turned it into one of the recognizable brands on the globe, which now grosses over $20billion a year. So how did he do it? Well, Kroc (Michael Keaton) found himself encountering many fast food restaurants during his pitches which simply couldn’t deliver the adequate service to give their customers a satisfactory experience.
That was until he went to McDonald’s for lunch, and was stunned by the speed and convenience this small establishment offered at a time when drive thru and deliveries were a pipe dream. Blown away by the way McDonald’s had customers served and fed in such a fast and practical manner, Kroc realized he had found a gap in the market.
Taking on a deal with the McDonald’s brothers, he ran a successful new restaurant. But his attempts at making changes, which included the addition of powdered milkshake, were usually met with skepticism and outright refusal by the McDonald’s brothers. But like many strong businessmen with a vision, Kroc was not going to sit and wait for them to eventually relent.
It’s at this point we see Kroc’s ruthless side that makes us all question his morals, as a meeting with Harry Sonneborn helps Ray realize the real business is not the burgers, the fries, or in fact anything on the menu; it’s the real estate in franchising the restaurant to different locations. Seeing the opportunity to take his vision of McDonald’s to the next level, he didn’t wait around.
Kroc expands the restaurant to numerous locations by opening his own real estate business under the McDonald’s umbrella against the founding brothers wishes, in the process putting his marriage at risk and enduring issues with his mortgage. Despite his questionable tactics, his new venture is so successful that he is able to buy the brothers out of their business for $2.7m ($26m in 2020) and as a result, officially became The Founder of the biggest fast food corporation in the world today.