The Founder is an interesting movie from a business perspective. It features Ray Kroc, a salesman who had struggled for most of his career life. Luck would have it that he met Dick and McDonald, two brothers who were operating a burger joint in Southern California. Kroc is enthralled by the McDonald brothers and their speedy system burger operation. He then goes into a partnership with the brothers and expands the McDonald’s restaurants through franchises. Kroc later pulls the franchise from under the brother’s control, going to the extent of calling himself the McDonald’s Founder – This is where the movie gets the auspicious name. I watched the movie a couple of months back, but I haven’t been able to get it off my mind since. Here are the key lessons I picked up from the movie.
Solve an existing consumer problem
Businesses are opening up every day, yet very few get to survive the rough business world, leave alone thrive in it. Though there are different reasons for business failure, a fair share can be attributed to businesses creating a problem. Most of the successful companies started to solve an already existing problem. At the beginning of the movie, you see Kroc pulling up to various food joints, but he is frustrated by how long they take to process your order, and when they do, the order is more often wrong. When Kroc sees how the two brothers have worked around this preexisting problem, he is intrigued and pushes every play he has to partner up with them.
Kenya is one of the most paradoxical countries I know; we are referred to as the tech hub of Africa yet, there is so much business copying. Today, you see a new business, and in two weeks, you have at least half a dozen similar businesses in more or less the same location. The McDonald brothers saw the model that was being used wasn’t at all effective, thus, they aimed higher. They spent a lot of time on a pitch, with chalk, a ruler and actors, all in a bid to create a new and efficient system. If you are looking for a business that will be successful, you need to look past what everyone else is doing.
Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat
When Kroc receives six orders from one establishment, he is very curious to find out what this company is doing. He was hardly making any sales yet this mysterious group wanted more! Something was amiss, Kroc makes a trip halfway through the country just to see what is so unique about this company. He could have quickly delivered the order and forgotten about the company, but his insatiable inquisitive nature is what later lands him a fortune.
Get the right partners
This can be looked at in two aspects; first, by the McDonald brothers partnering up with Kroc, they were able to create a franchise out of a single establishment. Ray had a bigger picture, and he used that to drive McDonald’s to the next level.
Second, when Kroc starts to branch out, he first gets a fistful of rich franchise owners to run the new franchises, but he is frustrated as they do not follow his guidelines and standards. Then, he decides to ditch the wealthy franchise owners for disciplined, skilled and hardworking individuals.
Kroc makes a speech about how he has branched out to over 50 states in the U.S and branched out to five foreign countries, with another 16,000 restaurants and nine figures worth of annual revenue. He attributes it to one word; persistence! Throughout the movie, we see Kroc frustrated on one too many occasions, but not once does he give up. He soldiers on until his name is synonymous with success.