Ray Kroc & Wisdom from McDonald’s

I recently finished an interesting book and wanted to pass it along to other business owners as a suggested read. The book is titled “Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s” and it’s the autobiography of Ray Kroc, the entrepreneurial legend who brought McDonald’s to the world.


Published in 1977, seven years before Ray died, Grinding It Out is an insightful look at a true salesman and entrepreneur, in his own words.

You may not realize it, but Ray Kroc’s success with McDonald’s didn’t happen until his mid-fifties and in his own words Ray said, “I was 52 years old. I had diabetes and incipient arthritis. I had lost my gall bladder and most of my thyroid gland in earlier campaigns, but I was convinced that the best was ahead of me.”


The other thing you might not know is that Ray Kroc did not start McDonald’s, the McDonald brothers of San Bernardino, CA did.   Dick and Mac McDonald founded the first McDonald’s restaurant and when Ray discovered it, he saw gold and formed a business relationship with the two brothers. For a number of reasons, the relationship did not last long.

According to Ray, “The McDonald brothers were simply not on my wavelength at all. I was obsessed with the idea of making McDonald’s the biggest and the best. They were content with what they had; they didn’t want to be bothered with more risks and more demands.”

The rest, as they say, is history, with Ray growing McDonald’s into an international, multi-billion dollar empire.

Regardless of your opinion on the quality of McDonald’s fare, a study of Ray Kroc, his thinking process, his appreciation and insistence on developing systems and his deep concern and focus on the customer is worthy of your time. [As I read Ray’s own words, it helped spawn the idea for my next in-person workshop, Fix Your Follow-Up, to be held this June 1 and 2 in Philadelphia, PA. Click here for details.]

You can get a copy of Ray’s book on Amazon for $7.99 and I highly recommend it. At a minimum it will get you to re-evaluate how you think about your business and customers (there’s also talk of a big screen movie about Ray Kroc, starring Michael Keaton in the lead role).

As I read through the book (and then did some research afterwards), I jotted down a 12 nuggets (chicken perhaps?) from Kroc I thought you would find interesting and motivating.  Each contains a powerful business-boosting idea.

  • “Adversity can strengthen you if you have the will to grind it out.”
  • “All money means to me is a pride in accomplishment.”
  • “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.”
  • “Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.”
  • “I believe in God, family, and McDonald’s. And in the office, that order is reversed.”
  • “I didn’t invent the hamburger. I just took it more seriously than anyone else.”
  • “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
  • “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
  • “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.”
  • “It is no achievement to walk a tightrope laid flat on the floor.”
  • “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.”
  • “We’re not in the hamburger business. We’re in show business.”




About Mike Capuzzi

Mike is a publisher, Amazon # best-selling author, and coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders looking to stand out from the competition by authoring, publishing and leveraging short, helpful books. He is the author of 19 books, including two Amazon #1 Best Sellers. Learn more about his publishing opportunities at BiteSizedBooks.com.


  1. David Hunter on April 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    My mom had a sign in her Mr. Hero (a Cleveland classic) she had for 27 years that read “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” Hmm… maybe that’s where she got it from! ha

    That saying has also stuck with me to this day.

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