Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ray Kroc - The brain behind the franchising of McDonald's and making it the biggest name in the Fast-Food Industry.

Ray Kroc was born on October 5, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois. He attended public schools in Oak Park, Illinois. He left school to serve as an ambulance driver during the First World War. After the war, Kroc tried his hand on being a paper-cup salesman. He became a jazz pianist and started playing in various orchestras. He worked in the Chicago radio station for a while as a music director, after which he became a milkshake machine salesman. The milkshake machine was his own invention. In 1941, he chose to serve as a distributor of the milkshake machine.

During the real estate boom in Florida, he began selling real estate. However, he had to retire to his pianist occupation, after the real estate market in Florida went down in 1926. By now, he was a father of one child. During the economic crisis, he had to send his family back to Chicago. He, eventually, started working as a paper-cup salesman again.

Ray Kroc once said "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"

In 1954, that is exactly where Kroc found himself. After years of struggle, kroc had finally stumbled upon what he saw as the next big thing in America.

In 1954, Ray Kroc came to know about the drive-in restaurant run by Richard and Maurice McDonald, located in San Bernardino, California. He learned that they used his multi-mixer machines and were making good money out of selling hamburgers, milkshakes and french fries. He was struck with an idea of starting a franchise in collaboration with the McDonald brothers. He approached the McDonald brothers with a proposal that he would use their name and standards and start a chain of McDonald's restaurants. According to the deal, would be getting one-half of the gross income of their business. The McDonald brothers agreed to his proposal and Kroc opened the first chain of McDonald's restaurants on April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois

Kroc became the owner of McDonald's

Six years later, Kroc would buy out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million, but more importantly he would gain complete control over the business. “The McDonald bothers were simply not on my wavelength at all” said Kroc. “ 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.”

Rapid Expansion

In 1965, McDonald’s went public; 300000 shares were initially sold at $22.50 each, later jumping to $49. Kroc had made $3 million on the sale. But, Kroc wanted more and embarked on an ambitious campaign for foreign markets. First, the U.K., then Europe, kroc began to erect Golden Arches in almost every continent.

In 1974, Kroc stepped down as CEO of the company he single-handedly grew into a global empire, but remained on as Senior Chairman of Mcdonald’s Corporation. He died of heart failure in 1984 at the age of 81.
In one of the greatest success stories of our time, Kroc took a small but successful California based hamburger restaurant and expanded it into what is today a worldwide chain with almost 500000 employees and $20 billion in revenue.

Despite of all his hard work, kroc was not always a lucky man. From his early days in starting up McDonald’s to even after the chain was a well established global presence, Kroc experienced his fair share of failures. He was not immune to disappointment; what set Kroc apart from his competitors, however, was how he learned from his failures and bounced back.

“If you are not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business” – Ray Kroc

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ralph Lauren - Founder of "Polo Ralph Lauren"

Ralph Lauren
Here is the success story of a young man born with nothing who ends up at the head of an empire worth 4.2 billion dollars. The little embroidered polo player logo has become an external sign of wealth, seen on Wall Street and in Harlem, put there by the will of this self-made man.

Ralph Lipchitz(Lauren) was born in 1939 in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Belarus. His father was a building painter and his family struggled to make ends meet. Nevertheless, the young Lipchitz quickly developed a taste for luxury clothes and he as a teenager started working to buy himself expensive suits. He began dreaming of a glorious future. At the age of 16, Ralph Lipchitz changed his name to Ralph Lauren, although some say that he was denying his Jewish heritage, Ralph considered it necessary for success.

Ralph Lauren went to the City College of New York studying business, but dropped out after two years. After a stint in the Army he landed a job as a gloves salesman at Brooks Brothers. It was for them that he created the "Polo" label, but then he quickly decided to go into business for himself.

In 1967, Ralph took out a loan of $50,000 to buy back the name Polo and developed a line of neckties under the name Polo Fashion. His ties made a tiny revolution: they were different in fabric, width, and color and became the indispensable accessory for men looking for an up-to-date elegance. As Lauren explained, "At the time, men expressed themselves through their ties... a beautiful tie made it possible to simultaneously express quality, taste, and style."

In 1969, Polo by Ralph Lauren was the first men's label to be sold in the New York temple of luxury, Bloomingdale's. Encouraged by this success, Lauren decided in 1971 to launch a women's line in order to offer his wife the wardrobe that she wanted. That same year, the famous polo player logo appeared on the wristbands of shirts and the first Ralph Lauren boutique opened its doors in the luxury neighborhood, Beverly Hills.
The label took on another dimension, however, the following year with the launch of the polo shirts that today have become legendary, the key piece of the company, and a veritable timeless must-have. Ralph Lauren was in the process of becoming one of the most important lifestyle brands of the late 20th century.

The brand gradually began to export and boutiques flourished around the planet, the first of which was on Bond Street in London. New lines were also launched, like Ralph Lauren Home in 1983 and Polo Sport in 1993. Fashion became nothing more than one element among many in the giant Ralph Lauren company, which entered the stock market in 1997.

This enormous machine now generates millions of dollars and is gradually monopolizing an entire lifestyle. In 1993, Polo Sport became the official tailor of the America's Cup team and in 2005, the same for the US Open. To top it off, the designer was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the CFDA in 1992, followed by four other prizes.

In light of this history, Ralph Lauren's quote becomes clear: "We don't just sell clothes. We sell a dream and a vision of existence."

Ralph never attended fashion school, which didn’t hurt him any. He’s now worth $4.2 billion and that’s a lot of neckties.
Another Interesting aspect of Lauren's lifestyle:

Not many people know that Lauren also has a car collection to rival the likes of an Arab Sheikh. The native New Yorker is an avid car nut like many of us, only he has the means to afford most of the cars that we can only lust for.
Together with the Discovery Channel, Lauren has now opened the doors of his private collection to the public for a new documentary called Speed, Style and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection

Some of the more notable vehicles in the collection include a Bugatti Veyron, an ultra-rare McLaren F1LM (one out of only five cars), one of the first supercharged Bentley's ever created and two Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas.

A Video of Ralph Lauren's Car Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.