McDonald’s gets a lot of grief. People advocating for raising the minimum wage refer to “McJobs.” Whenever people talk about obesity, meals at McDonald’s are always mentioned. Even groups like PETA target McDonald’s because of their use of beef and chicken, not that every other restaurant doesn’t do so as well.
Looking at it another way, however, and everything changes. McDonald’s has provided critical first jobs to millions of people and given thenm training in the basic skills – appearance, customer service, reliability – needed to be successful at other, higher paying jobs. They even pioneered the use of keypads with items pictured and automation of meal pricing when it was found that job applicants were unable to read or do basic math, amking it possible for them to work and contribute. They were one of the first restaurants to offer salads, apple slices, yogurt sundaes, and other healthy choices. Certainly the invention of upsizing has contributed to obesity, but one can get a perfectly healthy meal at McDonald’s if one tries.
One of the biggest ways that McDonald’s has contributed, however, is right there on their marquees. It started out with “100 Million Served,” the “Over 1 Billion Served,” then “Over 20 Billion Served.” Finally some restaurants stopped counting and just said “Billions and Billions Served.”
Sure, at first you may think they are just talking about serving hamburgers, but soon you realize they are really serving people. Those billions and billions include millions of soccer teams after a big game. It includes billions of mothers grabbing a lunch with friends while their children play in the play structures. It is billions of travellers who needed a place to eat at 10 PM when they got in late and everything else was closed. Billions of kids and dads who stopped in for a sundae or an ice cream cone. Billions of college students who needed a place to eat in the middle of a big city or tourist town where everything else was $15 for lunch. (I’ve eaten at the MdDonald’s off Market Street in San Francisco many times.)
Sure, Ray Kroc, the visionary who took McDonald’s from a small hamburger stand to the worldwide franchise you see today, was surely enormously wealthy. But he and others like him aren’t evil people who took advantage of employees and customers to amass their wealth as some blogs and college professors would have you believe. He did it by serving people. Providing what they needed when they needed it, and providing it for a fair price that was less than the value of what he provided. That is how you become successful.
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