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This business movie; The founder reveals the story of Ray Croc who started his career as a struggling salesman and became the founder of McDonalds. This 2016 movie was written by Robert D. Siegel and directed by John Lee Hancock. Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and John Carroll Lynch were the major actors in this business movie. The major theme of this movie is how a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness can make drastic changes in the life of an ordinary person (IMDB, 2016).
“In the 1950s, Ray Kroc met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in Southern California” (Pamnani, 2017, p.1). Ray was able to identify the business potential of the speedy making of the burger by the Mac and Dick. He has purchased the small restaurant from the Mac- Dick brothers created the McDonalds, the multi-billion dollar empire. The movie; The founder teaches many important business lessons from the life of Ray Kroc. However, this paper focuses only on three concepts: curiosity, customer service, and innovation/creativity from the movie.
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The movie; The founder explains the importance of curiosity for a businessperson. In a competitive business world, it is necessary for a business savvy person to be curious all the time. It is necessary for him to concentrate on his business. At the same time, it is also necessary for him to give attention to the businesses of others to get more ideas. For example, Ray Kroc struggled to sell his milkshake machines at many restaurants. However, he got an order for 6 machines from a faraway restaurant (Pamnani, 2017). An ordinary salesperson may not bother too much to inquire about the reason for a restaurant ordering 6 machines all together while most of the other restaurants do not show any interest in that machine. However, Ray Kroc was a different salesperson and his curiosity forced him to travel a long distance to figure out the reason.
The second concept learned from the movie is the importance of customer service. As per the modern principles of business management, customer service is the most important thing necessary for business success. According to Barrington (2008), customer service is all about tracking the customer behaviors and interactions and responding positively to such behaviors and interactions. Any activities which enhance the relationship between the organization and its customers can be included in CRM activities.
Ultimately, the customers rate a company based on the service they received from the company. Since modern business world provides many options to the customers, it is possible for them to look for other options when they are dissatisfied with the service quality of a company. For example, customers do not like to wait too long for getting the food they ordered. They usually like to get the food as quickly as possible once they have placed the order. After visiting the restaurant of Mac- Dick brothers, Ray Kroc realized that the reason for the success of the above restaurant is its ability to serve the high-quality food at lightning-fast speed and low cost without sacrificing quality(Pamnani, 2017). The Mac- Dick brothers ordered six machines in order to improve their service quality. They could have used only one machine and ask the customers to wait for a while for delivering the food. However, they have given first priority to the customer satisfaction. Such a business strategy helped them to establish a strong rapport with the customers. Relationship building is accepted as the core of every business strategy at present. This is true irrespective of the size of the business like small, medium or large.
The importance of innovation or creativity is the third concept learned from the film: The founder. Many businesspeople have the habit of falling in love with one innovation. For example, Nokia was the leader in the mobile phone market until the arrival of Apple’s iPhones. They thought that Nokia’s place in the mobile phone market is unquestionable. However, Steve Jobs was able to think differently and implemented the radically innovated iPhone in the market at the beginning of 2000. The rest is history now. Nokia is struggling while Apple climbs up the ladder. After visiting the restaurant Ray Kroc was able to realize the importance of innovation and creativity in sustaining the success of a business. McDonald brothers could have satisfied with the selling of burgers. However, they have developed different types of fries and drinks along with the burgers in order to satisfy the customers. Moreover, they have concentrated more on the process lines along with the product lines. They have implemented innovative ideas in the assembly line operations and were able to speed up the food processing and delivery systems.
How did the concepts work for Ray Kroc?
The three concepts mentioned above worked perfectly for Ray Kroc which is evident from the fact that McDonalds is one of the biggest restaurant chains in the world at present. Around 1.7 million people were employed by McDonalds in its 14000 restaurants operating in different parts of the world (Reward Gateway UK, 2014). In fact a term called McDonaldization is prevailing in the world now. According to George Ritzer (2002), McDonaldization is the process of establishing domination of fast-food restaurants in more and more sectors of American as well as global societies.
Curiosity, customer service, and innovation are the pillars upon which McDonalds is established. Unlike many other restaurant chains, McDonalds is not keen on expanding the business only in the United States of America. They are closely watching what is happening around them. The curiosity to know about the things happening in the market helped them to expand their market from American continent to some of the rapidly developing continents such as the Asia and the Europe. It should be noted that India and China are the most heavily populated as well as the most rapidly emerging economies in the world at present. McDonalds has already established many restaurants in these countries and exploiting the opportunities there.
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Customer service is another area in which McDonalds concentrate more now. McDonalds has a good reputation in terms of fastest delivery of services to the customers. Moreover, the company is keen on selling its products at affordable rates. Above all, the company has a well-developed customer relationship management team in order to strengthen its relations with the customers. It is possible for customers all over the world to communicate with the company and register their complaints or record their feedbacks about the services of the company.
According to Kruse (2013), leadership can be defined as the ability to influence others with the help of one’s actions and behavior. In his opinion, leadership involves many things such as influencing others, motivating them, empowering them and encouraging innovation and creativity. In the case of Ray Kroc, all the above-mentioned elements of leadership are applicable. Ray Kroc was able to implement many innovative ideas in his business and that is why McDonalds became the leader in the restaurant industry at present. He has implemented many innovative strategies in the development of product, processes and the prices. For example, McDonalds has no problems in allowing employee participation in the decision-making process (Kular et al. 2008). Perhaps McDonalds is the first major restaurant company which allowed employees to participate in the decision-making process. Such innovative strategies helped the company to know the needs of the employees and the customers very well and take necessary actions for catering such needs.
Business success depends on many things such as curiosity, customer servicing, and innovation ability. Curiosity helped Ray Kroc to learn many lessons from the business strategies of McDonald brothers. Even though he was an ordinary salesman initially, curiosity forced him to travel a long distance to learn more about why a particular restaurant is ordering more machines from him while other restaurants show no interest. He has realized the importance of customer servicing and innovation after visiting the restaurants of McDonald brothers. Today, McDonalds became the leader in the restaurant industry mainly because of the lessons learned by Ray Kroc from the small restaurant of the McDonald brothers.
- Barrington, R. 2008. Hard Lessons from CRM Experience: Six Mistakes to Avoid.
- IMDB (2016). The founder.
- Kruse, K. (2013). What Is Leadership?
- Pamnani, H. (2017). #10 Business Lessons from Movie ‘The Founder.‘
- Ritzer, G. (2002). An Introduction of McDonaldization.
- Reward Gateway UK (2014). Case Study: Employee Engagement at McDonald’s.