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McDonald’s: Behind The Arches
– John F. Love

McDonald’s is the story of an American business success, a company that proved the value of hard work, ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instincts. In McDonald’s: Behind the Arches, business writer John F. Love tells the astonishing story of the people and the strategies, the innovation and the brilliance that turned a single hamburger stand into a multibillion-dollar corporation that has

influenced the very culture of America – and now the world.

– The trendsetting advertising campaigns and revolutionary marketing focus that have translated into huge profits
– The ambitious and astoundingly successful expansion into untapped foreign markets including Russia, China, Eastern Europe, and the Far East
– The creation of McJobs, a program that employs both mentally challenged adults and senior citizens
– The emphasis on environmentally sound paper packaging and new health-conscious products that reflect changing lifestyles
– The exciting promotional tie-ins with major motion pictures and sport franchises
– The ongoing tradition of individual entrepreneurship that created McD.L.T., Egg McMuffin, Big Mac, and Ronald McDonald – all invented by individual franchisees
– And much more

This remarkable book offers an irresistable look inside one of the great American business success stories of the century. [From: Goodreads.com]

McDonald’s: it is the world’s premier entrepreneurial success story, a company whose growth worldwide continues to be astonishing. In tough financial times, McDonald’s proved that ingenuity, trial and error, and gut instinct were the keys to building a service business the entire world has come to admire. In the years since McDonald’s: Behind The Arches was first published, McDonald’s has been a trendsetter in advertising, focusing on different ethnic groups as well as the physically disabled. McDonald’s created McJobs, a program that employs both mentally challenged adults and senior citizens. And because its franchisees have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace, McDonald’s has evolved successfully with the health food revolution, launching dozens of new products and moving toward environmentally-safe packaging and recyclable goods. Inspiring, informative, and filled with behind the scenes stories, this remarkable saga offers an irresistible look inside a great American business success. [From: Amazon.com]

Behind the Arches is a history of McDonald’s from its pre-history and inception up to the mid-90s when the book is published. As the author notes in the forward, many people know the outer face of McDonald’s, which is carefully managed. However, very few people understand how it works, not only in terms of its corporate management, but in food production, product development, franchiser-franchisee relations, and so on.

When people ask about McDonald’s workings, the corporation usually points to Ray A. Kroc, its legendary founder. However, the book shows that while Ray Kroc was a crucial figure and a brilliant manager and salesman, many other people contributed to the growth and success of McDonald’s in important ways. The author covers these figures in great detail; from the original McDonald’s founders, Dick and Mac McDonald, to McDonald’s first major financier, Harry Sonneborn, to Kroc’s successor, Fred Turner, a surprisingly diverse and interesting cast of characters fills the book.

McDonald’s is the second most recognized brand in the world, but few truly understand how extraordinary its accomplishments are. Over 96% of Americans ate at McDonald’s in 1995; in the same year, it had 14,000 restaurants and served over 100 billion hamburgers. It is one of the largest employers in the United States, with half-a-million workers and is the country’s largest producer and consumer of beef. It even claims 5% of the United States’ yearly potato crop.
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Most will recognize that McDonald’s has incredible economic power within the fast-food industry, but few realize that it has the same massive impact in nonfood industries as well. McDonald’s makes an enormous amount of money from real estate by leasing the land on which their restaurants are built and then sub-leasing the land again to their franchisees with mark-up. It has revolutionized food processing in the United States and across the world. Its product development team is among the more sophisticated research teams in any food-oriented corporation.

McDonald’s character is least understood, however. Ray Kroc was not only a great entrepreneur, he instilled McDonald’s corporate culture with a sense of pride, fierce loyalty, fastidiousness, ferocious competitive spirit and an appreciation for cooperation and trial-and-error methods of discovery. He set up McDonald’s on a decentralized franchising model, wherein McDonald’s allowed franchisees a wide berth of freedom to experiment with their restaurants as they saw fit. McDonald’s has often conflicted with their franchisees but by and large treat them well and listen to their ideas for making the corporation better. Kroc made McDonald’s a success because he gave his franchisees an incentive to innovate. The same holds for McDonald’s suppliers, which are decentralized businesses in themselves.

Behind the Arches is a long book full of in-depth analysis of every aspect of the McDonald’s corporation. It has a foreword and epilogue and seventeen sizable chapters in between. It runs largely in chronological order, with some chapters using a historical orientation and others focusing on particular aspects of production within McDonald’s superstructure. The writing is structured as a narrative and the author is clearly writing an apology for the corporation. However, it forms a powerful case for admiring one of the United States’ and world’s most successful (and often most reviled) corporations. [From: Bookrags.com]

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