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mcdonalds - McDonald's Planning to Win In 1955 Ray Kroc a...

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McDonald's: Planning to Win In 1955, Ray Kroc, a 52-year-old salesman of milk-shake-mixing machines, discovered a string of seven restaurants owned by Richard and Maurice McDonald. Kroc saw the McDonald brothers' fast-food concept as a perfect fit for America's increasingly on-the-go, time-squeezed, family-oriented lifestyles. Kroc bought the small chain for $2.7 million and the rest is history. McDonald's grew quickly to become the world's largest fast-feeder. Its more than 31,000 restaurants worldwide now serve 52 million customers each day, racking up systemwide sales of almost $60 billion annually. The Golden Arches are one of the world's most familiar symbols, and other than Santa Claus, no character in the world is more recognizable than Ronald McDonald. "By making fast food respectable for middle-class families," says one industry analyst, "the Golden Arches did for greasy spoons what Holiday Inn did for roadside motels in the 1950s and what Sam Walton later did for the discount retail store." Says another, "McDonald's is much more than an ordinary fast-food chain. It is a cultural mirror [that] reflects the evolution of American eating habits." But just as the changing marketplace has provided opportunities for McDonald's, it has also presented challenges. In fact, by early in this decade, the once-shiny Golden Arches had lost some of their luster, as the company struggled to address shifting consumer lifestyles. While McDonald's remained the nation's most visited fast-food chain, its sales growth slumped, and its market share fell by more than 3 percent between 1997 and 2003. In 2002, the company posted its first-ever quarterly loss.
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