Fast Food Nation

The three french fry giants compete for valuable

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Unformatted text preview: stomers, restaurant owners who’d recognize the tremendous labor-saving benefits of his frozen fries. “The french fry [was]… almost sacrosanct for me,” Ray Kroc wrote in his memoir, “its preparation a ritual to be followed religiously.” The success of Richard and Mac McDonald’s hamburger stand had been based as much on the quality of their fries as on the taste of their burgers. The McDonald brothers had devised an elaborate system for making crisp french fries, one that was later improved by the restaurant chain. McDonald’s cooked thinly sliced Russet Burbanks in special fryers to keep the oil temperature above 325 degrees. As the chain expanded, it became more difficult — and yet all the more important — to maintain the consistency and quality of the fries. J. R. Simplot met with Ray Kroc in 1965. The idea of switching to frozen french fries appealed to Kroc, as a means of ensuring uniformity and cutting labor costs. McDonald’s obtained its fresh potatoes from about 175 different local suppliers, and crew members spent a great deal of time peelin...
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