Well-known throughout the world, the McDonalds we know today got its start in the form of a hot dog stand and has come a long ways over the years.

Unbeknownst by many, McDonalds was actually a product of three people: Ray Krock, Dick McDonald, and Mac McDonald.

Ray Krock was born to be an entrepreneur and spent most of his life dreaming up new selling schemes and attempting to find the right business. Before McDonalds, Krock worked at a lemonade stand, in a grocery store, at a soda fountain and in the paper cup selling business. Working at the soda fountain, Ray discovered the multi mixer, a milkshake mixer, and became the multi mixer’s exclusive dealer. As the multi mixer’s popularity began to decline, he noticed that there was one company that was buying an increasing number of machines-McDonalds.

The McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, started their business by opening up a hot dog stand. It was enormously successful, so they moved their business into a large drive in restaurant and named it McDonalds. Like most drive in restaurants, McDonalds had carhops. However, Dick and Mac realized that in order to increase income they must increase sales, resulting in a ‘fast food’ system which eventually resulted in the elimination of the carhops. The McDonald brothers increased sales by 40% in two years by switching to an assembly line kitchen, decreasing the size of their menu and designing bigger grills and dispensers to speed the cooking process.

Noticing McDonald’s enormous success, Ray wanted to begin franchising. He worked closely with the McDonalds brothers, although they often had conflicting opinions, and eventually opened up his own location. Ray found new locations by flying over communities looking for churches because he believed that ‘good American families’ were more likely to be potential customers. He developed a 75 page manual and opened a training center (Hamburger University) to guarantee that every franchise had equal success. Eventually, Ray bought out the McDonalds brothers for $1 over $2 million, but an oversight in the contract kept Ray from owning the original McDonalds store. Unable to convince the McDonalds brother’s to sell the franchise completely, Ray cleverly put the McDonalds brothers out of business permanently by buying their formula for 2.5 million dollars which forced them to rename their one and only store.

Eventually, Ray realized that the franchise owners might be the best at determining what products McDonalds should market. In fact, the individual franchise owners actually invented many of McDonald’s most successful entrées, such as the Big Mac and the McMuffin.

After suffering a series of serious strokes, Ray died of heart failure at age 81.

McDonalds continues to be a leading force in the fast food industry today with over 30,000 restaurants in more than 119 different countries.