The Founder: Ray Kroc or Dick & Mac McDonald?

When Joan Smith asked Ray Kroc in words something to the effect ‘When did you start McDonald’s’, there was just a small flicker in his eyes before he answered ‘1954’. That flicker indicated the moment in the film, The Founder, when Kroc (Michael Keaton) lied about the beginnings of the famous fast food chain McDonald’s. Kroc was not the ‘founder’. The developer, yes, but not the founder. That title in fact belonged to brothers Dick and Mac McDonald who came up with the concept many years earlier.

The Founder Poster HR

Michael Keaton plays ‘Kroc’ in The Founder. Image: supplied.

Kroc had been a struggling but optimistic salesman who met the brothers when he sold them milkshake machines. He had been so impressed with their flagship store in California that he persuaded them to go into business with him and roll out more franchise stores like theirs across the USA. But the McDonalds’ conservative stranglehold on progress frustrated Kroc’s ambitions and Kroc managed to override the brothers, buy them out and take the chain to global reach.

That flicker moment also pretty much indicated when Kroc, in The Founder, stepped over the integrity boundary in his personal and business life. As his personal life went south so did his business ethics, and Kroc’s wife, and the McDonald brothers received a raw deal. Kroc is not painted in the film as an all-out baddy, however. His tenacity, business sense, and focus are shown in a way that make you admire him. And the balance between his business success and some unfair (though not technically illegal) dealings is this this film’s strength.

The Founder does not come across as a typical Hollywood ra-ra-America film. I enjoyed the story about how Dick and Mac came up with their simple menu and scientifically developed service offering. How Kroc, with the help of lawyer, Harry Sonnenborn (B J Novak), turned the focus from purchasing franchise stores to purchasing real estate, and how the McDonalds’ focus on marketing to the family was changed by Kroc to marketing that appealed to people’s religious-type passions.

The Founder opens at cinemas in South Africa today 19 May 2017.

How to be Unstoppable

And achieve more in business and life                                                                                                                                                                                                                       By Cindy Norcott

A review by Brenda Daniels

Cindy Norcott is a business entrepreneur who owns and runs the recruitment agency, Pro Appointments in Durban, South Africa. In How to be Unstoppable, she shares what she has learnt during her 20 years in business.

She does this using an accessible and flowing style, sharing aspects of her own business journey in a professional and not-too-personal manner. Cindy is a driven, hardworking, goal-orientated businesswoman. How to be Unstoppable is, in fact, a result of enacting one of her long-held goals to write a book. She likewise encourages readers to take action, to just get started, and to simply move in a direction in order to be motivated, rather than waiting for motivation before taking action.

Once on the move Cindy’s tips for getting ahead in your business are practical and helpful. Standouts for me include the sections on branding, marketing and customer service. These particular chapters are very specific, describing a detailed annual marketing plan, for instance, and explaining why an operations manual containing every single procedure in your company is essential. A whole series of questions to ask yourself is situated at the back of the book. These questions are ones I’ve never thought of before and are useful in establishing a direction.

Practical aspects aside, How to be Unstoppable is largely an inspiring read.   After reading this book I have been left admiring Cindy for her emphasis on integrity, genuinely caring for customers, displaying humility and having a positive attitude.

Cindy is much more than just a professional, unstoppable successful business woman, she finishes the book with a chapter on her established charity, the Robin Hood Foundation, and important aspect of her life. I close with a quote from Cindy which describes her well: “Don’t die with your goodness still inside you.”

How to be Unstoppable retails at R120. Contact to order.


Cindy Norcott's practical but inspirational book with advice about being a business person

Cindy Norcott’s practical but inspirational book with advice about being a business person