“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton, General U. S. Army

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Mark Twain

"The ancestor of every action is thought."


"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."


"When you are not told what to do you begin to think what to do."

Roger Cohen, Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."


"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

"You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think."

Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course

"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?"

Winnie the Pooh

"Time to think matters ─ at least if we’re interested in getting the answers right."

Stephen L. Carter

"Thinking is always out of order, interrupts all ordinary activities and is interrupted by them."

Hannah Arendt, Life of the Mind

"Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

John F. Kennedy

"The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds."

Will Durant

"Thinking is like living and dying. Each of us must do it for himself."

Josiah Royce

"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory."

G. Behn

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Albert Einstein

"Pursuing our thoughts in silent contemplation takes an investment in time that few can spare."

Stephen L. Carter

"A moment’s thinking is an hour in words."

Thomas Hood

"Sometimes I think and other times I am."

Paul, Variete: Cantiques spirituels 192

"To think is to differ."


"To think is to live."


"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

William Jones

"What we think, we become."


"Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."


"The person who thinks before he speaks is silent most of the time."


"Think ─ and you will be very lonely."


"Thought is action in rehearsal."


"We live in a world that leaves very little time to contemplate."


"Don’t worry too much about what people think because they seldom do."


"Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest."


"One cannot think crooked and walk straight."


"Think Differently + Do Things Differently = Better Results"


February 14, 2017

Lessons from the McDonald’s Story

Tags: Business, Promotion, Branding,

If you’re a fan of Struggling-Sweaty-Salesmen-Make-Good movies, or curious about people who can recognize and capitalize on unique opportunities, you won’t want to miss The Founder. It stars Michael Keaton in a biographical drama about Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame that will have you cheering and jeering for two entertaining hours.

The Founder was the title Kroc had printed under his name on his business cards.

Those two words spiked the blood pressure of original McDonald’s restaurant founders – brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald – who spent most of the movie seething on the other end of a telephone line as their franchise partner Ray badgered them with relentless innovation ideas. They continually resisted in defense of quality and integrity.

These two nice guys hesitated and finished last with only a few million bucks in their pockets (as opposed to Kroc’s $500 million wad).

It will break your heart to see the brothers’ revolutionary restaurant concept hijacked by a Type “A” personality who is continually on the hunt for new ideas, processes, and business models. Ambition and vision win the day, but there are casualties along the way. And a lot of lessons learned.

Here are some of my takeaways:

Follow your instincts. If something you see or hear stops you in your tracks and appears to be something you’ve never seen or heard before, pay attention. In Kroc’s case, it was his first visit to the McDonald’s restaurant operation in San Bernadino, California. Fast service. Family atmosphere. Delicious burgers. No plates or utensils, just paper bags and wraps.

Guard your intellectual property. Much as I loved the McDonald brothers, they gave away the store. They freely shared all their secrets, innovations, branding and growth strategies with Kroc and he took the burger and ran.

Hire hungry people. Kroc’s first investors were his country club friends. They were basically parking their money and didn’t really care about the consistency of the brand. He moved on to hardworking door-to-door salesmen, church and synagogue groups, service club members...and their wives...and built a franchise system of strong, well-trained, invested managers who made more money for their families than they ever dreamed possible.

Protect your brand. Your company name should stand for something. Kroc revered the “McDonald’s” name. To him, it embodied everything that was good and right about America. He built his brand around that vision and his franchisees and customers bought into it. He delivered on the promise.

Never stop innovating: Powdered milkshakes to save on freezer energy costs. Limited menu selections to ensure consistent quality. Unique processes to speed up service. Hiring instincts and training at odds with convention. Kroc was a visionary. An entrepreneur with little patience for the status quo.

Know what business you’re really in: It took a lawyer to enlighten Kroc that he was in the real estate business, not food service. Own the land that the restaurants sit on and start raking in the cash from day one. He did just that and it fueled the financing he needed to grow the business globally.

Get it in writing: When Kroc finally renegotiated his deal with the McDonald brothers, giving him full control, instead of signing a contract awarding them their demand of 1% of annual profits, he convinced the exhausted siblings to “shake on it.” They did and never received another penny (royalties estimated at $100 million/year).

Persevere. Your day is coming. But only if you hang in, keep your eyes open, accept advice, and aren’t afraid to take risks or fail.

Play fair. The McDonald brothers did and they lost financially but they never compromised their integrity.

Sometimes when you lose, you win.

Anita Alvare (bio)/Alvare Associates/610-520-6140
McDonald’s   Ray Kroc   Richard and Maurice McDonald

Since establishing Alvaré in 1981, Anita has guided the agency through 37 years of steady growth and success. A marketing communications entrepreneur who has done it all, she remains deeply involved in strategic planning and creative direction, bringing extensive knowledge and insight to each client project.


Blog Post Archive

RSS Feed

Sign up for RSS feeds from Alvaré to stay up to date with the latest from our agency and what we have been thinking about.

Leave a Comment (All Fields Required)

Your comments will be submitted and posted upon approval. We reserve the right not to post any comments or content that we do not feel contributes to the positive discourse of our site.