The Founder

When I first heard about The Founder movie I was so excited to see it. It was initially delayed and then it finally came out this year. To my excitement I went to go see it and was very, very surprised…

The film is about the story of McDonalds and centres around Ray Kroc. The film was fantastic, it’s way up there, as good movies go (in the biographical sense) and without spoiling it for others, this film must be seen, definitely.

But the film left me with a bitter taste, right in the end.

You see, if it is true that he cheated the McDonald brothers – by not paying them royalties after he bought them out, then this begs further questioning.

As the story goes, he eventually buys the McDonald brothers out for $ 2,7 million (thats 1961 dollars) and as part of the deal they ask him for a 1% royalty as part of the sale. To this he agrees with, but argues that it cannot be written in the contract, in agreeing, they could all “shake on it”.

Ray Kroc, never paid one penny of the royalties due to the McDonald brothers.

How does one make sense of this?

Is it that the man is “authentic” by being true to his nature? Perhaps is it because he is persistent, sales mannish, cunning, yet crafty… that even after overcoming all his obstacles, he keeps trying. But in “honouring” this 1% royalty deal with his “word”, he never does… and so, my friends, that is what it takes to be successful?

Or is it during the beginning when he was trying to work with the McDonald brothers, that they could not move as fast as he wanted to go. The brothers could not see his vision, nor did they “approve” all his ideas. Furthermore when Kroc tried to renegotiate their initial deal of 1.9% – they refused. So in the end, is it Karma or revenge for those earlier days?

For me, it’s important to have trust because trust is an efficiency function, if we do not have it – we doubt everything. The result is that we are less efficient as humans (we have to go through legal means; contracts, verification, etc, etc). I’m not saying we should trust blindly, rather as the Russians would say “trust, but verify”.

An analogy would be, you’re climbing a mountain and put your hand on each rock to climb or you enter a cave, but you see the rock that you put your hand on could move, so to verify – you first test the rock a bit. Similarly with the cave, you get your torch out and if there is a bear inside, you can always choose to exit. But if you lack trust… you loose faith in even attempting to climb the mountain.

In the domain of trust, lies concepts like honour, truth and integrity. These all shape ones reputation. In NOT honouring agreements (verbal or otherwise) we tarnish our reputation.

Back to Kroc, I still believe he should have honoured the royalty deal, but my mind wonders…

What do you think? I really would like to hear from you.


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