We’ve all eaten at McDonald’s at least once in our life. They are the number one fast food company serving around 68 million customers daily in 120 countries across approximately 36,900 outlets. They are not just a restaurant anymore, they are an institution. So how did it all start?

How did McDonald’s take over the world?

It is 1954, Ray Kroc is a failed travelling salesman. His latest find: the multi milkshake maker. From one restaurant to the next, he tries to sell this innovation without success. He has enough savings though. He could stop, settle down and live peacefully with his beautiful wife. But it is not his style. Ray Kroc never has enough. Only one word drives him: persistence.

One day, he learns of a successful place in San Bernardino, California. Following his gut instinct, he jumps in his car and drives across country to see it. He finds McDonald’s. A crazy revolutionizing fast service, friendly and high quality restaurant. Dick and Mac McDonald are the founders. After many failed attempts and trials they made it work. It is the best of the best and it attracts a lot of people but they don’t want to franchise it. It would mean loosing control of the quality. If their name is associated with something that is less than perfect they don’t care for it. McDonald’s is not about profit.

Ray still manages to convince them, thanks to an ironclad contract. What happens next is absolutely unbelievable.

How watching the Founder put me off eating at McDonald’s.

I like movies that are based on true events like Into the wild, Hotel Rwanda, The Imitation game or Twelve years a slave. I find them fascinating so when I heard that they were filming and recreating the birth of McDonald’s restaurants I had to see it. After all, there are no bigger success stories. I was very disappointed. It is not the movie itself that brought me down but the actual McDonald’s adventure.

Contracts are like hearts. They’re made to be broken – Ray Kroc

The founder is a great movie. The actors chosen and more specifically Micheal Keaton are perfect for the job. The screenplay is also amazing because it encompasses all the gritty details. Overall it is a very engrossing tale.

The fast food chain, on the other hand, was born of betrayal, lies and greed and it brings you back to reality. I’ve been told it is simply business. I guess that why I lend books for free for a living.

If you want to know how it all started, you can borrow the movie at your local Cockburn library.