At first, Mister Kroc saw only the possibility for increasing the sales of his mixers(搅拌器) to more restaurants. Then he proposed an agreement with the McDonald brothers to start a number of restaurants. Under the agreement, the McDonald brothers would get a percentage of all sales. (来源：英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
The first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955. Ray Kroc was 52 years old — an age when many people start thinking about retirement. He opened two restaurants. Soon he began to understand that the real profits were made in selling hamburgers, not the mixers. He quickly sold the mixer company and invested the money in the growing chain of McDonald’s restaurants.
In 1960, Mister Kroc bought the legal rights to the restaurants from the McDonald brothers. By then, the chain had more than two hundred restaurants.
Fast food restaurants spread quickly in the United States because of franchising(特许权). Franchising means selling the legal right to operate a store in a company’s chain to an independent business person. If the company approves, the business person may buy or lease the store for a period of years.
Many people want to own a McDonald’s restaurant, but only a few are approved. Each restaurant buys its supplies at a low cost from the parent company. Each restaurant also gives the company about ten percent of the money it earns in sales. Today, about seventy percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent businessmen and women.
Ray Kroc was good at identifying what the public wanted. He knew that many American families wanted to eat in a restaurant sometimes. He gave people a simple eating place with popular food, low prices, friendly service and no waiting. And all McDonald’s restaurants sold the same food in every restaurant across the country.
Ray Kroc established rules for how McDonald’s restaurants were to operate. He demanded that every restaurant offer “quality, service and cleanliness.” People lucky enough to get a franchise must complete a program at a training center called Hamburger University. They learn how to cook and serve the food, and how to keep the building clean. More than sixty-five thousand people have completed this training.
McDonald’s began to expand around the world in 1967. Ray Kroc’s business ability made McDonald’s the largest restaurant company in the world. There are now more than thirty thousand McDonald’s restaurants on six continents.
The company operates in about 120 countries. Every day, McDonald’s restaurants around the world serve about fifty million people.
In later years, Ray Kroc established the Kroc Foundation, a private organization that gives money to help others. He also established a number of centers that offer support to families of children who have cancer. They are called Ronald McDonald houses.
Many people praised Ray Kroc for his company’s success and good works. But other people sharply criticized him for the way McDonald’s treated young employees. Many of the workers were paid the lowest wage permitted by American law. Health experts still criticize McDonald’s food for containing too much fat and salt.
In the 1970s, Ray Kroc turned his energy from hamburgers to sports. He bought a professional baseball team in California, the San Diego Padres. He died in 1984. He was 81 years old.
That first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, was torn down. It was replaced by a store and visitors center that attempts to copy what was in the original building. Another museum in nearby Oak Park describes the life of Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc’s story remains an important part of McDonald’s history. And his way of doing business continues to influence fast food restaurants that feed people around the world.