McDonald’s versus Burger King – that’s how the rise of the fast food empires began

Even the largest burger empires in the world started out small. The podcast “Battle of the Companies” tells of the rapid rise and tough competition from McDonald’s and Burger King.

You can find a McDonald’s shop almost anywhere in the world today. But the fast food revolution, about which the new season of the podcast “Battle of the Businesses” tells, began very modestly in 1948 in San Bernardino, California. There the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, known as Dick and Mac, had developed a new concept for their diner, which had been in existence for several years, and which was soon to revolutionize the restaurant world.

They had saved the car controls that were common at American diners at the time, reduced the menu to the bestselling burgers, fries and milkshakes and developed a sophisticated system of division of labor in the kitchen – the “Speedee System”. The result: a 15-cent burger like on an assembly line and a flourishing business.

The success of the McDonald brothers caused a sensation in the American gastronomy scene. Nevertheless, under her leadership, McDonald’s would never have become the top-selling fast food company on the planet. The brothers were innovators who had perfected their own store, but attempts to have other stores operated by franchisees using the same system were only moderately successful.

Franchising and aggressive expansion

Until they met Ray Kroc, a milkshake mixer salesman, in 1954 and gave him responsibility for the franchise business. The ambitious businessman (impressively portrayed by Michael Keaton in the Hollywood film “The Founder”) set the course for nationwide expansion – with sometimes aggressive methods, as the McDonald brothers themselves later had to experience painfully. In 1961, Kroc bought McDonald’s from the founders for $ 2.7 million and was henceforth sole ruler of the brand. The McDonald brothers had to rename their pioneer shop San Bernardino and eventually shut down. Kroc had opened a McDonald’s next door to dig them up.

The success of the revolutionary fast food franchise business drew more avid businessmen. As early as 1954, around the same time Krocs started working at McDonald’s, David Edgerton, who had originally wanted to open a Dairy Queen ice cream shop, opened his first burger shop in Miami, Florida. The concept of the store called “Insta Burger King ” at the time was based on a new type of quick grill that grilled the burgers over an open flame. With his business partner James McLamore, Edgerton soon built up the biggest competitor of the McDonald’s empire, also in franchise style: the Burger King Corporation.

The new season of the podcast “Battle of the Enterprises”, the first episode of which was released on August 25th on Audio Now  , Apple Podcasts  and Google , tells of the rise and struggle of these two fast food giants  . In the past few seasons, the German adaptation of the successful US podcast “Business Wars” has already been dedicated to the battle between Nike and Adidas, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, as well as Facebook and Snapchat.

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