Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • I have always believed that each man makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own problems.

  • I was fascinated by the simplicity and effectiveness of the system they described that night. Each step in producing the limited menu was stripped down to its essence and accomplished with a minimum of effort.

  • They sold hamburgers and cheeseburgers only. The burgers were a tenth of a pound of meat, all fried the same way, for fifteen cents. You got a slice of cheese on it for four cents more. Soft drinks were ten cents, sixteen-ounce milk shakes were twenty cents, and coffee was a nickel.   
  • It’s thrilling to see your creation grow. It’s dangerous, of course, because a small mistake can be absolutely ruinous. But in my definition, an executive is a person who rarely makes mistakes.

  • One of the basic decisions I made in this period affected the heart of my franchise system and how it would develop. It was that the corporation was not going to get involved in being a supplier for its operators. My belief was that I had to help the individual operator succeed in every way I could. His success would insure my success. But I couldn’t do that and, at the same time, treat him as a customer. There is a basic conflict in trying to treat a man as a partner on the one hand while selling him something at a profit on the other. Once you get into the supply business, you become more concerned about what you are making on sales to your franchisee than with how his sales are doing. The temptation could become very strong to dilute the quality of what you are selling him in order to increase your profit. This would have a negative effect on your franchisee’s business, and ultimately, of course, on yours. Many franchise systems came along after us and tried to be suppliers, and they got into severe business and financial difficulty. Our method enabled us to build a sophisticated system of purchasing that allows the operator to get his supplies at rock-bottom prices. As it turned out, my instinct helped us avoid the antitrust problems some other franchise operations got into. Another judgment I made early in the game and enforced through the years was that there would be no pay telephones, no jukeboxes, no vending machines of any kind in McDonald’s restaurants. Many times operators have been tempted by the side income some of these machines offer, and they have questioned my decision. But I’ve stood firm. All of those things create unproductive traffic in a store and encourage loitering that can disrupt your customers. This would downgrade the family image we wanted to create for McDonald’s.  
  • My way of fighting the competition is the positive approach. Stress your own strengths, emphasize quality, service, cleanliness, and value, and the competition will wear itself out trying to keep up.

  • I believe that if you think small, you’ll stay small.