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(October 5, 1902 - January 14, 1984)
Before setting up the a fast-food restaurant chain, Ray Kroc was a high school dropout, ambulance driver, jazz pianist, Florida real-estate salesman, radio station manager, and paper cup salesman.
In 1954 he was a distributor for a line of blenders which could mix 5 milk shakes at the same time. One of his customers was a restaurant in San Bernardino, California owned by Maurice and Richard McDonald.
Kroc set up a chain of drive-in restaurants based on the McDonald brothers model of assembly line preparation for high volume food sales. He opened his first restaurant on April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. By 1961 he had 228 restaurants and he bought out the McDonald brothers. When he died in 1984 there were over 7,500 McDonald's restaurants.
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