What entrepreneurs really think about Ray Kroc, the Founder of McDonald’s

It’s not worth watching the Founder in a packed cinema with entrepreneurs without learning what they think of Ray Kroc, or more specifically, Michael Keaton. After the film, I interviewed eight founders to get their opinions on the controversial entrepreneur. Although there aren’t many spoilers, those who haven’t seen the movie and want to see it without any preconceived notions should not be concerned.

Kroc’s perseverance was a source of inspiration for all entrepreneurs. I expected them to be more shocked at the portrayal. This is especially true since many of the entrepreneurs that I asked for comments run businesses where ethics are the main focus. It is quite telling that they all celebrated his perseverance. This is perhaps the lesson entrepreneurs can learn from their drive to make a difference in the world.

Ethel Kroc, played by Laura Dern, asks her husband: “When will enough be enough for you?” He responds: “Honestly, probably not.” Maybe you are what you need to become an entrepreneur. It’s not clear if you will be as successful or not.

Karina Robinson is the Founder & CEO of Robinson Hambro

“Ray Croc is Winston Churchill’s epitome of entrepreneurship. He said that “success is going from failure to success without losing enthusiasm.”

Jeremy Agnew (Founder & Director), Anew

“I enjoyed the film immensely and gained the determination and self-belief that is necessary to become a founder. It was important to me that you can find inspirational and helpful people even when you least expect them. Ray Kroc was a great example of this.

Alessandra Sollberger, Co-Founder & CEO, Evermore

“I have read the biography. There are many differences. But I like that the movie took its own approach and kept it consistent. Ray’s aggressive nature is shown for what it really is: essential to his goals. You can easily understand the different points of view of all the characters, as there are no clear sides.

Maria Tanjala, Co-Founder, Big Couch

“As co-founder of a technology platform that operates in the film industry I was eager to see The Founder. McDonald’s is an excellent case study in scaling, franchising, and building a brand. Although the technical aspects of the film were excellent: great look, editing, performances and pace; however, the storytelling felt a little too unilateral. I was unable to relate to his human side, which I realized at the end. While I appreciate his determination, perseverance, focus, and determination, where is the rest? This story was too personal for me and my team. Business leaders should not choose between ethics and profits. Ray was a poor communicator and had poor patience with his business associates. Although times were different back then, Ray’s decisions and his conduct were questionable. Ethical principles are essential for business leaders.”

Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation

“The message of persistence pays was what I enjoyed about the film. It showed Ray as a dedicated entrepreneur who was determined to persevere until he found the right recipe. The oft-repeated depiction of entrepreneurs as crooks is what I didn’t like. Although I don’t have enough knowledge to challenge the portrayal of McDonald’s as a villain, I’m tired of the idea that you must be evil to succeed in McDonald’s. It is simply false!

Ian Merricks is Managing Partner, White Horse Capital

“Entrepreneurship requires vision (which Ray displayed), persistence (or ‘persistence’, as he called them), and sometimes difficult decisions to make. Ray Kroc made the right decisions for the company’s growth and was arguably proven right. His less attractive and more ruthless traits may not have been necessary if he were the original founder. However, it is unlikely that the business would have enjoyed global dominance without them.

Riham Satti, CEO, MeVitae

“Ray Kroc is the American 1950s Dream. He would do anything to see it happen. Ray was an entrepreneur. People often see entrepreneurs like Ray from the outside, but the truth is usually very different. Although I felt for him initially, a hardworking man trying to provide food for his family, I was stunned at how low he would go.

Ollie forsyth, Founder,

“The founder” was amazing. It is amazing to see how a 50 year old turns an idea into a global business with many ups, downs. This movie is amazing and must-see for young entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurs Network was founded by Philip Salter. The Founder will be appearing in UK cinemas starting 17 February 2017.

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