Fast Food Nation

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The first CEO of what would become the McDonald’s Corporation of franchises, Ray Kroc expanded the company into its current global behemoth—the Golden Arches. The McDonald’s headquarters, in Illinois, has a Ray Kroc Museum, describing, in part, Kroc’s relationship with other major corporate executives of the immediate post-war period, including Walt Disney.

Ray Kroc Quotes in Fast Food Nation

The Fast Food Nation quotes below are all either spoken by Ray Kroc or refer to Ray Kroc. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Diet, Nutrition, and Food Safety Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Mariner edition of Fast Food Nation published in 2012.
Chapter 2: Your Trusted Friends Quotes

This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I’ll kill ‘em, and I’m going to kill ‘em before they kill me. You’re talking about the American way of survival of the fittest.

Related Characters: Ray Kroc (speaker)
Related Symbols: Golden Arches
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Ray Kroc's idea of McDonald's franchising, and the business model that keeps McDonald's afloat, is very different, in this telling, from the positive image the company projects in its restaurants and advertising. McDonald's succeeded, and continues to succeed, according to Schlosser, because it is a restaurant that understands the amorality and occasional brutality of the market. McDonald's restaurants therefore are strongly anti-union, because they consider labor law to be an impediment to corporate profits and growth. They are also opposed to any of the social safety net policies that might protect their workers over time. Indeed, McDonald's restaurants run best, for Kroc, when they are staffed with people who do not stay very long - who therefore can claim no seniority and therefore no higher wages or extra benefits.

Likewise the franchises, once established, must perform well and court customers or else risk being taken over by other nearby restaurant chains. McDonald's strategy of ruthless competition therefore prizes corporate profits above all else - and makes the dining experience all the more "streamlined," meaning mass-produced, impersonal, and, ultimately, inexpensive.

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Ray Kroc Character Timeline in Fast Food Nation

The timeline below shows where the character Ray Kroc appears in Fast Food Nation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Your Trusted Friends
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
...IL, where he goes to the McStore—an enormous gift shop for the company—and the Ray Kroc Museum. Schlosser is impressed and slightly confused by the overwhelming amount of McDonald’s merchandise for... (full context)
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
Work and “The Good Life” Theme Icon
Both Kroc and Disney were self-educated, and their training facilities they christened “universities,” to make employees at... (full context)
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
Work and “The Good Life” Theme Icon
Schlosser notes that, after purchasing McDonald’s franchising rights, Kroc sent a letter to Disney, then already quite famous as head of the Disney movie... (full context)
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
Work and “The Good Life” Theme Icon
...quality, of a machine producing something customers, especially children, might want, was deeply influential for Kroc, who imagined the McDonald’s Speedee Service System nationwide, as a blueprint for the efficient production... (full context)
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Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
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Work and “The Good Life” Theme Icon
...the United States, was, for example, part of the Disneyland opening ceremony. Schlosser argues that Kroc’s politics were harder to trace, since Kroc tended not to get involved in national political... (full context)
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
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...“progress,” not unlike Carl Karcher, the founder of Carl’s Jr. In particular, Disney’s progress, like Kroc’s, involved an America that looked more suburban, and required families to drive on major interstate... (full context)
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Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
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Kroc also believed in this kind of progress. He tried, for a time, to plan a... (full context)
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Bureaucracy and Complex Systems Theme Icon
...Disney’s theme parks,” Schlosser notes, stating that “the life’s work of Walt Disney and Ray Kroc had come full-circle.” (full context)
Chapter 4: Success
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
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...tail end of the 19th century, it was really the fast food industry, and Ray Kroc in particular, who pioneered and perfected the idea. Many fast-food companies, like McDonald’s, now make... (full context)
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Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
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Schlosser notes that Ray Kroc encouraged “tenacity” and “competitiveness” among his early franchisees in the 1960s and ‘70s, and he... (full context)
Chapter 5: Why the Fries Taste Good
Diet, Nutrition, and Food Safety Theme Icon
Greed, Corporations, and “The Bottom Line” Theme Icon
Independence vs. the Social Contract Theme Icon
Work and “The Good Life” Theme Icon
...Simplot “began selling frozen, pre-cut french fries” directly to consumers, and by the 1960s, Ray Kroc began buying Simplot’s frozen fries, since they tasted nearly similar to the fresh-cut variety in... (full context)