Today is February 24 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “if you want something you’ve never had, are you willing to do something you’ve never done?” In the 1930s, brothers Dick and Mac McDonald were struggling to make a living running a movie theater in California when they noticed that a nearby hot dog stand always seemed to do a lot of business.
With a $5,000 loan, the McDonald brothers started the Airdrome hot dog stand in 1937. By 1940, they moved it from Arcadia to San Bernardino and changed the name to McDonald's Barbeque. Despite success, the brothers wanted to do things better and faster. In a bold move, they temporarily shut down the place in 1948 and reopened with a new, experimental approach. They simplified the menu to focus on burgers, fries and milkshakes and got rid of those characteristic carhops, who were ubiquitous in the industry at the time.
Adopting the process that revolutionized the auto industry, the brothers used an assembly line to prepare their food and improve the efficiency of the restaurant. They called it the Speedee System. The retooled restaurant struggled at first, though, and fired carhops heckled the brothers. Once McDonald’s replaced potato chips with french fries and introduced triple-thick milkshakes, however, the business began to take off with families and businessmen drawn by the cheap, 15-cent hamburgers and low-cost menu. Their new restaurant not only paid off but was to soon set the standard for success in the fast food industry.
While they worked very much in tandem, Richard McDonald, who was known as Dick, is credited with two talismans of the McDonald's empire: the Golden Arches and the sign that proclaims how many hamburgers the chain has sold -- a figure now high in the billions. As the old saying goes “If you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done.”
The McDonald brothers wanted something they never had and were willing to do something no one had ever done. If you want something you’ve never had, are you willing to do something you’ve never done?