In the mid 1950s, Ray Kroc was a struggling milkshake mixer salesman who came up with the golden formula to make fast food businesses successful. His involvement in and eventual ownership of McDonald’s is to this day the model for setting up, managing and controlling a restaurant brand’s multi-location and franchise system. His huge success evolved into massive personal wealth, fame and philanthropy. In 1966, soon after McDonald’s went public, Kroc purchased a California ranch as a retreat and think tank where many of McDonald’s menu items were conceived including the McRib and the ever popular Egg McMuffin. Now on the market, Kroc’s former J & R Double Arch Ranch is priced at $29 million.
Located in the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, the 554-acre ranch has a smorgasbord of residences, recreational amenities, barns, a spacious and versatile conference hall and spaces for entertaining large groups of guests. The main lodge measures over 17,000 square feet with an excess of 20 bedroom suites, a commercial kitchen and a dining room that will seat up to 100 guests. The lodge living room, which measures 3,000 square feet, has a massive fireplace for gathering on chilly winter evenings. The Founder’s Building consists of a library, two bedroom suites, offices and a full gym. Also on the property are five single residences, two bunk houses, barns, corrals and paddocks. Water is provided through two lakes, five wells and three cisterns which store 90,000 gallons of water.
Kroc set the standard by which today’s successful fast food chains are designed to operate. His formula was simple: design a tasty menu without filler ingredients, train employees thoroughly including public relations, then cast it all in stone with absolutely no deviations. Franchise only one store at a time with no territories given. A franchisee can only open the next store when it is established and proven that all of the McDonald’s standards are met. Kroc knew the importance of consistency in his product whether it be in San Diego, Stockholm or Japan. That was his golden formula. Ray died in 1984.
Ray Kroc’s ranch he developed into a multi-use facility as a family or corporate retreat or a working ranch is on the market. Priced at $29 million, the listing agent is Maurie McGuire with Coldwell Banker, Montecito.
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