If you've taken my advice to read John Love's book "McDonald's: Behind The Arches"
you'll remember the last several pages of the original book focuses on Fred's dream of
having McDonald's Operators and suppliers own a large chunk of McDonald's stock.
At the 1986 Worldwide Fred told the convention, "I own some of your store, now I want
you to own some of mine".
The book says this effort was about making the company more entrepreneurial. Maybe
it was but there's a back story.
McDonald's was a darling of Wall Street and management was concerned that outside
investor groups or hostile entities would someday control enough shares to have a major influence on how the company operated. Putting 20/30/40% of the shares in the control
of McDonald's Operators, suppliers, and company employees could prevent that from happening.
The three-legged stool would be able to protect the company.
Protect it from what? Investors who didn't understand the culture of the system. Greedy investors who wanted to take excessive cash out of the company. Shareholders who didn't understand the need for solid, productive franchisees.
But now, five years after his passing, Fred's fears have been realized. It happened from
the inside, not by outside robber barons.
The company and the Operators have been stripped mined to return cash to MCD shareholders. The culture has been changed or erased by individuals who don't know
what made the system successful. Franchisees are considered liabilities not an asset.
The McDonald's board of directors was once peppered with executives from some of the
major system suppliers. Those folks are gone and the board is made up people with no
history with, or connection to McDonald's.
Only McDonald's Operators can fix McDonald's because they are the only people left who remember how McDonald's is supposed to work.