Ray Kroc, the former Multimixer milkshake-machine salesman who bought the franchise rights to McDonald's Corp., had a favorite saying: "If you're green, you're growing. If you're ripe, you rot." Kroc created a company that grew like a weed, luring more consumers year after year to sample a menu so simple anyone could memorize it--burgers, fries, and shakes. It was all served up according to Kroc's "speedee" system for delivering food at cheap prices with ruthless efficiency and scrupulous cleanliness.

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