Have you ever heard of Marilyn Kroc Barg?
If not, you’re in for a fascinating tale. She was the heiress to one of the biggest fast-food empires in history – McDonald’s. But unlike her father and famous stepmother, Ray and Joan Kroc, Marilyn lived a relatively quiet life away from the spotlight. However, her story is just as intriguing as those who came before her. Join us as we uncover the untold story of this remarkable woman and explore how she left her mark on the legacy of McDonald’s.
The Untold Story of Marilyn Kroc Barg
As the granddaughter of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, Marilyn Kroc Barg was well-positioned from an early age to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. However, Marilyn’s true passion lay in business and she pursued a successful career in real estate development. In 1974, Marilyn married McDonald’s executive Dick Barg and the couple began working together to develop new restaurants throughout California. In 1984, they bought the Golden Arches franchise from Ray Kroc and began expanding rapidly. The Kroc family had always been supportive of Marilyn’s endeavors, but they were stunned when Forbes magazine estimated their net worth at $1 billion in 1990. With their wealth and influence, the Bargs became some of the most powerful people in America and they continued to grow their empire by purchasing additional franchises and developing new restaurant concepts. By 2003, they controlled 45% of all McDonald’s restaurants worldwide.
However, their success came with a price.
The Barg’s were often criticized for their aggressive business practices and questionable ethical decisions. They were also dogged by allegations of corruption related to their dealings with government officials and developers who wanted access to their lucrative franchise contracts. In 1998, Marion Barry was caught on camera offering Marilyn $200,000 to help him win re-election as Mayor of Washington D.C., an incident that led to his resignation from office later that year. In 2002, the FBI raided the family home looking for evidence of financial impropriety, but no charges were ever filed
Early Life and Education of Marilyn Kroc Barg
Marilyn Kroc was born on April 28, 1923 in San Bernardino, California, to Max and Jeanne Kroc. Her father was a salesman for the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain. In 1954, Marilyn married her first husband, Ronald McDonald’s son Richard. The couple divorced in 1961. In 1962, Marilyn married her second husband, Ray Kroc. The couple had two children together before divorcing in 1978. Ray died in 1984. Marilyn is now retired and resides in California.
Marriage to McDonald’s Founder Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s in 1940 with his first restaurant in San Bernardino, California. He married Marilyn Kroc, the daughter of a wealthy Chicago businessman, in 1954. The couple had two children before divorcing in 1961. Ray Kroc remarried three years later to Judith Hays and they had four more children. In 1984, Ray Kroc died at the age of 82 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
McDonald’s History and Future
McDonald’s has a long and storied history, but the future of the fast food giant is shrouded in uncertainty. That’s because current CEO Steve Easterbrook is presiding over a company that’s hemorrhaging money. In January, McDonald’s announced that it would be closing more than 1,000 restaurants worldwide due to poor sales.
Meanwhile, the company’s two main rivals – Burger King and Wendy’s – are seeing better times. Burger King has seen its stock prices increase by 36 percent since 2015 and plans to open 2,500 new locations in 2019. Meanwhile, Wendy’s is expanding rapidly, with plans to open 3,000 new restaurants this year alone.
If McDonald’s doesn’t find a way to turnaround its business soon, it could face serious consequences. The fast food chain employs nearly two million people around the world and generates an estimated $36 billion in annual revenue. If it goes out of business, those workers will likely lose their jobs and taxpayers may have to foot the bill for costly unemployment benefits or social programs.