In 1963 there was an interesting meeting between some entrepreneurs and the owner of the brand new McDonalds. I - your cub reporter - got my hands on the minutes, and I found them eye-opening.

Present: Ray K, and Tim and John with a business idea for him
Date: May 9, 1963
San Diego, California

"Good afternoon Mr. Kroc. We'd like to present you with "Menubase", a new idea to gain revenue from your 15 McDonald's restaurants. Menubase is a system where we handle all of the menu's in your restaurants. It works like this: You pay us to add the information of what you sell to a menu. We then take a a tarp, and cover your menus so your customers can not see them. When your patrons give you money, the tarp is raised and they get to look at your menu." started Tim.

"Is this some kind of joke? Where's Allan Funt?" asked Mr. Kroc, "How will my customers decide what to order without a menu? And they pay good money to buy my hamburgers and fries. Why in the world would I ask them to pay to make a menu choice?"

"This is an ingenious idea we got from horse racing. They charge their customers to look at the running lines of the horses, and they happily pay to make a bet. People come to the races in droves. In the 1950's horse racing became the largest spectator sport in North America. Bettors pay to make a bet, then they pay again. It's a brilliant scheme!" said Tim.

"Horse racing has a monopoly on gambling" said Mr. Kroc. "If I was the only restaurant selling food I could probably do that - scratch that, it's still a stupid idea - but I am not. I have to compete for my customers. I have to make the best food, at a fair price, and I have to respect them, or they will not patronize my restaurants. I want to make McDonald's a big restaurant chain. I am not in this for the short term."

"Burgers come and go" said Tim, "but you'll always be able to use our tarp-covering-patented material to charge for menus. It doesn't matter what you sell - burgers, steak, or those new Taco things. Menu's cost money to make and you should be getting something for tabulating the information on them. In 50 years, say in 2013, horse racing will still be thriving because they clearly know what they're doing. They get revenue from everything - parking, programs, $2 beer when it's only 75 cents for a glass at the pub, big high takeout rates, and more and more. McDonald's need to look towards horse racing for ideas."

"I respectfully submit that horse racing will not be as popular if people are able to gamble in other places. To survive they will have to act like me, by offering great prices, delivering superb service; certainly not charging their bettors to make a bet", noted Mr. Kroc. "I want McDonald's in every corner of the World by the turn of the century, and I will not be able to do that if I anger, or try to nickel and dime my customers. They won't be able to either"

"I guess you don't want to hear how we are going to install a different menu in each of your restaurants then?" said Jim.

"What? No! I don't want to hear about that. Is that another racing idea?" said Mr. Kroc.

"Yes. Things are different at some tracks so we have to be on our toes. We've even been assured first time geldings will be in the past performances for the opening of the 1964 Saratoga meet, so maybe the price of a menu will go up. You have to be ready because horse racing moves at lightening speed. It's pure genius!" said Tim.

"Well fellas,  I think I'll leave all these big ideas to you and horse racing. I'll just humbly work trying to grow my little restaurant chain" said Mr. Kroc.

"Okay. Thanks for your time Mr. Kroc. We'll be on our way now" said John.

"Let's go sell Mattel on charging for their Pogo Stick instructions Tim." said John.

"Right on John. Pogo sticks are going to be the rage for 1,000 years. This McDonald's thing is small potatoes.

The meeting ended at 1:35PM. To this day McDonald's has never charged customers to look at their menu. According to their corporate filings, there are no plans to.

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