Businessman Ray Kroc turned McDonald’s into the fast-food empire that it is today, and he did much of it from his extravagant ranch home in California. Kroc’s sprawling estate is infamous in the culinary industry and the business world in general, as he not only lived there with his family but hosted huge meetings, summits and events there. Now, in photos published by TopTenRealEstateDeals.com, we can take a look inside the “J & R Double Arch Ranch.”
McDonald’s was founded by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, but Kroc was the entrepreneur that approached them with the idea of a nationwide franchise system. Kroc’s story has been told many times — most notably in the documentary The Founder. There, you can see shots of Kroc’s ranch, which was the birthplace of many McDonald’s ideas and menu items. The facilities are on a 554-acre lot in Santa Barbara, California in the Santa Ynez Valley. The layout is unique even among the wealthy, since Kroc wanted the place to be able to host dozens of guests.
Kroc not only lived on the ranch, but he also held corporate retreats and think tank meetings there. Many of the chain’s most popular menu items were reportedly conceived at the ranch, including the McRib and the Egg McMuffin. The property’s dual function as a home and business getaway are still clear to this day.
Kroc retired from running McDonald’s in 1974 and died in 1984 at the age of 81. His widow, Joan Kroc, donated most of his fortune to various charities in the remainder of his life, though it is not clear who came to own the J & R Double Arch Ranch.
Regardless, the ranch is now on the market for $29 million, and with over 17,000 square feet of living space, there is a lot to see. Here is a look inside Kroc’s infamous getaway.
Kroc’s ranch covers about 554 acres of land in the California desert and consists of several buildings and outdoor features. The property is dotted with living spaces, barns and leisure spaces. The “main lodge” for living spaces is over 17,000 square feet, with a living room that is 3,000 square feet on its own.
The ranch aesthetic comes off strong at Kroc’s home, especially from the outside. The home was made to host large gatherings, and it shows in every aspect of the facade.
Kroc ensured that there was plenty of space to hold business meetings on his property, from gatherings of 100 people or more to small staff meetings. The result is a number of halls, grand living rooms and long tables, all with different capacities.
The house is not all business, however — recreation such as a pool table and a full gym are available inside, while outside there are tennis courts, volleyball courts and so on. There are, of course, also barns, corrals and paddocks for conventional ranch activities.
The property has more than 20 bedroom suites in the main lodge, plus a few single residences on the property and a few bunkhouses as well.
From the pictures shown, the bathrooms are as lavish as any other part of the property, with deep tubs fine stone countertops.
Naturally, a restaurant mogul like Kroc had the finest when it came to kitchens put in at his home. These may also have been the site of experimentation on McDonald’s menu items.
Kroc’s property has two lakes — open defiance of California’s dry heat. It also has at least two swimming pools. Water is stored in three cisterns and five wells, with a total capacity of 90,000 gallons.