Content brought to you by McDonald's
eople remember one thing, says McDonald's owner and operator Melvin Jones.
"How you make them feel. They may not remember your name, but they will always remember how you make them feel. And to me, that is very important," says Melvin, who opened his first McDonald's in 1999.
Melvin, a former accountant for DTE, says that after deciding he wanted to work for himself, it was the McDonald's commitment to community that first attracted him to purchase a restaurant location.
"They have a strong sense of community. They have a strong mission. And their philosophy of taking care of their employees, taking care of their customers is strong," Melvin says. "That's something I wanted to be a part of."
As the owner/operator of three McDonald's restaurants, Melvin works side by side with his son, Brandon Jones, to make sure every person leaves his restaurants with a good feeling.
"Our regulars, we pretty much know the order that they want," says Brandon, who manages his father's Redford location. "We greet them by name and it gives them a sense of worth coming in. It's more personal than a business transaction."
And working with his father has not only been professionally beneficial but personally valuable, as well.
"We were already pretty much close. But now it's like whenever I have questions about the business, I just call him," Brandon says. "He gives me advice every day about certain things in the restaurant. So it definitely brought us much closer."
Melvin says that in teaching his son how to be a future McDonald's owner/operator, he stresses that it's more than serving some great food.
"You need to be a part of the community," says Melvin, who serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House of Southeastern Michigan. "If you are taking from the community, you got to give back to the community that supports you. McDonald's supports that wholeheartedly."
If your business values the surrounding community, says Melvin, the community will value your business with support.
"People will go out of their way to go somewhere where they are treated well, rather than go somewhere where you don't like the way you are being treated."
He says that's especially true when you can help parents give their children a great experience. "They are coming in there to get a Happy Meal®. They want to play in that playscape. That's very special for them, and we need to do everything that we can to keep making that as special as possible," Melvin says.
And it's his ability to affect people with a great experience that he loves most about being a McDonald's owner/operator.
"To me, that's probably one of the best feelings that you could have. When people come to McDonald's, whether it's kids or adults-but especially kids-they are coming there for a special event."
Although Melvin did not have any restaurant experience when he first started working at McDonald's, he says learning the systems of McDonald's came easy for him because he was finally doing something he "loved."
"If you are doing something that you like doing, then you've made that personal commitment to give it your all. It takes that personal commitment to make it succeed. And it's easier to make that personal commitment if you like what the company is doing and you like what it stands for," he says. "You learn how to operate the restaurant like a manager would. You run shifts, you learn every facet of the business-from French fries to managing the back office."
And most importantly, he says, you learn the value of a good team.
"You have to value your people and be fair. Take the time to be patient with people," says Melvin.
He advises aspiring entrepreneurs who are considering buying into any franchise to first make sure you agree with the company's overall philosophy and mission.
"Don't do it just because it's a job and you think you are going to get rich," he says. "As a McDonald's owner/operator, you will have the power to do what you can to affect change within people's lives."
And when you can see that change in the way your restaurant team interacts with patrons and the community, Melvin says, "It's a heck of a feeling."
About the Ronald McDonald House® of Southeastern Michigan
McDonald's has a longtime commitment to giving back to the community, which is personified by the efforts of owner/operators like Melvin Jones, who serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House of Southeastern Michigan. The organization's mission is to help children and families in the community by supporting programs that deliver health services to children or providing grants to nonprofit organizations that help sick children or needy families.