McDonald’s Entrepreneurs: Tina Brundidge, Erica Burgess and Lisa Legrone

Tina Brundidge's life became richer in more ways than one when she became a McDonald's® owner/operator. Now, she's trying to pass that success on to two dedicated managers who have set their sights on success.

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hen Tina Brundidge and her husband purchased their first McDonald's in 1989, she had high hopes.

"I thought we were going to be millionaires," Tina says with a laugh. Now, she says it's being a part of a brand that supports values, family and community that has made her rich beyond the monetary gains.

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"We are involved in just about everything in the community," says Tina. She regularly donates food and toys, and hosts family fun nights for their neighborhood. She says she likes to think of her two McDonald's restaurants as an "oasis" for the surrounding neighborhood. "The people have been good to us, so we feel that we should return some of what we have here to the community."

Tina, a former educator, moved from Chicago to the Motor City after her husband purchased two McDonald's-one in downtown Detroit and another on Trumbull Avenue. "He was really happy about it because he worked for the McDonald's corporation in Oak Brook, Illinois about 10 years before he purchased a McDonald's," she explains. "He said it's the best company that you could work for. He left a job that paid more money to come and work for McDonald's because they offered so much."

After taking on the duties of owner/operator from her husband, Tina says she learned firsthand how well a McDonald's team could work together.

"The people who run the day-to-day business have to be so smart, because there is so much the store managers have to do," says Tina. "The training and just how everybody is an individual. McDonald's has it set up where you can really learn. And the training program is one of the best that I've ever seen."

She adds, "And the things that you learn, you can carry them on. When you go to Hamburger University, I never knew that you could transfer them to college credit."

Tina says she still uses her teaching degree every day at her store. In particular, she has used this experience in the guidance and mentoring of general managers Erica Burgess and Lisa Legrone to be McDonald's next generation owner/operators.

"It seems like I'm always learning something new. I am very eager to learn and I feel like I grow every day," says Erica. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle smile to help someone start their day, she says. "I feel like when they come here, they look for a smile. They look for fast and friendly service with hot fresh food. And we give them a chance to experience that."  

Tina adds: "We always try and serve them with a smile because so many people don't even get that in a day. So it's so important for us to give that type of service. For the kids, we're making sure that when they come through here they are having a good experience."

Lisa says it's the McDonald's investment in the community and its employees that first attracted her to the restaurant.

"You invest in your people, and as your business grows, your people grow with your business," she says. "I'm happy when the mothers come in off work and allow us to serve their families. We serve them with a smile and they remember that great service, and they will come back to us. If we go that extra mile to make it easier on their family, it is appreciated and they show us that by their loyalty."

Tina says the ultimate goal is to make each of her McDonald's stores feel like "home" where everyone is invited.

"I think because I have formed such a relationship with the people that work with me and my customers, I enjoy sitting in the lobby. And the customers stop by, and they are telling you about their family, their grandkids, and they are showing you pictures. That's what keeps you coming in here every day," she explains.

The neighborhoods where her stores are located, she says, feel like one big family.

"We are such a part of the neighborhood that people just stop by-how you stop by one of your relatives'. You're in the kitchen sitting around the tables talking and laughing … that type of atmosphere," says Tina. And an important part of preparing her general managers to be future McDonald's owners and operators is to show them how to maintain that atmosphere.

"They are good general managers now. I am trying to teach them to surround yourself with good people, because you can't do it alone," Tina says. "If you are going to be good operators, you have to make sure you have good people surrounding you."

About Hamburger University®

Hamburger University, or McDonald's Center of Training Excellence, is world-renowned for its emphasis on training McDonald's managers and owner/operators in customer service, systems and procedures to maximize efficiency and business savvy and, thereby, success. Located in the McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, a team of full-time professors with restaurant expertise teach more than 7,500 McDonald's entrepreneurs and managers each year. The instruction is so valuable that it is worth college credits through the American Council on Education (ACE), the United States' oldest and most recognized unifying body for higher education.

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