i Three years ago, Vanessa Stein 1 and her husband Tom took up the fast food challenge: they bought the franchise for a 5 McDonald’s restaurant near Leeds.
EARLY MORNING is always an effort for me. The alarm goes off at 6.30 a.m. and then I have 20 minutes’ 'thinking time’ to make some mental lists before I get 10 up. I live by lists, actually- it’s the best way to keep things organised.
Recently I’ve been arriving at our McDonald’s restaurant around 8.30 a.m. I’ve mastered the computerised accounts is now so I'rii training one of our floor managers to help me with the administration. Eventually this should give me more time to get involved in other areas of the business such as 20 interviewing staff.
Our restaurant is in a retail park around five miles outside Leeds. Since we bought the franchise in 1995, we’ve already expanded the seating and now 25 we’re looking to expand the restaurant itself. We have to conform to the McDonald’s standards (quality, service, cleanliness and value) of course, but the restaurant is actually our own business. We directly employ some 75 staff, order and pay for supplies (from 'preferred suppliers’), take care of any maintenance or refurbishment, arrange local marketing, and so on. Around a 35 quarter of all McDonald’s 800 UK restaurants are franchised.
Buying this franchise was a big move for us. Tom (my husband) had to do nine months’ training before we could 40 even be considered for a franchise. It paid off though, and we are delighted with this place — it boasts* what was the first Drive-Thru in Yorkshire! — and the surrounding countryside is truly beautiful.
By 9.30 a.m. I’m ready for a Bacon & Egg McMuffin and a cup of tea. I’ll have a quick chat with our regular breakfast customers before opening the post. This 50 brings invoices from suppliers, marketing and training information from McDonald’s (they run the training courses but we pay for our staff to attend), bookings for parties, or perhaps 55 the monthly report from the 'Mystery Diner’.
Mystery Diners make monthly checks on every restaurant and Drive-Thru in the country. All aspects are assessed - âî food quality and presentation, atmosphere, quality and speed of service, restaurant cleanliness and so on. Staff are often $om$£rftied by name, so I pass the news on to them and 65 make sure any problems are tackled. We’re currently eighth in the UK league which is pretty good.
We have an ongoing dialogue with McDonald’s. A field consultant visits us 70 every two or three weeks, and there are regular meetings with other franchisees to share ideas and experience. .
Much of my morning is spent updating computer records. Tax office 75 queries, training records, payroll, etc, have to be organised. Staff turnover varies but we can sometimes lose our casual workers when they go to university or decide to go travelling.
There are McDonald’s all over the world now, so their training here really can open distant doors.
The lunchtime rush* starts around noon. On the rare occasions that we’re 85 short staffed (e.g. flu season), I’ll muck in and serve customers (memories of my waitressing days at university!). I’ve even been known to cook fries when necessary. As with any small business,
90 one has to be flexible but I think it’s also important to focus your energies where . they are most effective. For me, this is behind the scenes admin work.