10 Key Business Insights from McDonald’s Black Franchisees

When you think of a global brand like McDonald’s, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many local restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurs within your community. Surprisingly, 95% of McDonald’s restaurants are locally owned, showcasing the diverse backgrounds and experiences of franchisees. Meet Julio Morgan Gillis from New Jersey and Andre Hill from Ohio, both second-generation franchisees and successful Black business owners who take pride in operating McDonald’s restaurants within their communities. Drawing support from the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA), the largest organization of established Black entrepreneurs globally, Gillis and Hill are sharing valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and future franchisees.

  1. Leverage Community Resources: “The NBMOA has been instrumental in my success, advocating not only for Black Owners/Operators but also Black employees. Community resources like these are essential to ensure all voices are heard and supported.” – Julio
  2. Previous Work Experience Matters: “My diverse work background, from corporate to flipping homes and mortgages, has shaped my approach. Utilize your previous experiences; you’d be surprised how they can contribute to being a McDonald’s Owner/Operator.” – Andre
  3. Understand the Commitment: “Being a McDonald’s franchisee requires hands-on commitment every day. You must be ready to step into any role, not just Owner/Operator, to build your business successfully.” – Julio
  4. Serve as Representation: “I take pride in being an example for those who question if they can achieve something like this. Showcasing my role as a Black franchisee is part of the job.” – Andre
  5. Define Your Business: “Ask yourself crucial questions when defining your business. How do you treat customers? What are your expectations? Having a clear vision and purpose has been crucial for me.” – Julio
  6. Seek Additional Experiences: “Interested in becoming a franchisee? Shadow, speak with the general manager, and connect with the owner to understand their day-to-day operations. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional experiences.” – Andre
  7. Maintain a “Forever” Student Mentality: “Continuous learning is key to excelling as an entrepreneur. You might not have a degree in a specific field, but you’ll find yourself doing that work unexpectedly. Embrace the ‘forever’ student mentality.” – Julio
  8. Don’t Be Deterred by Size: “McDonald’s may seem overwhelming, but they will work with you if they see the skills and drive they’re looking for. Don’t let the size deter you; still apply!” – Andre
  9. Three Ingredients for Success:
    • Value learning new things
    • Develop people skills
    • Embrace hard work
    • Julio
  10. Exposure Builds Confidence: “Learn from those around you; exposure can significantly boost your confidence. Regardless of where you start, maintaining self-confidence and resilience sets you apart.” – Andre

Gillis and Hill’s insights offer a glimpse into the world of McDonald’s franchise ownership, emphasizing the importance of community support, diverse experiences, and a commitment to continuous learning. Whether you’re eyeing a McDonald’s franchise or pursuing entrepreneurship in any field, these pieces of advice are valuable guides on your journey to success.

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