If you fancy running a McDonald’s restaurant as a franchisee, you could be on your first step to heading a multi-million-pound empire.
We’ve asked a woman who did just that how it happened, and for her steps to success.
As well as a love for hard work, one of the first thing you need to have is some serious financial clout – at least £100,000 before you can even think about securing a franchise deal, which means you are self-employed but run a McDonald’s restaurant.
You don’t have to work for McDonald’s already to apply to become a franchisee, but you do have to convince the fast food giant that you are someone it wants to run one or more of its restaurants.
Lorraine Lee, from Whitwick, was able to do just that.
“It is, without doubt, the best decision I have ever made,” said the 55-year-old, who runs four restaurants in the county, said signing up was the best decision she has ever made.
“I was so excited when they gave me the opportunity and I have grasped it and never looked back.”
Lorraine runs two McDonald’s restaurants in Hinckley, one in Beaumont Leys, Leicester, and one in Thurmaston.
Before she took on the new restaurant in Hinckley’s Dodwells Road earlier this year, the three restaurants she was running boasted an annual turnover of about £13.5 million, with 308 members of full and part-time staff.
“It’s hard work and you need total dedication, but it’s worth it,” she said.
“I would recommend anyone try it if they can get the money and if they are prepared to put the hours in, as it is very demanding.”
Lorraine was a shy 16-year-old studying for her A-levels when she got a Saturday job at McDonald’s to earn some extra pocket money.
By the age of 19 she had worked her way up to shift manager, the restaurant manager.
A few years later, she became an area manager, and was put in charge of six restaurants.
Then, in 1999, McDonald’s gave her the chance to become a franchisee.
Accompanied by her husband, Harvey, Lorraine headed for the company’s London HQ to try to secure a golden ticket.
Lorraine Lee, franchisee of the new McDonald’s, off the A5 in Hinckley.
“It was the single most terrifying thing I have ever had to do,” she said.
“I had to face a panel of McDonald’s bosses and tell them why they should give me a franchise.
“I gave it my best shot and I think my enthusiasm and genuine love for my work shone through.
“Anyway, after the interview they said they would let me know. I was chatting away with my husband as we walked across the car park to our car.
“I was trying to work out what they thought of me when my phone rang. It was one of the panel telling me that they wanted to offer me the franchise.
“I was stunned. It was amazing news.
“My long-term goal was always to get a franchise and go on from there.
“It was close to Christmas time and this meant we had a very good Christmas that year.”
Lorraine is not the only woman blazing a trail as a franchisee with McDonald’s in the county.
Sarah McLean runs 21 restaurants across the East and West Midlands, including one in Ashby.
She started in 1982 as a graduate trainee – about eight years after the opening of the first ever UK McDonald’s, in 1974.
Sarah said she had joined the McDonald’s graduate trainee scheme for two reasons – the salary was higher than the other opportunities, and she liked the food.
A couple of decades later, she used her savings to become a franchisee.
Now, with 21 restaurants under her belt, she employs more than 2,200 staff, making her the brand’s largest female franchisee.
So, how can you follow in their footsteps?
Here is McDonald’s advice on what you need to be a franchisee
As a franchisee you’ll need to make a significant up-front financial investment, which means having at least £100,000 in unencumbered funds.
You’ll also need to demonstrate you can lead from the front and work within our framework to give yourself the greatest chance of success.
Passion. Personality. A love of people. McDonald’s franchisees come from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds, but there are a few qualities they all share.
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We’re one of the world’s most iconic brands, and we offer world-class support and training to our franchisees. Before you start, you’ll go through a comprehensive restaurant training programme for a minimum of 26 weeks, which includes a business immersion and handover process.
We also make sure you have a supply chain to be proud of (with strict welfare and traceability standards), and you’ll have the benefit of marketing and branding that’s among the most recognised on the planet.
Watch the webcast
Becoming a franchisee is a long-term commitment. Which is why it’s beneficial that the application journey is a thorough and carefully thought-out process. The application process will move at a pace which is right for you.
Attending a franchising Event or viewing our webcast is not a prerequisite to complete your application, but highly recommended to assist you throughout this process.
If successful, you’ll then undertake an immersive training programme, to help you prepare to become a franchisee.
How to apply
If you think you fit the bill you can apply here.