Phil Gray always knew he wanted to start a family business — and fast food created the path.
Gray launched GrayCo Management in Boca Raton as aMcDonald's franchisee.
But before that, he actually worked atMcDonald's.
He was attracted toMcDonald'squick service restaurant business model on a variety of levels, he says. Executives were approachable, training and resources were accessible and opportunities, from management to corporate positions, were abundant.
His career ladder was full of mentors and passionate colleagues, says Gray. He joined as a crew person and quickly filled a manager trainee position. Gray was impressed, and hooked, he says.
Gray developed his career on the corporate side eventually leading business development around the world. But he always wanted to become a franchisee and include his family in the business he says.
So when the opportunity to buyMcDonald'sfranchises in South Florida was presented, Gray relocated family members from across the United States to make the change.
You've worked for McDonald's in a variety of demographics, what makes South Florida so unique in this business? Despite the economic slump, this area, with its diverse population base and the added boost of tourism, has always been one of the strongest markets for McDonald's. And the area's cultural diversity is a real strength — one that's reflected in our workforce.
Your restaurants employ neighbors and neighbors of neighbors for a tight-knit workforce. How does that benefit your workplaces and compel you to give back to the community? Our crew and customers are our neighbors and McDonald's is a community gathering spot, as well as a place to get a great meal. Case in point — we created a community meeting room at our Sandalfoot Boca location. Giving back is a McDonald's core value. Some great examples are the Ronald McDonald Houses, scholarship programs, sponsorship of active lifestyle events for kids and local school fundraisers.
How does teamwork and employee turnover come into play? We actually have low turnover within the restaurant industry and a strong core group with many people that have been with McDonald's over 10 years. The management training program is unparalleled and is even college-accredited, so employees can work toward a degree at no cost while employed.
How do you build brand trust? Take care of the customer, focusing on the total customer experience. Listen. For example, McDonald's recently launched an ongoing commitment to enhanced nutrition, including a new Happy Meal that automatically includes apples; and smaller portion offerings like wraps and yogurt parfaits, whole grains in our oatmeal, more fresh produce in salads and more lean protein with new chicken items.
Crisis management: How did you handle the "pink slime" controversy on a local level? And for that matter, other topics that arise out of fast food watchdogs on topics like obesity. With any controversy, it's important to get the facts out. Often, people aren't up to date on how we've evolved. We educate our employees and let customers know our all of our ingredient and nutrition information is readily available — on every tray liner, much of our packaging, on-line and even on a mobile app.
Right-size hiring: One never hears about layoffs from McDonald's locations. Why? Our business is strong, and we are continually expanding in all day parts, with many McDonald's locations now open 24 hours. That opens up more jobs. McDonald's employs more than 48,000 people in Florida and has a major economic impact. Collectively, we spend $1.2 billion in goods and services, and about 48 cents of every dollar spent in McDonald's stays in the local community.
Ckent@tribune.com 954-356-4662 Twitter.com @mindingyourbiz
3 tips to jobseekers
Don't discount opportunities in the quick service field. The skill sets you learn at McDonald's can translate to almost any future career. Most of McDonald's corporate employees and franchisees started their careers by working in the restaurant.
Be ready to give extra effort and set yourself apart. This begins with the interview all the way to getting the job and working every day.
Build your own personal brand. You need to be the best at whatever you are doing, whether it is sweeping the floor or managing your own restaurant.
Details: GrayCo Management 561-483-9692 Facebook: facebook.com/mcdonalds Twitter: @mcd_palmbeach mcgrayco.comCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times