Local McDonald’s manager honored in Westminster

Elizabeth Machado holds a cake with co-workers, friends and family by her side at McDonald’s in Westminster.
(Courtesy of McDonald’s)

McDonald’s general manger Elizabeth Machado’s surprise party was all planned. Her family and friends were scheduled to arrive at 1 p.m., 15 minutes before the party so she wouldn’t suspect anything. Arrangements were made for flowers, balloons and a coveted McDonald’s cake. The most difficult part about keeping the surprise under wraps, said area supervisor Antonio Herrera, was convincing her to come to work in something besides her McDonald’s uniform.

“I was like, ‘How am I going to get her to dress up?,’” Herrera said.

The surprise party was a celebration for Machado’s recognition as a 2024 Ray Kroc award winner. On Aug. 29, Machado arrived to work at McDonald’s on 7112 Westminster Blvd. in Westminster dressed in black slacks and a pretty floral top. The mother of three was greeted by her husband, daughter, family, friends, Herrera and owner/operator Neal Ruby.

“I was completely surprised,” said Machado. “My family and my husband did a very good job at hiding this because they said they were talking about it over the weekend and I didn’t hear anything. No one in the company told me anything, and it was a complete surprise.”

Herrera’s request that she dress up didn’t tip her off either.

Machado began working at the Westminster McDonald’s at the age of 18.

“I started at the bottom, as a crew person,” said Machado.

She moved up to crew trainer, then shift manager. Then she was made a department manager, with her own small department in the store to run.


“Early on, she had the drive to be the best,” said Ruby. “So we realized how special she was.”

Shortly after becoming a department manager, Machado’s supervisor was promoted to another store. Machado took on more responsibility, and her superiors soon realized she was in effect the store’s acting manager, so they officially offered her the position.

Now 32, Machado was recognized as one of the top-performing McDonald’s restaurant managers globally. Named for the McDonald’s Corp. founder, the Ray Kroc award is given to the top 1% of McDonald’s restaurant managers. The award is presented every two years based on nominations from McDonald’s franchisees and regional management, and Machado was one of 395 McDonald’s managers from 70 markets around the world to receive the honor.

“This year, less than 400 managers around the world received this award, so we wanted to make sure we celebrated her,” said Herrera.

Herrera was Machado’s store manager when she began an a crew member, and he recalls her incredible work ethic.

“She quickly became one of my shift managers, and she did an outstanding job,” said Herrera. “She is very outgoing, and when she sets her mind to something, she gets it.”

While Machado said success takes hard work, she also said she owes a lot to her crew.

Elizabeth Machado, second from left, in uniform with her team at McDonald’s in Westminster.
Elizabeth Machado, second from left, in uniform with her team at McDonald’s in Westminster.
(Courtesy of McDonald’s)

“You can’t do it without your team,” said Machado. “It takes a lot of teamwork to get the scores that we get, meaning service times and random inspections we get. It’s not about me, but my crew and what they did together, because without them I wouldn’t be here.”

Besides the recognition, the Ray Kroc award also includes a cash prize, a trophy and a trip to McDonald’s Worldwide Convention in Barcelona, Spain.

“The owner, Neal Ruby, is paying for an extra week for her to be out there so she can enjoy time in Spain with her husband,” Herrera added.

Machado is also receiving tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood for her and her family to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter together.

“She is a big Harry Potter fan,” said Herrera. “So we want her to go have a nice family experience with that.”

At her surprise party, Machado’s friends urged her to cut her cake, but she shyly passed the duty onto someone else.

Ruby said he hopes someday Machado will get to be supervisor and spread her experience. For now, Machado said she is happy in her position as a general manager. Once her kids get older, however, she said she looks forward to going even further with McDonald’s.

“Once the little one starts going to school, I do look forward to moving up and becoming a supervisor or director of operations,” Machado said. She paused and looked around as slices of cake were being handed out. “Honestly, I am still in shock.”