Golden career opportunities for 1,100 Norfolk people at McDonald's
- Credit: James Neale Photography
He started as a crew member serving burgers and fries – this month Kevin Foley opens his 10th McDonald’s branch in Norfolk. He says the McDonald’s progressive career ladder means opportunities are open to everyone.
The office junior or cleaner who ends up running the business mostly only happens in films, but it’s pretty much expected at a busy Norfolk restaurant franchise.
Ongoing training, a structured career plan and a greater variety of jobs than anyone imagines is the key, says McDonald’s franchisee success story Kevin Foley.
He opens his 10th Norfolk restaurant – his third new site of the year – this month, Broadland Gate at Postwick. He says while he’s delighted to be running a successful growing and recruiting business, he’s particularly delighted to see his team expanding and individuals progressing.
“A lot of people come to work at McDonald’s and they’re not thinking of a career here, they want a part-time job, but they discover what they can do.
“All three of my supervisors started off with me at 16-17 and are now running groups of restaurants,” he said
Kevin points out that McDonald’s has a detailed and comprehensive training programme with nationally-recognised qualifications, used worldwide but implemented locally.
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It involves step-by-step coaching so people develop and progress as much as they want. There are management courses led by the McDonald’s training centre in London, support for degrees, and Kevin encourages his team to strive for continued professional development.
“Everyone in my management has come up through part-time or full-time crew jobs. We promote from within, they know how the business runs,” he says.
“It’s one of the things I love watching, seeing people coming through. They come in as a nervous 16 or 17-year-old, starting work and you have to explain to them how to sweep a floor and iron their uniform. Six or seven years later they can be running a restaurant.”
The new Broadland Gate restaurant adds another 60 full-time and 40 part-time permanent jobs, making his franchise team approximately 1,100 people strong. They range from 16-year-olds to an almost 80-year-old, with an emphasis on choosing people who want to work well.
He says many people are amazed at the variety of job roles too – way more than the old stereotyped image of fast food jobs just being flipping burgers and wiping down tables. Careers range from customer service to payroll, human resources, maintenance, business strategy, marketing, finance, supply and corporate affairs.
Kevin’s also happy that some of his restaurants have been invited to trial the new McPlant vegan burger, which will be prepared completely separately from meat and fish products in a system approved by the Vegan Society.
“I am a flexitarian, my wife is a vegetarian. It’s nice having a choice,” he said. If the trial is successful the McPlant will be rolled out across Britain in January.
Once a quiet crew member, now the franchisee supervisor for the newest McDonald’s, we meet Chaney Riches.
“I started my career as a very shy 16-year-old as a crew member while at sixth form. I worked part time, starting out in the kitchen and keeping on top of cleaning in the store.
“I remember being so proud to get my first job; the feeling of earning some money to go out and buy my own things really excited me. I was a crew member for two years before progressing to a shift manager.
“I moved through the training programme to second and first assistant manager. When I got promoted to a business manager at a store I helped open, I was extremely proud of the store and the team.
“Working in McDonald’s to me is more than just a job, it has taught me so much about working with different types of people of all ages and ability.
“I am now a franchisee supervisor, opening Broadland Gate – a new challenge for me and one I am really looking forward to.”
From restaurant floor to culture and wellbeing manager, Simon Bean’s McDonald’s career has been an exciting one so far.
“I started working for McDonald’s when I was 17, part-time for the new drive-thru on Gapton Hall Retail Park in Great Yarmouth while studying at college. There was a real buzz as drive-thrus were a new concept in the mid-90s.
“I didn’t originally plan a career with McDonald’s and when I finished my A levels, I started working as a trainee accountant, also working one McDonald’s shift a week. After a year or so I decided accountancy wasn’t for me so I started working full-time at Gapton Hall.
“I had my 25-year anniversary with McDonald’s in May. My career has included working for a franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah, with management training before moving back home. I ran the Regent Road restaurant in Great Yarmouth and I’ve diversified into HR, becoming culture and wellbeing manager this year.
“I’ve completed a Level 3 HR qualification with the CIPD and am looking to complete a Level 5 qualification, both from the range of McDonald’s apprenticeship schemes.
“I’ve had a good and varied journey with McDonald’s. I enjoy giving the opportunity for new people to join the family, helping people grow and develop as they progress on their own journey with us.”
Joining as payroll assistant and swiftly promoted to payroll supervisor at the Norwich office, Sabrina Caron is planning to head into accounting work for Kevin Foley’s McDonald’s franchise, gaining full training and qualifications on her journey.
“I couldn’t wait to start work when I left school. I didn’t want A levels or university, I did a business administration apprenticeship through City College and did other jobs with other companies before I started here nine months ago.
“More than anything you have to have the empathy to help people and to care.
“I do speak quite passionately about this job as I really enjoy the opportunities here. It is a really good company to work for as we do work well together. I am in an environment where I can keep bettering myself.”
Chloe Reynolds joined McDonalds when she was a student and this month takes over as business manager at the new McDonald’s at the Great Yarmouth Asda.
“I started my McDonald’s career eight years ago as a crew member at the Broadland McDonalds store near Brundall, working alongside my university psychology degree course in Norwich.
“I had no further expectations of the job. I’ve always been the type of person who puts 100pc into everything I do and will work to achieve the best outcome I can. Within a year my management team had invested time into my development and I progressed to crew trainer.
“I decided to stay with McDonald’s as the job was helping develop my skills in communication, management etc. I liked the job very much and also questioned how many other jobs would provide the same support and training.
“Within six months I was placed onto the management programme and completing a management course in London. Further courses and moves and promotions followed.
“I decided to start a family and returned from maternity leave at my own pace, increasing my hours when I felt comfortable. I had the opportunity to open a new store [at Great Yarmouth Asda] in June, which has allowed me to work with new people and contribute to developing the new team.
“Now I’m excited to take on the business manager role. If you put the time and effort into the job, the opportunity is there to progress.”