10 pieces of business advice from McDonald’s Black franchisees

Julio and Andre McDonald's Franchisees

January 31, 2024

When you think of a brand as big as McDonald's, you might not realize that your local restaurant is likely owned and operated by entrepreneurs within your community. In reality, 95% of McDonald’s restaurants are locally owned. Julio Morgan Gillis from New Jersey and Andre Hill from Ohio are both second-generation Franchisees and successful Black business owners who are proud to operate McDonald’s restaurants within their communities. And while being an entrepreneur in any field has its challenges, both Gillis and Hill have found support in the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA), the largest organization of established black entrepreneurs in the world.

So, what does it take to be a successful business owner and a McDonald’s Franchisee? We asked Gillis and Hill to share personal advice that’s helped them advance their careers.

Whether it’s having the right mindset or taking advantage of the resources available to you, these are the 10 pieces of advice they have for aspiring entrepreneurs and future Franchisees.


1. Take advantage of the resources available for your community  

"The NBMOA has been a huge part of my success, and I've seen them advocate for not only the Black Owners/Operators but also Black employees. Community resources like these are essential to ensure all voices are heard and that the people who haven't had the same starting point as others can receive the support they need."

- Julio 

2. Your previous work experience can prepare you to be a McDonald's Owner/Operator 

"I've worked in corporate, flipped homes and even did mortgages in my early 20s. So, all these different experiences have impacted my work; I also look up to my mom's previous experience because she worked at a well-known automobile company and took her learnings from there and incorporated them into being a McDonald’s franchisee, so you can always utilize previous work experience you think might not apply."

- Andre 

3. Be aware of the commitment of being a McDonald's franchisee

"You're in these restaurants every day, not just Monday or Tuesday, and the days someone might not show up, it's your role to step in for them. It's a hands-on business, and you must be ready to fulfill any role, not just Owner/Operator if you want to build your business."

- Julio 

4. Serving as representation is a part of the job 

"I take pride in showcasing my job to people who look like me and question whether they can achieve something like this. I'm proud to serve as the example to remind them they can do it too."

- Andre 

5. Know how you want to define your business

"These are questions I like to keep in mind or ask people when they're looking to define or start their business that has helped me along the way... How do you treat your customers? What are your expectations of your customers? Is there an ordering process? Do you have an LLC? What are you striving for?

- Julio

6. Don't be afraid to ask for additional experiences 

"I would suggest shadowing if you're interested in becoming a franchisee, speaking with the general manager and seeing if they can put you in contact with the owner to get a better understanding of what they do and deal with on a day-to-day." 

- Andre 

7. Maintain a "forever" student mentality  

"If you're not learning, there's no way you can excel at being an entrepreneur; you may not have a degree in social work or accounting, but best believe you might be doing that work even when you don't expect it."

- Julio 

8. Don't let the size of McDonald's deter you  

"It can be overwhelming when you look at the size and magnitude of McDonald's, but they will work with you as a direct applicant if they feel you have the skills and drive, they're looking for, so still apply!"

- Andre 

9. Remember these three things that help make a successful franchisee and entrepreneur

  1. Value learning new things 
  2. Developing people skills  
  3. Hard work  

- Julio 

10. Exposure can help build confidence 

"Learn from those around you. Growing up, I had a family friend who was an Owner/Operator, so seeing him reassured me that I could do it. I didn't care if I was at the top or bottom; I kept the same confidence in myself, and being able to bounce back can set you apart." 

- Andre 

If you want to learn more about becoming a McDonald's franchisee, click here


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