Meet the man who opened first McDonald’s in Yorkshire – and now runs £54m empire

January 8, 2020

George Michniewicz was raised to value hard work – and that’s what’s taken him from being a trainee manager to a 14-restaurant McDonald’s empire.

The son of Polish immigrants – who fled to the UK to escape the Soviet Union – it’s fair to say George Michniewicz has made the most of his opportunity.

 
George now runs 14 McDonald’s across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire as part of his franchise empire which has grown to turn over £54million each year.

And he has worked hard for every penny of his success.

“My parents had a difficult life back in Poland,” George, 61, told Hull Live.

“My mum told me she would have to travel 7km to school every day.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

“My father suffered shrapnel injuries after fighting during the Second World War but he wouldn’t speak much about that time.

“They both fled Poland when the Soviet Union took over with its Communist regime.”

Rather than being a hindrance, George took inspiration from the graft and determinism to seek a better life his parents displayed.

“We were a blue collar family and my dad died when I was very young so my mum worked as a cleaner. That is where I gained my work ethic,” he said.

“My background and that of my parents drove me on.”

George came to McDonald’s in the early 1980s after he left school – when the chain was still years away from the high street staple it went on to become.

“I applied to be a trainee manager in my local Nottingham store which I took on until something else turned up,” he said.

“What really struck me was how the company was growing rapidly and that there were great opportunities.

“Looking back it was perfect timing and it is about taking the opportunity. With my background and the values instilled into me, I was able to take those opportunities.”

But his path to the top has been far from straightforward.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“It has not been plain sailing. I have had good times, bad times and very bad times.”

After stints at stores across the Midlands, George was promoted to business manager in 1985.

“I was in charge of opening Yorkshire’s first McDonald’s in Leeds,” he said.

“I was then promoted to area manager for West Yorkshire and two years later I was in charge of north and East Yorkshire as well.”

But his eyes were really opened when he was sent back to his parent’s homeland to oversee the launch of McDonald’s first store there.

“I was asked to go to Poland as I speak Polish,” he said. “It was an incredible experience as we ended up with 30,000 people through the door in just one day. People were queueing round the block all day.

“There were 500 people on the payroll there and that took some organising.

“It was at that point I realised I wanted to go into franchising.

“I was offered the franchise in Poland but I have a two very young sons aged one and three at the time, and it didn’t seem the right time.

“I stayed there for four months and then moved back to Howden before settling in Hessle where we have been now for 22 years.”

George’s first franchised store was the Jameson Street restaurant in Hull city centre.

“I took on Jameson Street in 1993 and I quickly took on three more at St Andrew’s Quay, Willerby and Hedon Road.

“The Hedon Road store was later replaced with the one on Holderness Road.

“In 2007 those four restaurants became 16 when McDonald’s had a push on franchised restaurants which was a bit of a risk.”

Since then the restaurants in Bridlington, Skegness and Grimsby have closed while new branches have opened in Boothferry Road in Hull and in Beverley – meaning George currently operates 14 restaurants across East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.

“It has always been my ambition to be in charge of my own business and run my own restaurant,” George said.

“It is a way of being able to control your life but it also means I have had to live and breathe the business.

“I have 1,400 people on my payroll which is a big responsibility.

“For most of my career I have worked seven days a week but now I can take a bit of a step back.”

Despite the success, McDonald’s has to continue adapting and reinventing itself.

“The transformation of the business has been incredible over the last few years,” George said.

“We have provided new innovative experiences for ordering. We will also be introducing a new app which will make the orders more personalised.

“We also have new digital menu boards which, over time, will be able to recognise what people order and tailor it to them. We have them at St Andrew’s Quay and will roll them out to other restaurants next year.”

George admits McDonald’s is not to everyone’s tastes and there has been much negativity around its practices and the health effects of the food.

“McDonald’s is very Marmite,” George said. “There are people who will never like us.

“There has been negative publicity and misinformation which many people believe.”

The chain is trying to change for the better too, with the introduction of new vegan options this month just the start.

“We have also pushed to reduce the amount of plastics by replacing the straws and the toys in Happy Meals,” George said.

“If people want to believe certain things then they will but just have to try and get our message across.

“We are a large company and we want to use that scale for good. McDonald’s is a very transparent company which has nothing to hide.”

As for plans to the future – George believes people are the key.

“For me the most important thing is to invest in people but if the right opportunity to open a new restaurant comes along then obviously I’ll consider it,” he said.

“There is a perception that people only work for McDonald’s for a short time,” George said, “but I have managers who have been with me for 25 years or more. People can progress rapidly within McDonald’s.

“Not just anyone gets a job at McDonald’s. Believe it or not, we are quite selective.

“But I love the fact that working at McDonald’s is often someone’s first job. They can gain so much in terms of confidence, team work and communications skills which helps them development and succeed elsewhere.”

By James Campbell & James Andrews

Source: Mirror

McDonald’s franchise owner expands Scottish empire

December 10, 2019

A Dundee-based McDonald’s franchise business is fattening up after securing a seven-figure funding deal.

 
Elm Restaurants, which is owned by franchise entrepreneur Nick McPartland, has purchased the fast food giant’s outlet in Forfar from McDonald’s using a loan from HSBC UK. It follows a strong performance for the site and an increase in staff from 96 to 135 over the last six months.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

Elm also owns and operates a McDonald’s restaurant in Arbroath, and has used funding to add a double drive-thru lane and 75 new indoor and outdoor seats to the location.

McPartland said: “We were thrilled to be able to purchase our new Forfar restaurant and HSBC UK’s support has been critical to enabling us to do this and improve the customer experience across all of our locations.”

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Elm Restaurants now employs 500 people across four 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants, in Arbroath, Dundee, Forfar and Monifieith.

Susan Rowand, head of business banking in Scotland, HSBC UK, said: “Nick is an experienced franchise entrepreneur who has a clear understanding of his customers and how best to serve the communities where he operates. We’re pleased to support ambitious Scottish businesses and look forward to seeing continued growth for Nick and his team.”

By SCOTT REID

Source: Scotsman

Fast food franchise boss to share his success story at entrepreneurs’ conference

November 19, 2019

One of Scotland’s most successful restaurant operators is to reveal how taking on McDonald’s in Falkirk helped him build a franchise group with turnover of nearly £27 million, employing 800 people.

Elliot Jardine, who joined McDonald’s management trainee programme in 1986 after undertaking business studies at Edinburgh Napier University, is one of the keynote speakers at today’s WeDo 2019 annual conference in Edinburgh .

 
Also speaking at the event in Dynamic Earth are David Thomson, of Dundee-based magazine and digital media player DC Thomson, Andy Tait, the chief executive office of Greenacres Group, Colin Ingram, the chief executive of Colin Ingram Ltd, and a leading theatre producer, and Charlie Smith, of Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International. WeDo aims to guide and inspire entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Jardine’s position prior to becoming a franchisee was to bring the McCafe sub-brand to McDonald’s UK. In 2004, he was offered his first franchise for two restaurants in Falkirk and has subsequently expanded throughout the central belt of Scotland including Stirling, Alloa, Grangemouth and Edinburgh.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

In 2018, net sales for his group of stores was £26.75 million, employing over 800 staff contributing £6.5 million in salaries in the local communities. In the past year, his restaurants achieved an 8.8% increase in sales with gross profit of £18.1 million.

Jardine said: “Being a McDonald’s franchisee does not entitle you to success. Becoming a franchisee gives you the opportunity to work within a brilliant system in order to be creative with local marketing and especially the development of people resulting in a thriving & responsible business. It’s often said that we’re a people business not a hamburger business. Being successful is about building a team that ultimately drives sales through consistent high standards of quality, service and cleanliness.”

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Jardine’s ethos is going above and beyond to give back to and champion local communities in and around the locations of his restaurants. With the help of his employees, Elliot has also raised significant funds for local foodbanks and other charities.

“Being a global brand, it’s also very important to act responsibly in the local area and contribute back into the community that you operate within,” he said. “I think it’s imperative to continuously develop & build a trust bank with your customers and be engaged in supporting the many good causes close to them.”

Related: McDonald’s Franchise

Through the McDonald’s philosophy of Scale For Good, the restaurants within Scotland have raised over £3.5 million through the Bag Tax which has built the 25 bedroom Ronald McDonald House at the new Royal Hospital for Children & Young People at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home from home for parents of sick children.

“Success is having both a restless and relentless approach to your business. The creation and ongoing development of a successful team is one of the biggest challenges that face most businesses and one that I spent the majority of my time on,” he will tell delegates.

By Kenny Kemp

Source: Insider

This brand new McDonald’s has opened offering table service

February 17, 2019

A new McDonald’s franchise has opened in Walsall creating 110 new jobs.

The two-storey fast-food restaurant is loaded with new technology including self-order kiosks, table service and the chance to order on your phone then ‘click and collect’ from store.

Local franchisee Doug Wright is the owner of the new Black Country chain which officially opened at the Littleton Centre on Wednesday, January 6.

The launch is part of a re-generation of the area which also includes a new Travelodge.

Mr Wright, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing a brand-new restaurant to Walsall. It’s fantastic to be able to offer more jobs within the local area with great training opportunities for everyone.

“I’m proud to employ a great range of people, from students, to graduates, to those looking after a family or interested in a change of career, my business employs people with a variety of demands on their time and with differing family or study commitments.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

“What’s more, the new digital kiosks and table service have been designed to make our customers’ experience as positive as possible and we hope to see a fantastic response to these features.

We are very excited to open our doors to customers and we look forward to seeing customers and staff embracing the new features in this busy part of the town”.

There are still jobs available at the Walsall McDonald’s , more information can be found on the recruitment team’s website.

Source: Birmingham Mail

McDonald’s adds bacon to the Big Mac for first time in UK history

January 28, 2019

McDonald’s will add bacon to its famous Big Mac burger recipe for the first time ever in the UK.

Until now, the brand’s star sandwich has consisted of two beef patties, Big Mac sauce, lettuce, a slice of cheese, pickles and onions.

This is the first time since the Big Mac was launched in the UK in 1968 that the fast food chain has changed its statement recipe.

Thanks to popular demand, the fast food giant is also bringing back two more burgers – the Grand Big Mac and the Mac Junior – with added bacon.

The Big Mac variants were originally released as part of a limited-edition offer by the fast food chain when it celebrated the Big Mac’s 50th birthday last year.

So, how much will these bacon-filled burgers set you back?

The Big Mac with bacon costs £3.09 and will include two slices of streaky bacon (the original Big Mac without bacon is still available).

As you might have guessed, the Grand Big Mac is a bigger version of the Big Mac.

It consists of sesame topped buns, two beef patties, two slices of cheese, lettuce, onions, Big Mac sauce and bacon and costs £4.08.

Meanwhile, the Mac Junior is a small version of the Big Mac and is made up of just one beef patty, a slice of cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles and Big Mac sauce, sandwiched together in a sesame topped bun. It is priced at £2.29.

The bacon-filled Big Mac, Grand Mac and the Mac Junior will only be available in restaurants nationwide until 19 March, so you’ll want to get your greasy mitts on the limited-edition burgers pronto.

Michelle Graham-Clare, head of marketing at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “The customer reaction to our Grand Big Mac and Mac Jr last year was phenomenal, the love for the iconic Big Mac surpassed all expectations.

“Which is why I am delighted to introduce bacon to the Big Mac range, a twist on a classic.”

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

On 29 January, participating McDonald’s restaurants in US will also offer customers free bacon in a launch dubbed “Bacon Hour”.

Diners will be able to add bacon, without charge, on the side with any menu item for one full hour from 4-5pm, local time.

The Big Mac was created by Jim Delligatti, a Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchise owner, who wanted to create a hamburger big enough to feed hungry steel workers who arrived at his restaurant after work.

Delligatti came up with the burger – that included two beef patties – and served it for the first time in his Uniontown, Pennsylvania, McDonald’s in 1967.

In 1968, the new burger was introduced to McDonald’s throughout the United States and went on to be known as the Big Mac.

News of McDonald’s adding bacon to its Big Macs comes a week after the good chain offered its customers free cheeseburgers for Blue Monday.

Source: Independent

McDonald’s criticised for not paying UK staff extra on Christmas Day

December 28, 2018

McDonald’s has been criticised by pay campaigners for its policy not to give staff more money for working on Christmas Day.

McDonald’s UK does not have a standard hourly wage for staff, with hourly pay ranging between £5.50 and £10 an hour depending on age and experience.

The fast food chain said there is no pay enhancement for employees who work on a bank holiday or Sundays, and that this policy also applies to staff working on Christmas Day.

A spokesman said: “Very few of our restaurants are actually open on Christmas Day, and we do not change our rate of pay.”

There are 1,261 McDonalds branches in the UK, and up to 100 will stay open on Christmas Day. These include branches in Haringey, north London; Small Heath, Birmingham; and Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Matthew Bolton, executive director of Citizens UK, which campaigns for higher wages, said: “It is disappointing that a global food chain that makes billions a year can’t find the extra money for the Christmas Day shift.”

How McDonald’s compares to other restaurants McDonald’s Christmas Day pay policy contrasts starkly with the policies of several other major high-street fast food chains.

A spokesman for Pret A Manger said that, while the majority of its outlets will be closed on Christmas Day, staff will be paid double if they do work. Workers at pub chain JD Wetherspoon will also receive double pay, while staff at the Slug and Lettuce pub chain will be paid time-and-a-half.

There is no legal requirement for UK workers to receive extra pay on bank holidays, and therefore UK workers are not entitled to receive a bonus for working on Christmas Day.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union, which represents workers in the fast food industry and argues all workers should be paid double on Christmas Day, said: “Global corporations like McDonalds who pay no extra for bank holidays or anti-social hours should recognise the sacrifices that their workers are making.”

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

Rights: Bank Holiday pay While there is no legal requirement for companies to pay staff extra for working a Bank Holiday, workers do have some rights when it comes to negotiating their pay.

The job advice organisation Work-Smart – backed by the TUC – says any extra payment is up to your employer, and must state this in your contract when you agree to take the job.

“If your employer has regularly offered you double pay in the past, such that it has become ‘custom and practice’, and they are now refusing to honour that norm, it could count as a breach of contract,” it said.

If you suspect a breach, WorkSmart recommends consulting your union representative or seeking legal advice. McDonald’s rival, Burger King, did not comment on its Christmas Day pay policy while coffee giants Starbucks and Costa did not respond to requests for comment.

KFC, Nando’s and Caffè Nero do not open any of their UK branches on Christmas Day. McDonald’s UK operates on a franchise model, meaning most of its branches are run by independent owners. A restaurants costs between £400,000 and £800,000 to buy.

Source: iNews

5 famous franchises shutting down all over the world

November 20, 2018

From fast food to fast fashion, franchises have always been a cash cow. Whether it’s Bulgari or Burger King, brands have helped defined the way we live our lives. However, it’s not an easy time some of the biggest brands around the world.

Before you dream up your business idea to make you the next king (or queen) of the franchise game, consider why some of these popular franchises are shutting down stores.

Famous Brands in South Africa

Wimpy lovers might be shaking in their boots following the news of Famous Brands closing some of its outlets around the world. Earlier this year, BusinessLIVE reported that the conglomerate – parent to SA brands such as Debonairs, Steers and Tashas – was closing dozens of outlets in Britain and elsewhere in Africa and in the Middle East.

KFC in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean news website Pindula recently reported that some KFC stores would shut in that country due to economic pressures. A notice issued by one of the outlets explained that because it could no longer buy chickens from the US, it was unable to run its business.

Capcom in Canada    

Gaming giant Capcom expects to report a loss of more than $40m after it closed one of its offices in Vancouver. According to US gaming news website Polygon, the move comes after the Vancouver team created only one mobile game, Puzzle Fighter, but the app did not perform well and was shut down only months after its release. One of Capcom’s biggest franchises is Dead Rising, for which a sequel is in the works.

McDonald’s in Vietnam

It has a mass following worldwide with more than 36,000 stores in 100-plus nations, but the one place McDonald’s just can’t seem to penetrate is Vietnam. In a CNBC news report, consumers said they remained loyal to street vendors’ affordable sandwiches. According to CNBC, McDonald’s had planned to launch 100 stores in that country within a decade after 2014. However, it has opened only 17 so far.

Related: Pros & Cons of Running a Franchise

Toys R Us franchises in the UK and the US

The closure of toy shop Reggies broke hearts in SA, but more tears may flow as Toys R Us may be no more too. The franchise filed for bankruptcy last year, facing debt of $6.6m, and is expected to sell or shut down all of its stores in the US. In the UK, the closure of 100 stories will leave 3,000 workers without jobs. Stores in France, Australia, Spain and Poland are set to go into liquidation.

Source: Sowetan Live

New McDonald’s to open in Port Glasgow creating 100 new jobs as seven other Scots branches get high-tech £4m makeover

October 16, 2018

A NEW McDonald’s is to open in Port Glasgow and create around 100 new jobs.

Seven other central-belt branches of the popular burger chain are also earmarked for a major face-lift as part of a massive £4m makeover.

Steve Tomlin runs the  popular franchise is expanding across the central belt.

Restaurants in Clydebank, Balloch, Anniesland in Glasgow, and Greenock are all being revamped with updates to their technology.

This includes touchscreens, self-order machines and other updates that have been added under the brand’s new enhanced customer experience.

The restaurants will also have improved kitchen layouts and a larger menu range introduced over the course of the next few years.

The expansion and improvements programme follows the opening of a new McDonald’s at the Great Western Road Retail Park on the A82 last year which created 90 new jobs.

Branches are set for a makeover

Branches are set for a makeover

Leven Vale Restaurants, a successful Clydebank-based franchise business run by Steve Tomlin, has secured nearly £4m of funding from HSBC to improve its McDonald’s restaurants.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The deal will see the new restaurant open in Port Glasgow at the end of October and the refurbishment of several other diners.

Grant Bett, Relationship Director at HSBC in Scotland, said: “Steve has exciting plans for his business as he looks to add to his portfolio and improve the restaurants he currently has, to the benefit of the local economies.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support this growth through a loan and debt refinance package and look forward to seeing where it helps take the business next.”

Steve Tomlin added: “The package HSBC put together was fantastic.

“It was more than just financial support, they offered well-being seminars for staff and group meetings throughout the process.

“The ambition of the bank overall matched our own and we’re thrilled with the support we’ve had from Grant and his team to date.”

Source: The Scottish Sun

McDonald’s and Costa Coffee shortlisted for the British Franchise Association awards

June 28, 2018

McDonald’s and Costa Coffee are among the finalists involved in the annual British Franchise Association (bfa) HSBC Awards.

The HSBC Franchise Awards acknowledge franchisees who show ‘outstanding business acumen, innovation and achievement’, with the finals being held today (28 June) in Birmingham.

Global fast food chain McDonald’s and coffee chain Costa are both in the running for the same title, Franchisor of the Year, as well as three other companies. McDonald’s has franchised in the UK and Ireland for over 30 years, recruiting 20 new franchisees from over 650 applicants within three years.

The bfa notes that McDonald’s has a strong engagement with each of its franchisees, organising meetings to pinpoint its priorities, while Costa Coffee has been successful in growth and innovation.

Costa opened its 1,000th franchise-owned store with one of its first franchisee partners and has introduced online tools, brand standards, store design innovation and more to assist its partners.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

Costa Coffee director of partnerships Jim Attwood said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the bfa Franchisor of the Year Award, which recognises above all, the contribution all our franchise partners, who have helped to build one of the UK’s most successful consumer brands and franchise networks.”

McDonald’s has seen 48 quarters of growth in a row, with 85% of its new restaurants being franchised to its existing partners.

McDonald’s head of franchising and field services Abel Campos said: “We are honoured to be shortlisted for the bfa’s Franchisor of The Year Award. We take great pride in the close working relationships we have developed with our franchisees and are delighted to receive recognition for this approach.”

Shortlisted for the Brand Awareness category is Riverford Organic Farmers, an organic vegetable box scheme delivering 50,000 orders every week.

Andrew Brattesani, the UK head of franchising for award sponsor HSBC said: “Franchise businesses are often the hidden engine of business growth in the UK and it is essential to highlight the important contribution both large and small businesses make to our economy.

“It is also important to showcase to people that they can run their own businesses and if you don’t want to go it alone, or haven’t got a strong business idea of your own, you can still be successful and become your own boss.”

Source: Verdict Food Service