I’ve been representing fast food franchises for almost 20 years. They help me make a living and provide for my family, and I’m only one of the millions of people positively impacted daily by these businesses that dot our communities. November 16 is National Fast Food Day, and I want to take a moment to recognize how fast food franchisees make so many people’s lives better.
Fast food has a unique nostalgic quality to it. Most of us remember enjoying a kid’s meal, playing with new wind-up toy while we ate our french fries, or spending time at the McDonald’s PlayPlace. Fast food might call to mind rare special treats, rewards for meeting a goal, or family road trips. For me it was stopping at A&W on the annual trip up to my grandparents’ lake place. We loved how they would bring the food to your car and mount the tray on your window.
Those memories keep us coming back year after year. It’s part of what helps the franchise industry thrive. The process also joins a nationally recognized brand with the touch of a local entrepreneur who understands their community. I believe that combination is the bedrock of franchising’s success and lets fast food restaurants give far more back to their communities than other chain restaurants.
Having It Their Way
We hear a lot in the media about fast food restaurants’ job quality. But despite all the criticisms, from my standpoint the franchise industry produces a lot of upwardly mobile people. It is common to hear stories from clients who came to the U.S. with something like $20 in their pocket, found a job as a dishwasher at a fast food restaurant, worked their way up to regional manager and eventually bought their own franchise locations. The amount of self-made success among fast-food franchisees is inspiring.
Regardless of which side of the minimum wage debate they’re on, fast food franchisees understand better than most people the issues facing our country’s workforce. While many middle- to upper-class people talk about minimum wage employees in generalizations, fast food franchise owners work with this population daily and see the challenges they face up close. My clients are a part of the solution to some of the problems we face as a society.
My clients are also extraordinarily generous people. In addition to providing jobs, franchise owners donate significant amounts to the local charities where they operate. I had one client who donated a portion of their revenue to the local Boys & Girls Club. The operation was funded entirely by this franchisee. Others give away scholarships, raffle prizes, or meals. Franchisees are invested in the community and want to see it do well. Their success is intimately tied to that of the people around them.