Sunday, June 25, 2017

It’s an Own thing

For Eva Martin, owning successful McDonald’s restaurants in Las Vegas has given her many ways to serve the community.

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

Local McDonald's owner Eva Martin.

For 25 years, Eva Martin, president and CEO of Martin’s Grand McDonald’s, has taken pride in owning and operating three McDonald’s stores in Las Vegas.

In an exclusive interview with Las Vegas Black Image, Mrs. Martin recounted the ownership journey that she shared with her late husband, James.

“It all started when my husband and I lived in Chicago, and we had a vision to own a business, so we purchased a dry cleaning franchise. Then through networking opportunities we were able to secure a meeting with McDonald’s representatives. They interviewed us  and from there we began a 1 1/2 year intensive process going through McDonald’s Hamburger University and training to become approved as owner-operators of a McDonald’s restaurant. Owning a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago for five years inspired us to move to Las Vegas, because it was a growing market with opportunities to acquire additional stores.”

According to the company, “McDonald’s is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 35,000 local restaurants serving nearly 70 million people in more than 100 countries each day.”

Over the years, that global reach and market domination has made it more challenging for potential franchisees to integrate into the McDonald’s ownership network. However, important ownership possibilities do exist, noted Martin, as well as vast opportunities in supplier diversity and upper management.

“Twenty-five years ago, when my husband and I acquired our first McDonald’s restaurant, there were incentives for minorities to become franchise owners — although the initial investment of $200,000 or $250,000 was quite a challenge” she said. “Currently, you must have closer to $800,000 liquidity to be seriously considered. If this trend continues, we will lose ground, and I am committed to doing all I can to ensure continued growth in the number of minority owners and suppliers”

“There are still many great opportunities with McDonald’s. We have an excellent, high-tech training program, and career-minded people can grow from entry level to general manager, supervisor and director of operations. These positions come with great pay and insurance. I encourage anyone who would like to one day own their own McDonald’s to first work in one; begin working on a business plan, reach out to the resources around you, and pay careful attention to the financial planning component. A good credit record is essential, as is having a great relationship with your bank.”

Diversity is a way of life at McDonald’s. African-American, Don Thompson, is the company’s CEO. Black-owned companies supply McDonald’s with uniforms, foods, and paper products.

Ensuring that the next generation of African-Americans is prepared to lead in business has motivated Martin to focus her philanthropic efforts on expanding educational opportunity. “My husband died 11 years ago, so I set up a trust in his memory, and a scholarship program at the Ronald McDonald House.  Martin served as chairman of the board for two terms, and has established a legacy of educational scholarships which have always been near and dear to her. “I believe in education, because with it you can accomplish so much. There was a need here in Las Vegas to help families with educational scholarships.”  Through the Ronald McDonald House, Martin, fellow McDonald’s owners, and community partners, give out over $100,000 in scholarships each year to minorities. Additionally, Martin devotes a significant amount of time to mentoring and working with Las Vegas youth.

“I use my McDonald’s restaurant as a hub for teaching and mentoring when I hire young people to work,” she said. “Volunteering is also a passion of mine, and I participate in the schools through their reading sessions. I speak to the children to show them they can succeed in life, and the only person that can ever stop them is themselves. You can succeed if you get up every morning and continue to try. The only time you fail is when you stop trying. It is really nice for students to see and hear me — especially young girls. I can remember one young lady coming up to me and asking, ‘Wow! Do you really own a McDonald’s?’ I told that young lady ’you can do anything you plan to do or dream about! You are the only thing bigger than your dreams.’

Today, Martin is thrilled that her daughter, Robbie, an attorney, is working in the family business. She is also proud that McDonald’s is putting “a sharper focus on healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. We are constantly looking to serve and give our customers our very best.”

Through it all, Martin points to her faith as a guiding principle and motivating factor.

“I couldn’t do what I do without beginning my day and ending my day with God,” she said. “God takes care of everything else in the middle. With faith you don’t have fear — and that is truly how I live my day.”

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