Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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August 21, 2006

McDonald’s franchisee: The man behind the ‘M’

With sandwich sales now into the billions, McDonald’s is arguably the most recognized American restaurant concept in the world. But no matter how popular the concept, it’s the people behind any famous moniker that can make or break a business.

David Sleppy has been a McDonald’s franchisee for 20 years and he knows first-hand the importance of having a great team. Sleppy employs more than 400 people at seven local McDonald’s restaurants.

According to the McDonald’s website, there are more than 2,400 franchisees in the United States operating more than 13,000 restaurants. Future locations are chosen by the McDonald’s corporation following a careful analysis of demographic trends. They decide if an area can support a new restaurant. They also choose who gets to operate each new restaurant, based on who they believe will do the best job.

Sleppy’s first McDonald’s restaurant, located near the intersection of 10th Street and Girls School Road, recently underwent a complete remodel. The tear-down and rebuild took less than three months, but the impact is dramatic. The new look is crisper and more modern. On the inside, the traditional primary colors of red and yellow have been toned down, replaced by soothing natural earth tones.

In the kitchen, new stainless steel counters, grills, fryers and coolers sparkle from every corner. Sliding shelving in the dry goods area make optimum use of space, while dual drive-thru touch screen ordering systems promise a short wait for anyone who doesn’t want to come inside.

And more like an urban bistro than your average fast food joint, business customers can take advantage of the new free high-speed wireless computer access now available. A similar wireless network has proven very popular at the Avon McDonald’s.

Dan Keller has been with Sleppy since the first day, when both men were working hard at the 10th Street store, cooking burgers and fries. Today, as director of operations for Figment II, Inc., Sleppy’s franchise company, Keller regularly wears a shirt and tie. But he is quick to point out, there are no “absentee operators” at Figment. Everyone gets their hands dirty, and everyone has paid their dues, he said.

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