June 3, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

It operates nine McDonald’s and over 1000 employees

It operates nine McDonald's and over 1000 employees

The daughter of a McDonald’s franchisee, Audrey Bernard realized a childhood dream by buying four of her father’s restaurants in 2021. The entrepreneur didn’t stop there, having since acquired five more branches of the brand on Montreal’s South Shore.

“I didn’t plan for such rapid growth, but the stars aligned for me to make these acquisitions. Today, I can say I’m at my X”, says Audrey Bernard.

She knows the world of McDonald’s well, having worked in the family business since she was old enough to work there.

Humble beginnings

She held several positions from cashier to division manager before leaving to work in the communications and marketing field for 15 years, including four years in Toronto.

“It was important for me to gain experience outside the family business to gain more credibility. I don’t want to be labeled “the boss’s daughter,” explained the man, who has three degrees in communications, change management and law. It’s a wealth of knowledge that will serve him well today in his new role as a franchise owner.

She returned to McDonald’s in late 2019 to assist her father in the day-to-day management of the franchises. Then came the pandemic.

“We then fell into crisis management mode. Despite the difficult situation, I quickly knew that I was in my place,” said the man who became general manager of the family business in the spring of 2020.

Change management

In August of the following year she secured her first franchises – her father had placed one – before buying five more in 2022 and 2023. She became one of the few women to own multiple franchises.McDonald’s in Canada.

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In total, its franchises have over a thousand employees.

To gain operational efficiency, it is important to develop an appropriate organizational structure.

The businesswoman, who is a mother of two children aged 6 and 3, decided to focus on operations as well as the human resources department.

To better meet the recruitment challenge, it has hired staffing experts.

“Unfortunately, in the current context, there is no magic wand that will help us find the staff we need. To promote retention, we invest in the well-being and development of our employees. Thanks to the Arcs of Knowledge program for McDonald’s, employees who demonstrate managerial skills have the opportunity to take business management training at HEC Montreal. Our director of Operations is currently taking advantage of this and two other employees are preparing for it. Paying their tuition fees is my way of supporting their professional development,” says Audrey Bernard, who also implemented a corporate culture based on open communication.

Franchisee and Entrepreneur

Franchising is often said to be supervised entrepreneurship. Audrey Bernard feels comfortable in this business model, finding all the space she needs to put her colors in her business.

“Despite standards to be respected, we have a lot of latitude to be and do as a franchisee, she said. I see only positives in being a part of the banner. We are backed by an experienced team, which is reassuring. I have always wanted to be in business, but I never wanted to build a business from scratch. I am a structured person. So, I feel good about McDonald’s construction. »

Does it have other acquisitions in mind?

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“For now, I’m more focused on making our operational transition a success, but I’m not ruling out the idea of ​​buying other franchises. I’m dreaming big,” she said.

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