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BY Abu Mubarik, 5:00pm February 29, 2024,

How this father and daughter both became franchisees of McDonald’s

Father Harry Smith and daughter Mya Smith Edmonds. Photo: WISHTV/MCDONALD'S

Entrepreneur Mya Smith-Edmonds followed in her father’s footsteps to become a McDonald’s franchisee. According to her, the journey towards becoming a franchise owner dates back to 1991.

A baby at the time, she recalled that her father, Harry Smith, had become the owner and operator of a McDonald’s franchise in Texas at the time. “From that point on, I was absolutely loving it,” Mya told WISH TV. “Ketchup is in my veins.”

Her dad became a franchise owner in 1991 after working with a Black McDonald’s franchise in 1971 when he was 36 years old. Mya, then 8 years old, started working at her father’s store while in middle school during the summer. This would ignite her interest in pursuing a career path similar to her father’s. Her dad however urged her to finish school first.

“I said, ‘OK, dad, I definitely want to become a McDonald’s owner.’ He said, ‘Wait a minute, you have to go to college, get into your profession in college, and then after you work in that profession and you still want to be in McDonald’s, then let me know,’” Mya told WISH-TV8.

She would go on to get an accounting degree with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Houston in Texas. She also ventured into the corporate world after landing a job as a certified public accountant at Deloitte before becoming a program director for KCOH Radio Station in Houston.

While pursuing other jobs, becoming a McDonald’s franchisee was still a priority. And when the restaurant chain started a 24-month program on becoming an owner, she did not hesitate to apply and completed it within 12 months.

Mya became a franchisee of her first McDonald’s location in 2008, and in less than six years, she was able to secure seven restaurants in Central Indiana. This made her the first female African-American Next Generation McDonald’s owner/operator in Central Indiana, as per Houston Style Magazine.

“McDonald’s, is the cream of the crop the best of the best? We’re No. 1. So, therefore, being an African American and being a McDonald’s owner operator, it’s huge,” she said in a video shared on Instagram.

“I’m a next generation as far as my parents were in the business, but my story is a lot different than the average next generation. I didn’t come in and get into my parent’s organization. So the road to going on your own is completely different because you build your entire office and your entire team. I was the very first African American to be a next-gen in Indiana. That’s just a testament to itself about how far we have come.”

Mya also received a Ray Kroc Award, which is only given to the top 1% performers in the McDonald’s system.

The number of Black McDonald’s franchise owners has decreased in recent years. A report stated that in 2008, there were 304 Black franchise owners, however, in 2017, there were less than 250 Black franchise owners. Black McDonald’s franchisees often say that they face financial inequality. Throughout Smith’s career, there were few Black franchise owners and he and his daughter are now hoping to reverse the status quo.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 29, 2024


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