These are the women providing the famous ingredients you love at McDonald’s 

Abu Mubarik August 22, 2022
Baldwin Richardson Foods Vice President Cara J. Hughes [left] and President Erin Tolefree [right]. Photo: Baldwin Richardson Foods/Entrepreneur

McDonald’s is undoubtedly one of the biggest franchises in the world. The story of the establishment of McDonald’s has been written copiously on multiple platforms. However, the role of Blacks in making the franchise a global branch has been largely underresearched.

First Trina Bediako. She is the CEO of New Horizons Baking Company, which she inherited from her parents. Her company supplies McDonald’s with pastry essentials like English muffins and hamburger buns. 

Before leading New Horizons Baking, Bediako said she worked for the company for 16 years. Before that, she was pursuing a career in telecommunications when she agreed to join her father’s business.

“I was happy with what I was doing, but I also knew it was important to work with my father,” Bediako recalled in an interview with the Entrepreneur. “I packed up my family and moved my three children to rural Ohio — and I’m not sure they were ready for me.”

She assumed leadership of her father’s company in 2017 but started as a head of HR when she joined the business in 2003. At the time, the company had only two facilities and 185 employees. Today, she is in charge of four facilities and employs more than 500 people.

What is more, she also restructured business operations to make them effective and efficient, thereby recording the highest sales revenue ever.

“I believe to be a strong leader you’ve got to listen first,” Bediako said. “You need to care enough about what your employees’ needs are and be willing to make the change. We want to be the choice employer and the choice manufacturer.”

Sisters Erin Tolefree and Cara Hughes on the other hand serve as president and vice president of Baldwin Richardson Foods, respectively. They make McDonald’s nugget sauces, hot fudge and other flavors customers cherish.

Like Bediako, the sisters also inherited Baldwin Richardson Foods from their parents and have made smart changes since assuming the leadership role of the company.

“We’re very grateful for this but also understand that this was an experience not everyone gets growing up,” Tolefree said. “We know that we’re here because of the people who came before us. We have an obligation to not only show up with excellence every day in how we operate our business but also create those opportunities for others. It feeds our souls.”

According to Entrepreneur, New Horizons Baking Company and Baldwin Richardson Foods have been working with McDonald’s for decades, helping the fast-food giant to meet the taste demands of millions of customers across the globe.

“People don’t realize that McDonald’s doesn’t manufacture anything, but this allows us to make an impact on the community,” Hughes said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 22, 2022


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