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Harold Lewis

Resturant owner and operator Harold Lewis and his wife, Tina Lewis, have managed twenty McDonald’s resaturant franchises since 1987. Lewis’s father was the sole-proprietor of one of the largest African American-owned contracting firms in Los Angeles, California. Following the death of his father at age seven, Lewis’ and his mother kept the business going along with an uncle.

In 1972, Lewis met his wife, Tina Lewis, while working in the airline industry. Lewis was employed with United Airlines in management positions in sales and human resources; Tina worked as a flight attendant and an in-flight services instructor with United Airlines and Continental Airlines, respectively. In 1982, Lewis and his wife embarked on their first business venture when they purchased a Sir Speedy Printing franchise in Los Angeles. Lewis co-managed the business for four years and assisted in winning a printing contract with the U.S. Olympics Committee. He and his wife sold the Sir Speedy Printing franchise in 1986 and began the process of becoming McDonald’s restaurant franchise owners and operators. In 1987, Lewis and his wife established HRL Group, LLC and opened their first McDonald’s restaurant franchise in Sand Diego, California. From 1987 to 2011, HRL Group, LLC operated twenty McDonald’s restaurants.

Lewis has been a leader in the San Diego County McDonald’s Operators Association. As a community leader, he has contributed numerous hours and resources to a variety of community organizations and causes. In 1993, Lewis and his wife founded The African American Visionary and Inspirational Leaders (AVAIL) Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $550,000 to graduating high school seniors in the San Diego County. In addition, Lewis and his wife have provided scholarships through the Trumpet Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.

The McDonald’s Corporation has recognized Lewis’ contributions by bestowing upon him the distinguished “Ronald Award” which honors operators for outstanding service to the community. Lewis is also a recipient of the McDonald’s “Outstanding Store Award,” one of the companies highest regarded achievements.

Lewis lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife, Tina Lewis. They have three children: Jeremy Lewis (a second generation McDonald’s restaurant franchise owner and operator), and twins, Jonathan Lewis and Jennifer Lewis.

Harold Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.324

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/23/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Roscoe

Schools

Sixth Avenue Elementary School

Los Angeles High School

Admiral Arthur W Radford High School

Los Angeles City College

California State University, Los Angeles

First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

LEW17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Acapulco, Mexico

Favorite Quote

To whom

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

10/8/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions

Short Description

Restaurant owner and operator Harold Lewis (1947 - )

Employment

HRL Group, LLC

Sir Speedy Printing

United Airlines

Favorite Color

Blue

Tina Lewis

Restaurant owner and operator Tina Lewis and her husband, Harold Lewis, have managed twenty McDonald’s restaurant franchises since 1987. Lewis met her husband met in 1972 while working in the airline industry. Harold was employed with United Airlines in management positions in the sales and human resources departments; Tina worked as a flight attendant and an in-flight services instructor with United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

In 1982, Lewis and her husband embarked on their first business venture when they purchased a Sir Speedy Printing franchise in Los Angeles. Lewis co-managed the business for four years and assisted in winning a printing contract with the U.S. Olympics Committee. They sold the Sir Speedy Printing franchise in 1986 and began the process of becoming McDonald’s restaurant franchise owners and operators. In 1987, Lewis and her husband established HRL Group, LLC and opened their first McDonald’s restaurant franchise in Sand Diego, California. From 1987 to 2011, HRL Group, LLC operated twenty McDonald’s restaurants.

Lewis has been a leader in the San Diego County McDonald’s Operators Association. As a community leader, she has contributed numerous hours and resources to a variety of community organizations and causes. In 1993, Lewis and her husband founded the African American Future Achievers Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $550,000 to graduating high school seniors in the San Diego County. In addition, Lewis and her husband have provided scholarships through the Trumpet Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lewis is a member of the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation’s national speaker’s bureau, and the San Diego Chapter of The Links, Inc. She has also served on the board of directors for the Susan G. Komen Advocacy Alliance, and on the board of directors for the Scripps Polster Breast Center.

Lewis has received numerous awards for her leadership and community service including the California Legislature Assembly Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, the United Negro College Fund Frederick D. Patterson Award, the Urban League Equal Opportunity Award, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Economic Development Award. She also received the McDonald’s Corporation “Ronald Award” for Community Service, the McDonald’s Corporation NBMOA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2010 Women of Distinction Award.

Tina Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.347

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/22/2013

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

Horace Mann Middle School

George Washington Preparatory High School

Los Angeles High School

Los Angeles City College

California State University, Los Angeles

First Name

Tina

HM ID

LEW19

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere With Family

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

6/23/1948

Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Favorite Food

Creole Food

Short Description

Restaurant owner and operator Tina Lewis (1948 - ) managed twenty McDonald’s restaurant franchises in partnership with her husband, Harold Lewis.

Employment

McDonald's Corporation

HRL Group, LLC

Sir Speedy Printing

United Airlines

Continental Airlines

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tina Lewis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis talks about her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis talks about her Creole identity

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tina Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tina Lewis talks about her relationship with her father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tina Lewis describes her neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Tina Lewis talks about her early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Tina Lewis remembers her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Tina Lewis describes the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Tina Lewis talks about her family's move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis remembers Los Angeles High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis describes her awareness of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis remembers her involvement in the black student movement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis talks about her time as a flight attendant for United Airlines

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis remembers meeting her husband, Harold Lewis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis recalls her transition to the tobacco and pharmaceutical sales industry

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis remembers working as a flight attendant instructor for Continental Airlines

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tina Lewis recalls purchasing a franchise of Sir Speedy, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis talks about her business strategy

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis recalls her start as a McDonald's franchisee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis remembers meeting Hiawatha Harris

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis talks about meeting Reginald Webb

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis talks about Reginald Webb

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis talks about the McDonald's Corporations criteria for franchisees

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis recalls opening a McDonald's franchise in San Diego, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tina Lewis remembers building her first McDonald's restaurant

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis talks about the history of black McDonald's franchisees

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis remembers the opening day of business at her first McDonald's franchise

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis talks about the failure of her second McDonald's franchise, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis recalls the birth of her twins

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis talks about the failure of her second McDonald's franchise, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis remembers receiving support from Reginald Webb and Gerald Newman

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis talks about David Rowe

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Tina Lewis describes the expansion of her McDonald's franchise business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Tina Lewis talks about balancing her family and career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis remembers serving grits in her McDonald's restaurant in San Diego, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis describes organizing the first McDonald's GospelFest in San Diego, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis talks about the expansion of her McDonald's restaurant holdings

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis talks about the National Black McDonald's Operators Association

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis talks about her relationship with McDonald's executive Donald Thompson

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis recalls acquiring McDonald's franchises in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Tina Lewis talks about her children and her philanthropic activities

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis talks about passing her business to her children

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis remembers her cancer diagnoses

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis describes her experiences during cancer treatment

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis talks about her support for breast cancer patients

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis describes the changes in cancer treatment

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis remembers suffering a heart attack due to chemotherapy complications

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Tina Lewis reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Tina Lewis describes her lessons to her children about segregation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Tina Lewis describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Tina Lewis talks about the challenges of entrepreneurship

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Tina Lewis reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Tina Lewis narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Tina Lewis narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$8

DATitle
Tina Lewis remembers her involvement in the black student movement
Tina Lewis remembers building her first McDonald's restaurant
Transcript
So, where did this come? Wait, all of a sudden--when did this militantism happen?$$I was very much a mili- first of all, I'm an el- I'm firstborn, okay, so I'm very much take charge. And you know, even though when I started driving, my father [Charles Ricard, Sr.] said, "Don't drive the freeways." I drove the freeways. My father would say, "Don't do this." I would do it. I was just rebellious. I was al- I, and I wasn't as a very young person, but I--maybe that was part of my way of dealing with the fact that I was moved from my southern environment, my--this protected environment to now Los Angeles [California], which was very much, you know, not a very nurturing environment in school. It's not like I knew Sister So and So who was teaching this class or you know, Mother So and So who was teaching that class. It was totally different. I was just a number. I was just, you know, that's it. I was just a number. And, but when I got to L.A. High [Los Angeles High School, Los Angeles, California], I was very much a militant. I had the, one of the biggest, largest Afros on campus. I was very much involved in the Black Student Union [at California State College at Los Angeles; California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California]. I was--I knew Ron Karenga. He gave me my Swahili name.$$What was your Swahili name?$$Oh gosh, you're ask- Kimachu. And I was very much a militant. I would, I would be at parties with the--where the Black Panthers would come into the party. And I, I was, I was okay with that. I didn't have a problem with that, until one day one of them came in shot. And I realized you can't do this anymore (laughter). But I very involved in the black student unit and--union, and so, consequently, I never pledged a sorority, because to me that wasn't what I was about at that time.$$So this was a time really of a lot of tum- tum- tumultuous times.$$Exactly.$$Was [HistoryMaker] Angela Davis--'cause I know she told a story. And she, she was talking about how they called the Black Panther Party there the Pink Panther Party, 'cause--$$Yeah.$$--there were women, you know, involved in, in the party.$$Very much so. Now I wasn't involved in the Black Panther Party. I was just involved in the Black Student Union on--$$So what were--$$--campus.$$--what were you, what were advocating for as part of the Black Student Union?$$Well, equal rights, pretty much. I mean, we had not received what we felt was equal rights. I mean, we were still struggling for jobs, struggling for an education, struggling for scholarships. So that's what, that really was what it was about.$$And this--[HistoryMaker] Maulana Karenga, he was coming into his own too, right?$$Um-hm.$$Had he founded Kwanzaa at that point? He hadn't started Kwanzaa.$$No, no.$$Okay, 'cause he (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I think that came after.$$That came later, right--$$Yeah.$$--right. Were there other people's names that we might know who were active in that period that, you know, in the, in the community and things like that?$$You would have to call upon my memory, and I just--$$Okay, okay.$$--I'd have to go back and try and see if I could remember some of that.$$So now--$$That's a long time ago.$So how was the building of the first store? How does that, how long does that take? And I mean, you say you're breaking ground the next day, so how long does the, it take from the time that you--$$Let's see, we broke ground in September, and we opened in February.$$That's, that's quick.$$Um-hm.$$So staffing, 'cause it's a thing when you have to manage staff. You had not--$$We have to hire staff from ground up. That's interview- viewing at a construction site, exactly. That's running the ads, interviewing on site. I got to select all the decor, you know, the, the colors, everything, the layout. It's, it was very exciting, you know, to walk through and be--I was--we were on site every day. I can remember McDonald's Corporation wanting us to fence in the property because it was such a bad area [in San Diego, California]. And we said no. We're not sending that signal to this community. We're gonna be a part of this community from, from day one. And we're gonna have African American art on the walls of our restaurant. And it's going to be the community's restaurant. And remember, we're talking about a time when we had Crips and Bloods working in, you know, living in the same vicinity of our restaurant. We had a restaurant in the heart of all that, that was protected. That community were--they endeared us from the very beginni- beginning. They embraced us. We became very involved in that community from, from the very beginning. You know, we went--we were invited to homes of different community leaders and introduced. It was, it was exciting. You know, they welcomed us and protected us. And we had customers that told other customers if they were messing up, "You don't mess up in this restaurant," (laughter). So, it was it, it--we had a lot of ownership. That was our first baby. Now that was difficult for us to--when we sold and relocated, that was hard to do.$$Because that was--that's how you guys (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, we built--$$--started it.$$That's how we started.

Blanton Canady

McDonald’s owner/operator Blanton Canady was born November 25, 1948 in West Point, Georgia. His father was West Point’s first black police officer and his mother was a graduate of Talladega College. Canady attended Robert S. Abbott Elementary School in Chicago and graduated from Tilden Technical High School in 1966. At the University of Illinois, Canady was active in the African American Studies program where Val Gray Ward mentored him. He earned his B.A. degree in 1970 and was hired by Illinois Bell in telecommunications. While there, he enrolled in the University of Chicago and was awarded his M.B.A. degree in 1975.

Canady was hired at Xerox Corporation in 1973, but moved to American Hospital Supply in 1976. In 1980, a friend introduced him to the opportunity of owning a McDonald’s franchise. Assisted by his brothers Ronald and Mitchell, Canady obtained a franchise and then grew his business to seven restaurants with millions of dollars in sales. Following in the footsteps of Chicago’s Herman Petty, the first black McDonald’s licensee, Canady became active in the National Black McDonalds Owners Association (NBMOA) as president of the Great Lakes Region. Canady owns five restaurants including one at McCormick Place and another at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Active on the boards of the Midwest Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation and the New South Planning Board, Canady and his wife,Yvonne, have two children.

Accession Number

A2005.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/6/2005

Last Name

Canady

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

University of Chicago

Robert S. Abbott Elementary School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

First Name

Blanton

Birth City, State, Country

West Point

HM ID

CAN02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

There's Three Sides To Every Story. Your Side, My Side, And The Truth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/25/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Restaurant owner and operator Blanton Canady (1948 - ) owned and operated eleven McDonalds restaurants, and was active in the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, served as president of the Great Lakes region of the association.

Employment

McDonald's

American Hospital Supply Corporation

Xerox Corporation

Illinois Bell Telephone Company

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:17446,290:18160,298:18670,304:56633,751:70028,987:71315,1012:87445,1176:88235,1187:97095,1295:135450,1739$0,0:6270,85:7030,96:99620,1004:100040,1012:100320,1017:101580,1044:139763,1472:140274,1480:179977,1960:204540,2251:231764,2566:244130,2724:254214,2804:259250,2876
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Blanton Canady's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady talks about his mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Blanton Canady describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Blanton Canady describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Blanton Canady talks about relocating to Chicago, Illinois as a boy

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Blanton Canady talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Blanton Canady describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Blanton Canady describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Blanton Canady describes the sights, sounds, and smells of West Point, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Blanton Canady describes his experience at Robert S. Abbott Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Blanton Canady describes his elementary school experience in Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady describes forgetting his eighth grade valedictorian address

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady describes his experience at Tilden High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady recalls memorable teachers at Tilden High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady describes his computer software class at Tilden High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Blanton Canady talks about his early career interests in architecture

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Blanton Canady describes his experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Blanton Canady speaks about HistoryMaker Val Gray Ward and the black studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Blanton Canady describes the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's 'Black Student Union's Project 500'

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Blanton Canady describes pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Blanton Canady describes pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Blanton Canady describes his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady talks about deciding to pursue an M.B.A. at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady describes his experience in the M.B.A. program at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady speaks about his experience in the U.S. National Guard

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady describes his experience working at the Xerox Corporation while enrolled at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Blanton Canady describes being recruited by the American Hospital Supply Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Blanton Canady talks about developing an interest in entrepreneurship

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Blanton Canady describes what he learned from his experience with the American Hospital Supply Coroporation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Blanton Canady describes his experience at the American Hospital Supply Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Blanton Canady describes his experience at the American Hospital Supply Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady describes his start in restaurant franchising, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady describes his start in restaurant franchising, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady talks about the rewards in risk-taking

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady talks about his first McDonald's franchise

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Blanton Canady describes the difficulties of restaurant management

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Blanton Canady describes the pitfalls of managing a McDonald's franchise

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Blanton Canady describes his management style

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Blanton Canady explains the consequences of poor management at a McDonald's franchise

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Blanton Canady talks about black McDonald's owner-operators in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Blanton Canady talks about the first African American McDonald's owner-operator, Herman Petty

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady describes his proudest moment at McDonald's

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady talks about black-owned McDonald's locations in the Chicago area

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady talks about choosing themes for his McDonald's restaurants

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady lists the volunteer organizations he is involved in

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Blanton Canady describes being elected president to the McDonald's Association of Chicagoland

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Blanton Canady describes his future plans as part of McDonald's Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Blanton Canady explains the challenges in restaurant management

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Blanton Canady talks about senior citizen employment in the McDonald's corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Blanton Canady addresses criticism of McDonald's

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Blanton Canady expresses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Blanton Canady shares success stories about former employees

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Blanton Canady reflects on what he would have done differently in his career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Blanton Canady talks about his family's involvement in his McDonald's franchises

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Blanton Canady speaks about the deaths of his older brothers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Blanton Canady talks about his children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Blanton Canady reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Blanton Canady describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Blanton Canady talks about the first African American McDonald's owner-operator, Herman Petty
Blanton Canady describes his proudest moment at McDonald's
Transcript
Okay, you were telling us about Herman Petty and the first McDonald's franchise.$$The first African American McDonald's owner-operator and he started in 1967, right after the King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] riots [1968] here in Chicago and he was catapulted into his career and shortly after that, he and, I think, one or two other operators, two that came after him, around '68 [1968], '69 [1969], and a business consultant for McDonald's by the name of Roland Jones, they were having problems running their restaurants and they had no one to turn to. They didn't have a group of people other than the company and the company really didn't have a lot of experience of running restaurants in the inner city and so they formed this group, basically it was three of them plus the, the company representative called the Black McDonald's Owners Association [sic, National Black McDonald's Operators Association] and it was a self-help group and they had meetings every week and just talked about shared ideas, shared experiences, collectively tried to help each other solve problems and that's how it all began. And today, we're over 500 strong, we're all a billion dollars in sales, nationally, and it's, it's such a proud thing to be a part of because of what we've accomplished not only for ourselves and our families but in the communities that we serve. There's so many programs that we have, both on a national, local basis that, that offer our help to the communities and it's probably one of the untold stories really that's out there in terms of, a lot of it we don't seek publicity for and rightly so but each and every one of us is involved in some way in our own communities. So, it's, it's a great story to tell.$$$One of the, the huge things that I feel very proud of in my McDonald's experience is that I was part of a, of a movement, if you will, that really identified with McDonald's Corporation, the opportunity to be more fair and equitable in terms of the restaurants that we, as African Americans owned and operated, and we reached an agreement about seven years ago that in five years we would achieve what we termed parity and we were looking at one point in time, we were at the bottom, the African American operators were at the bottom of every success measure that McDonald's had, whether it be sales, customer accounts, whether it be profitability, a number of stores, as well as a number of operators as a percentage of our, our population. So we struck a deal. There were twenty-one of us that went to Oak Brook [Illinois] and it was under Reggie Welch leadership and we negotiated what we call in turn, parity. It was a five-year plan to take us from the bottom, to even. And I'm very proud to say that we were successful in doing that. Right now the African American restaurants lead the country in sales comparable to our white counterparts in profitability and as a number of stores and number of owner-operators, we represent about eighteen percent, very close to the SMSA [Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area], the census of what we represent in the population which was our goal and I had a very direct role to play in that which I'm very proud of. I was elected president of one of our divisions for National Black McDonald's and it was a Great Lakes Division which covered about eight states and I was in charge of the parity of movement, if you will, for that division and we were one of the first to achieve it. So, that's something that we really look as a legacy to hand down to the new operators coming in and as we, as we move forward in this process, you know our real determination now is not to lose the gains that we've achieved, that can happen very easily, and to maintain what we've accomplished and still have diligence towards the profitability. So when you asked the question, you know earlier about is there a way to mess it up, well, some of that is not of our own doing. You can have an extremely old facility that's broke down and hard to run in a tough area and you can have some very significant problems. One of the things I'm not proud to say, you know, we probably had as a percentage of our operators, a higher number of bankruptcies with African American operators than any other segment before parity. So in every success measure you want to take, we were at the bottom before we got involved in this particular development and it was, it was very--and I think McDonald's looks at it as a win-win today because they're garnering more sales through our efforts than before and so it's a positive thing for everyone concerned.

Reginald Webb

Businessman and McDonald’s franchisee Reginald “Reggie” Webb was born in South Bend, Indiana, on March 25, 1948. Growing up, Webb went to the South to live with his great-grandparents for a year to help on their farm in 1958. In 1959, he moved with his grandmother to California, settling in South Central Los Angeles. While attending high school at Manual Arts, Webb was mentored by his minister, the Reverend T.M. Chambers, and by an elderly Jewish woman his grandmother worked for named Sally Smalley.

In 1966, Webb joined the U.S. Coast Guard, serving until 1969. In the Coast Guard, Webb was first stationed in Connecticut, and later served in California during the peace movement of the 1960s, as well as the assassination of Dr. King and the emergence of the Black Panthers. After his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, Webb attended California State University in Los Angeles, where he studied political science. While attending school, he also became involved with the War on Poverty. In 1973, Webb joined the accelerated management development program of McDonald’s, and after spending time training in the restaurants, he was moved into the corporate division. After holding numerous positions with the company, Webb decided to become a franchisee in 1985, largely due to his desire to stay in Southern California. He started with two franchises in Pomona, California, and today he operates eleven restaurants in Southern California.

In addition to his franchises, Webb is the chairman of the National Leadership Council for McDonald’s owner/operators, an organization that encompasses 11,000 of the nation’s 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants. Additionally, he served as the chairman and CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association from 1994 to 1997, where he was instrumental in helping more African Americans to become franchisees. In 2004, Webb was honored with the 365Black award from McDonald’s.

Accession Number

A2004.153

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2004

Last Name

Webb

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Manual Arts High School

First Name

Reginald "Reggie"

Birth City, State, Country

South Bend

HM ID

WEB03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

McDonalds

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Baja California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/25/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Catfish (Fried)

Short Description

Restaurant owner and operator Reginald Webb (1948 - ) operates eleven McDonalds franchises in Southern California and has spearheaded minority initiatives in McDonalds corporate structure. In addition to his franchises, Webb is the chairman of the National Leadership Council for McDonald’s owner/operators, an organization that encompasses 11,000 of the nation’s 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants.

Employment

United States Coast Guard

McDonald's Corporation

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reggie Webb interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reggie Webb's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reggie Webb tells of his mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reggie Webb describes encountering racism in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reggie Webb's mother's childhood in Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reggie Webb talks about South Bend, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reggie Webb's father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reggie Webb's earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reggie Webb remembers growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reggie Webb's music experience through church

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - More of Reggie Webb's early memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Reggie Webb learns about the culture of the black community

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The part that television and radio played in Reggie Webb's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Reggie Webb's knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reggie Webb moves to different elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reggie Webb talks about being raised by his grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reggie Webb moves to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reggie Webb remembers his neighborhood in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reggie Webb's life as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reggie Webb's role models in childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Negative examples in Reggie Webb's Los Angeles neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - What Reggie Webb did for entertainment as a youth in Los Angeles

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reggie Webb's interests during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reggie Webb's plans after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reggie Webb's experience in the Coast Guard

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reggie Webb talks about the social climate in the Bay area in 1968

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reggie Webb's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reggie Webb's thoughts on African American identity in 1969

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reggie Webb's volunteer involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reggie Webb's ambition in the Coast Guard

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reggie Webb goes to college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reggie Webb talks about the Community Action Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reggie Webb begins his career with McDonald's

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reggie Webb's positions with McDonald's

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Reggie Webb gives details about being a McDonald's franchisee

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Reggie Webb discusses advertising for McDonald's

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Reggie Webb discusses why McDonald's is successful in black communities

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Reggie Webb talks about the National Black McDonald's Operators Association

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reggie Webb talks about McDonald's restaurants in high crime areas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reggie Webb discusses McDonald's advertising

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reggie Webb explains how McDonald's promotes healthy eating

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reggie Webb talks about children's habits with fast food

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reggie Webb tells how McDonald's informs its consumers on nutrition

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reggie Webb talks about the McDonald's National Leadership Council

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reggie Webb discusses McDonald's Second Generation Program

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reggie Webb tells about his future with McDonald's

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reggie Webb's concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reggie Webb talks about McDonald's 365 Black program

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reggie Webb discusses understanding different cultures in the workplace

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - What Reggie Webb would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reggie Webb tells about his grandmother

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reggie Webb's legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - How Reggie Webb would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Reggie Webb's ambition in the Coast Guard
Reggie Webb talks about children's habits with fast food
Transcript
What kind of things do you think you learned in the [United States] Coast Guard that you really took with you, you know, for the rest of your life?$$I, think the Coast Guard was where I first learned about ambition, you know. I went from an E-1 [enlisted rank], when you join to an E-5 [enlisted rank], very quickly, you know, in the Coast Guard because I was very ambitious, you know. I studied hard, applied myself, you know, really wanted to do, well and felt like doing well was very important. I wanted to compete, you know. Other than in sports or music, it was the first that I ever wanted to compete at a productive activity, you know. And I wanted to be the best at what it was that I did. I remember the--this was, you know, during the time when all the communication with the ships were Morse code. And we used to have a speed key, what you call speed key. So instead of taping down like this, the key had dots and dashes, and you went like this. And it, it automatically put the dots and dashes in. So it would go a lot faster. Well, the Russians were the fastest senders of Morse code in the world. And, I just worked and worked and worked to be fast enough to be able to read Morse code that the Russians were sending. And I was able to do that. And so that was one of the things that--ways that I could distinguish myself because I was the fastest at doing that on the West Coast of the United States. And it, became clear to me that in order to dis- you could distinguish yourself by being better. You know, that was--I kind of began to, say that business or, was like basketball. And I looked at being a radioman as being like basketball. You just had to score the most points. And I started trying to score the most points.$And especially these days, a lot of kids these days eat exclusively at fast food restaurants almost. And this is something that wasn't true when you and I were growing up.$$I don't think it's true today.$$You don't think so?$$I don't accept that a lot of kids eat exclusively at fast food restaurants. I haven't seen that to be true. But there are a lot of kids that have very sedentary lifestyles, you know, both, kids that aren't affluent and kids that are, you know, and more of the kids that are because they're on the computer, and more of the kids that aren't because they're in front of the television. And so it just seems to me that what you have to do, is you have to evaluate what is really happening in our society. And I, think we have two things that are happening in our society. One is our, lifestyles are too sedentary. And two, is that we're, we are consuming more food with that sedentary lifestyle than ever before. Well, the natural consequence of both of those are going to be obesity, fat, you know. And so we've got to get a point where we're back to more active lifestyles and where we have a more balanced nutritional platform. But, you know, you take a look at, our school systems today. Many school systems today, because of economics, have dropped athletics as a requirement. You know, when, we were going to school, we had gym every day, five days a week. We had gym every day, and we had all kinds of intramural activities that, in most school districts, that doesn't exist today, you know. And I'm, just saying that I think that there are a lot of reasons why the consequences that we see exist. And it's up to all of us to change the input in order to change the output.