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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
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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.