Top award for Macca boss

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Steven James started at the bot­tom of the McDon­ald’s chain and in eight years has man­aged to scoop up an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised award.

The Toko­roa McDon­ald’s store manager was packed off to an all­ex­penses-paid trip to Sin­ga­pore and came home with the Ray Kroc award.

Named af­ter the cor­po­rate co­founder, it is given to the top 1 per cent of restau­rant man­agers in the Asia Pa­cific, Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion each year.

‘‘It was quite an emo­tional thing re­ally be­cause it’s know­ing you’ve not only been recog­nised na­tion­ally but in­ter­na­tion­ally.’’

Though he’s worked in the in­dus­try for sev­eral years, it was only last year when he signed on to be­come the manager in the South Waikato town.

To gain the award he stood out in as­pects like staff turn­around, mar­ket­ing, work in the com­mu­nity and profit. ‘‘You have to be one of the best.’’ And he’s cer­tainly proved that. The for­mer Auck­land ho­tel manager started with the fast food gi­ant as one of the crew in Taupo. He de­cided to leave the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and find cheaper living, which turned out to be one of the best life de­ci­sions he’s made.

Yet it was hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion that got him to a man­age­rial po­si­tion. ‘‘ I didn’t re­ally have a day off for two years.’’

The goal was in sight and he wanted to get there as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Though he also man­ages a Taupo store, he spends most of his time in Toko­roa. And he’s fallen in love with the lit­tle com­mu­nity he hopes to one day live in.

The amount of time spent out and about get­ting among it is was what helped him suc­ceed, he said.

‘‘One of the things we wanted to do was to spend more time out here.

‘‘There’s things we can do here that work re­ally well.’’

One of the ini­tia­tives started at the store was a ham­burger night where part of the prof­its made from the tasty treats went to­wards com­mu­nity groups.

It kicked off well and has cer­tainly gained sup­port from cus­tomers, ac­cord­ing to James.

Now with one of the top awards, James looks to­wards the fu­ture of own­ing his own fran­chise.

He’s started the long-winded process and hopes to get there in the next few years.

Af­ter only a year of run­ning the Toko­roa McDon­ald’s store, Steven James proudly holds his Ray Kroc award.

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