Burger-flip­per to in­ter­na­tional trav­eller


When Jef­fery Ben­nett started at McDon­ald’s, he didn’t ex­pect to be eat­ing squid-ink buns in Hong Kong some­day.

But, even as a teenager, he knew he wanted to climb to the top.

Res­tau­rant man­ager was the burger-flip­per’s goal.

‘‘I wanted to be the boss,’’ Ben­nett said.

‘‘I was de­ter­mined to get there, and there wasn’t any op­por­tu­nity to move up the lad­der back then.’’

In the 1990s though, the fast­food res­tau­rant didn’t have a clear suc­ces­sion plan for staff, so Ben­net quit and, joined Taupo’s Ge­orgie Pie.

Two years later, Ben­nett be­came the man­ager of Burger King in Tu­rangi.

In 2010, 15 years later, Ben­nett re­turned to McDon­ald’s Taupo, this time as the res­tau­rant man­ager, with 100 staff to lead and mo­ti­vate.

Taupo is home to the busiest and high­est-gross­ing McDon­ald’s in New Zealand over the sum­mer months.

Ben­nett said stress­man­age­ment was a key skill in the role.

‘‘You need to be able to deal with a lot of pres­sure, not only the fran­chisees but the McDon­ald’s com­mu­nity as well,’’ he said.

‘‘If you can take those pres­sures and deal with them well, you can go as far as you want.’’

Ben­nett’s suc­cess in the role has seen him travel to con­ven­tions in Florida, Aus­tralia and most re­cently, to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong McDon­ald’s are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, he said.

‘‘They’ve got a squid-ink bun, which is de­li­cious.

‘‘They’ve stopped sell­ing the Quar­ter-Pounder over there be­cause there’s no de­mand for it. But they haven’t told the USA head­quar­ters yet, I don’t think.’’

‘‘They do home-de­liv­ery... if you live within an 8-minute ra­dius.’’

While home-de­liv­ery was a long way off, ta­ble-de­liv­ery is set to start at McDon­ald’s Taupo in June, Ben­nett said.

‘‘When the cus­tomer uses the kiosk to or­der, the food will get de­liv­ered straight to their ta­ble.’’

Twenty-three years af­ter mak­ing his first Big Mac, Ben­nett won the 2016 na­tional McDon­ald’s Res­tau­rant Man­ager of the Year award.

‘‘When I’m do­ing in­ter­views, I let po­ten­tial employees know who far they can go. If they ex­press in­ter­est, we will def­i­nitely help them get there.’’

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