PER­SE­VER­ANCE AND DED­I­CA­TION MAKES SU­SAN ROCK N’ ROLL

Public Sector Manager - - WOMEN IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR -

In 1995, Mc­Don­ald’s South Africa opened its first restau­rant in the coun­try and to­day, it op­er­ates with over 260 restau­rants in nine prov­inces, and is one of the most suc­cess­ful brand names in South Africa and the world. The brand has also opened up en­trepreneur­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for fe­male fran­chisees in the in­dus­try and we are proud to share the sto­ries of two of these fe­male lead­ers. When one door shuts another one opens. How­ever, in the case of Su­san Ra­woteea one door closed, when she got re­trenched from a blue chip firm in the 1990 and no open door was in sight. Since the en­tre­pre­neur­ial Su­san was done with the cor­po­rate world she took on wait­ress­ing jobs in Jo­han­nes­burg and Dur­ban to make a liv­ing while she planned her next move. “I said to my­self, I don’t want to go back to into the cor­po­rate world be­cause I’d be stuck there.” Then the door opened and Su­san landed a Mc­Don­ald’s restau­rant as a fran­chisee 21 years ago. To raise funds to buy Rock ’n Roll, she sold ev­ery­thing she had and rented a flat. Her Mc­Don­ald’s Rock ’n Roll restau­rant, lo­cated on Sand­ton’s busy Rivo­nia Road, em­ploys al­most 70 peo­ple to­day and is open 24/7. While she now has four restau­rants in her port­fo­lio, for Su­san, it is the op­por­tu­nity to bring good food to cus­tomers and make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of her team mem­bers that mat­ters the most. “It’s ex­tremely re­ward­ing to see peo­ple grow­ing and de­vel­op­ing,” she says, speak­ing highly of her driven team and ad­vis­ing fel­low en­trepreneurs to re­spect and take care of hu­man cap­i­tal, their “most im­por­tant as­set”. Another crit­i­cal as­set in her own life is her in­nate will to suc­ceed. As an ath­lete, the for­mer Spring­bok swim­mer knows well that ex­cel­lence does not oc­cur by de­fault. She ap­proaches her ca­reer from the same an­gle. “In swim­ming, every sec­ond counts. Swimmers put in hours and hours of train­ing for a 5-10 minute per­for­mance or maybe shorter. At Mc­Don­ald’s we’re in a busi­ness that serves many clients every day and a lot can go wrong. The point is to be con­sis­tently good. What value is there in be­ing amaz­ing at lunchtime, only to be not-so-good in the even­ing?” Su­san, who swears by ex­cel­lence and cus­tomer ser­vice, doesn’t only laud Mc­Don­ald’s in­no­va­tive streak and cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity, but cred­its the chain for its ded­i­ca­tion to fran­chisees. She lists ex­am­ples when the cor­po­ra­tion stepped in to help one of her restau­rants that was hit­ting soft notes (due to ex­ter­nal fac­tors). “We’ve been with dif­fer­ent CEOs and each one of them has had our best in­ter­ests at heart. They look out for us. We know we can count on the cor­po­ra­tion even in the hard­est times,” says this fran­chisee, af­ter tak­ing a look at how it all be­gan. “When I heard that Mc­Don­ald’s was com­ing to South Africa I knew in­stantly that that’s what I wanted. The only prob­lem was how do I go about get­ting it. I ap­plied to Mc­Don­ald’s over a pe­riod of about nine months. I went to in­ter­views and they said: ‘we’ll get back to you’,” this pow­er­house re­calls, adding that dis­cov­er­ing Power of the Mind, Pos­i­tive Think­ing by John Ke­hoe, when she was in the throes of a dif­fi­cult phase gave her the kick-start to be­lieve in her­self. “I loved the (hos­pi­tal­ity) en­vi­ron­ment,” Su­san says of the months she spent wait­ress­ing. “The fact that I hadn’t had my own busi­ness and no­body in my fam­ily had had a busi­ness meant that I had to get spe­cialised train­ing and guid­ance if I was to be­come a new fran­chisee. I’ll never for­get the day when I re­ceived a phone call to say ‘you’re on the pro­gramme’.” Next up she was in Mel­bourne for six months’ train­ing and was at that point of­fered the Rock ’n Roll restau­rant. “The most amaz­ing thing is that I met my hus­band in Aus­tralia: a dou­bly glo­ri­ous thing!” At Mc­Don­ald’s we’re in a busi­ness that serves many clients every day and a lot can go wrong. The point is to be con­sis­tently good. What value is there in be­ing amaz­ing at lunchtime, only to be not-so-good in the even­ing?

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