Danesha Smith Gives Advice on How to Become a McDonald’s Owner-Operator

Danesha Smith, owner of a McDonald’s restaurant in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of H and D Partners)

By (News Source:  rollingout.com) – TignerDanesha Smith is passionate about people. So much so, that after 17 years in human resources, she and her husband Andre decided to make the move to McDonald’s and open Sunshine and Sunrise Enterprises. “Moving from corporate to self-employment to entrepreneurship was a way for us to not only have an impact in our community but to build something very different for our children. And to [be] role models,” she said.

So what you need to know going into franchising, do your homework on the brand. … We had a lot of faith in the leadership and still have a lot of faith in the strategic direction of the company. [We believed in] the investments they were making in terms of infrastructure, technology, people.

As the vice president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operator Association, Smith continues to lead by example.

What advice would you give to women who want to start a business or become a McDonald’s owner-operator?
Oh, that’s a good one. For the record, about 90% of our leadership in our organization is Black and Brown, and they’re women. The one thing I would say [is] consistency is really important. With consistency, it’s not always sexy to be consistent. So what I would suggest for any woman entering, no matter what her experience is, or what her business experience is, is to persevere. Build relationships. There are relationship nuances that are important to be able to navigate relationships in any business, including McDonald’s. Know how to have conversations, speak with confidence. Look, people in the eye, know your business.What inspires you?
This sounds so cliche … Pollyannish. It’s my people. Every day, I am stoked to wake up to see where we can be better, bigger, and it’s my people. We work with really talented individuals. One woman sent me a wonderful text saying, “I really want to stay with this organization. What are some of the things that I can do?” We’ve had tough conversations, and the fact that I can have tough conversations with people, but they [still] love our organization so much; they love what we’re doing, they love the impact we want to have. So I would say the answer to that is our people. And of course our community, the customers, the way they respond to the things that we are attempting to do and be is just beyond anything I can put into words.

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