Clint Gulley was the guest speaker at the Apr. 11 meeting of the Cutler Bay Business Association (CBBA) telling members of his experiences as a McDonald’s franchisee.
Gulley has been with McDonald’s for 39 years and currently owns five franchises in South Florida. He had worked previously at Miami-Dade Community College and Eastern Airlines, with his wife a teacher at Southwood Middle School. When faced with the prospect of having to transfer to another state, he instead went into the management program at McDonald’s.
“The decision I made was not one from a financial standpoint, but it was a decision based on what I thought was best for my family and myself, something I could enjoy,” Gulley said. “For anyone going into business, you have to do something you enjoy. You have to have a set of core values that mesh with your employment.”
He attributed his success with the restaurant chain to one basic approach when it comes to both customers and employees, and suggested all business owners should follow it.
“I believe in treating people right,” said Gulley. “I was brought up in a family and a community where the only thing that was important was treating people like you want to be treated.”
Gulley said that he enjoys working with young people who are starting out in their careers, and he explained that while the franchise holders own the business, the restaurants are owned by McDonald’s and are leased to the franchisee.
“McDonald’s is a real estate company,” he said with a grin. “They sell hamburgers on the side.”
His long-range advice for anyone who owns a business, based on his own experience, was straightforward and to the point.
“You have to have a forecast, a business plan,” Gulley said. “You have to plan for the unexpected. You have to have an exit strategy for when you retire, whether you’re selling your business or leaving it to your son or daughter.”