Ron Lofton owns five thriving McDonalds on Chicago’s West Side. He proudly shows off the kitchen at his highest-grossing location on West Madison Street. Employees hustle to make burgers in 17 seconds.
“We make every sandwich for you. Nothing sits under the heat lamp,” Lofton said.
Next Lofton opens the walk-in freezer and points to boxes upon boxes of frozen hamburger meat.
“[We go through] probably about nine cases a day. There’s 300 patties in a case. French fries, we get probably 70 or 80 of these on every truck. We get a truck twice a week.”
Fifty-nine-year-old Lofton became a McDonald’s franchise owner just 20 years ago.
Before that he was a well-paid executive at a hospital equipment company. He traveled five days of the week. On the job, Lofton witnessed blacks move up the ladder but get less-prominent titles than their white peers.
Meanwhile, Lofton says he brought in two-thirds of the company’s business.
“Yet I was paid the same or less than the other guys and my stock options were significantly less than what a division manager should’ve been getting,” Lofton said.
So Lofton asked himself: “whether I was going to stay in corporate America and make them lots of money. Of course in corporate America there’s always that glass ceiling for people of color. So I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted unlimited ability to determine my own destiny.”
That led him to the golden arches.
Lofton used savings and cashed out those stock options to further his wealth. He plunked down several hundred thousands dollars to purchase his first McDonald’s franchise…
Read More: Natalie Moore, WBEZ95.1