Robert Pyles who was raised by a single mother now owns 12 McDonald’s franchises in Wisconsin. Pyles grew up with nine siblings cared for by a single mother. But now, he is one of the largest African-American employers in Wisconsin and he is using his past experiences as his motivation.
Pyles discovered his passion when he started working as a part-time employee in Wyoming to earn extra income while serving at the Air Force. He found out that he loves to serve customers
After completing a McDonald’s ownership training program within two and a half years. He took the opportunity to open a McDonald’s location in Milwaukee, as suggested by the former CEO of McDonald’s Corp., Don Thompson.
On February 14, 1998, Pyles opened his first restaurant. Though the fast service was not easy he never back down nor ever had the intention to quit. “I told myself ‘never let ’em see you sweat.’ I knew I had to hold true to what I believed,” he told Black Enterprise.
On his way to success, it was evidently clear that Pyles was never going to back down from one location, he opened another one in the next year and it continued growing over the years to up to 12 locations. Pyles believes that success in business isn’t measured by growth.
“You must be prepared for growth and pay close attention to profitability. You can have less stores and be more profitable,” he said. “My goal wasn’t necessarily to keep adding stores. I wanted to create a training center environment to let people see that an African American operator can operate at a certain level.”
He employs around 600 people in all his 12 locations. Aside from providing jobs to the community, he wanted to ease the burden of his employees in finding affordable housing near work. So he partnered with a friend who has a construction business and started Magnolia Realty, wherein they purchase foreclosed properties near his McDonald’s stores, rebuild them, and sell it to them at a reasonable price.
Though he had a very rough start, Pyles now lives comfortably with his wife and three children who work with him in his business. And he wants to inspire others to achieve what he has achieved as well.
“I think it’s really important to be both visible and accessible in the community,” he said. “It’s not enough for me alone to be successful. My goal is to help others get approved for McDonald’s ownership. I started with my wife because there’s no inherited ownership in the event that an owner passes away. Now I’m working on getting others approved.”