I’ve worked at McDonald’s for 50 years – I’ve loved every second of it

  • Paul Hendel, 66, owns 31 McDonald’s restaurants in New York 
  • He began working at a Merrick, New York location when he was 16-years-old 
  • Paul earned his first promotion in 1975 and his second in 1978 

A man who has worked at McDonald’s restaurants across New York for more than 50 years says he found his ‘forever job’ as a teenager. 

Paul Hendel, 66, began working at a McDonald’s in Merrick when he was 16 years old in 1973. 

Hendel began working at McDonald’s after his brother, a line cook at the restaurant, recommended him for the job.

Instead of quitting his job in 1975 as planned, Hendel received an assistant manager position at the McDonald’s in Glen Cove, NY, and eventually earned a general manager position three years later. 

Once he graduated from college in 1980, Hendel was left with the choice to stay with McDonald’s or apply for a job at Wall Street – he chose McDonald’s.

Paul Hendel, 66, began working at McDonald's when he was 16 years old in 1973. Today, he owns and operates 31 restaurants throughout New York

Hendel received an assistant management position in 1975 at their Glen Cove, NY location, and was promoted to general manager in 1978

His decision was seemingly difficult, with Hendel telling CNBC Make It that his boss promoted him while he was choosing between the fast food franchise and Wall Street.

Hendel said: ‘I was seriously considering putting my two-week notice in and the owner/operator of the restaurant, Peter Hunt, must have read my mind.’

‘He goes, “Paul, I don’t want you to leave. I’m going to make you a supervisor of five McDonald’s locations in Nassau County, and it’ll come with a raise and a company car”,’ Hendel added. 

The longtime McDonald’s employee sought advice from friends, and after researching job listings, found that his supervisor promotion came with a much higher salary than he would’ve made during his first year at Wall Street.

Hendel eventually spoke with his father who coincidently worked on Wall Street in Manhattan at the time of their conversation.

The first McDonald's restaurant Hendel owned and operated was in Brooklyn, NY

Hendel now owns and operates McDonald's restaurants in Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan

Once he brought up the promotion Hunt was offering him, Hendel’s father asked: ‘Do you like what you do?’

Hendel told his father that he loved his job, and that he must’ve been good since he was recently promoted.

‘He said, “Paul, if that’s what you like to do, and you’re good at it, stick with it because I’m not crazy about my job or commuting to Manhattan everyday”,’ Hendel added.

‘I’m so glad he gave me the advice I still love what I do.’

The opportunities continued to grow and his role at the fast-food quickly expanded in his 20s – overseeing operations and managing his own staff. 

The restaurant owner has not given much thought to retirement after working with the fast-food franchise for 50 years

According to Hendel, the opportunities at McDonald’s are ‘limitless.’

‘I’ve worked with people who started as crew members, then promoted to owner/operators in a few years and became millionaires,’ he stated.

Today, he owns and operates 31 restaurants throughout New York. He spends his time checking on employees, construction, and renovations at his restaurants.

He has been thinking about what it will be like to begin giving more restaurant business responsibilities his children, Mark and Lauren, who like their father, own and operate their own McDonald’s restaurants.

Once Hendel winds down from work, he hopes for flexibility to do things such as golf, boating, and spending time with family. 

The restaurant owner is not thinking of retirement yet, and told CNBC Make It that he does not want to have the word retired next to his name. 


Related posts