Dean Chapman snubbed university to serve burgers at McDonald’s but now runs a business with a turnover of over $25 million.
Dean Chapman snubbed university to serve burgers at McDonald’s but now runs a business with a turnover of over $25 million.

From burger flipper to millionaire franchise owner

It started as a part-time job to generate cash for a college canoeing holiday but now Dean Chapman owns four of the biggest and busiest franchises in the UK.

The 49-year-old chose to snub university to serve burgers for £7 ($A13) an hour at McDonald's in Leicester.

But he worked his way up the ranks and now runs four successful stores in Birmingham with a turnover of over £13 million ($A25 million).

Mr Chapman's blue collar parents, his dad was a painter and mum a machinist, were less than thrilled by the idea but he quickly showed that there was a future with the famous golden arches.

Initially, Mr Chapman was going to study to become an electrical engineer and would have been the first in his family to go to university.

The McDonald’s on Bristol Road in Birmingham is owned by Mr Chapman. Picture: Google Maps.
The McDonald’s on Bristol Road in Birmingham is owned by Mr Chapman. Picture: Google Maps.

However, he ended up getting a part-time job at McDonald's to pay for a holiday but returned from his trip to take on full-time work at the joint according to Birmingham Live.

"I remember sitting in class at college, putting my hand up to ask to be excused to go to the toilet and being told I couldn't and that I should have gone on a break," he said.

That was the last time Mr Chapman would be at college before he threw himself full-time into McDonald's.

The dad-of-three worked his way from crew member to running his own restaurant at 21 before becoming Leicester area manager at 27.

"While going through the ranks I got a lot of training and business qualifications at what we call hamburger university - an office in Sutton Coldfield," he said.

Mr Chapman eventually worked his way up to head of franchising UK in 2010 where he helped franchise owners run and manage their restaurant more effectively.

However, he resigned in 2015 because as he climbed the corporate ladder he moved away from what he loved - the interaction with staff.

 

FRANCHISE OWNER

So he quit to become his own franchisee and he started with two in Birmingham on Stephenson Place and Dale End.

Birmingham is the UK's second largest city and roughly the same population size as Adelaide.

It is not that simple to become a franchisee owner, as potential owners need to have an outlay of £100,000 ($A193,255) and be accepted for the application program, according to Mr Chapman.

"There is an extensive application process. Then there is a nine-month training period after that," he said.

The process is similar in Australia but requires an outlay of $A1.2 million and a minimum 12 month unpaid training program.

Successful applicants in Australia must make a 20 year commitment and open a regional location anywhere in Australia after training.

It’s not as easy as just being able to construct a good Big Mac.
It’s not as easy as just being able to construct a good Big Mac.

All McDonald's in Birmingham are franchise owned but Mr Chapman said that the franchisee model was not the popular model initially.

"It was not the UK model then. Now around 85 per cent of McDonald's restaurants in the UK are franchises. It has grown hugely," he said.

According to public accounts published for the year ending in 2018, Mr Chapman generates a turnover of £13.6 million ($A26 million) a year.

He puts his success down to hard work plus a little bit of luck along the way.

"If you put your heart and soul into the work, the opportunities are there."

Mr Chapman said that anyone can move up the ranks and that was the most rewarding part about being involved with McDonald's.

"I think it would be frustrating to work somewhere where there were no ways to progress - absolutely the opportunities are there in McDonald's if you want them," he said.



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