outside of a McDonald's restaurant
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
July 25, 2022 ·  5 min read

McDonald’s Owner, 90, Had To Close For Renovations. He Kept Paying All Of His Employees

The idea of compensating employees who are paid hourly when they aren’t working may not come naturally to some businesses. But for Tony Philiou, a 90-year-old owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Ohio, money isn’t everything. Back in March, he realized that he had to close to the Mayfield Heights locations for three months due to renovations. Now, this meant that his employees would effectively be out of a job. In the post-Covid world, getting employment again can be quite a difficult task. This is why the owner decided that he would continue to pay his employees while the location was shut down for renovation. He realized that putting his employee’s wages on hold would make their lives very difficult. 

Speaking to TODAY, the owner of this McDonald’s branch stated, “As I’ve been in their shoes, I could sense their concern.” He also mentioned that the initial reaction of his employees to this news was astonishment. And one can easily assume that the astonishment was tinged with worry. He also discussed his plans for closing, remodeling, and rebuilding the brand-new store. He had an idea a month back that closing the branch for renovations would require him to take care of the wages of the employees.

Read: Burger King Employee Hoped for More Than ‘Goodie Bag’ After 27 Years of Service

McDonald’s Owner had Been Paying his Employees Even When the Restaurant Remained Shut 

Speaking to his employees, Philiou stated, “You’re going to sit home, you’re going to get paid. I’m hoping that you come back with me when I open up the store to run a beautiful store in this lovely community of Mayfield Heights.” For the owner of McDonald’s, his journey with the fast-food establishment has been quite long and fulfilling. Back in 1962, he had taken a part-time job as a cheese cutter at a Mayfield Heights branch for 90 cents an hour. This was his second source of income, which would help supplement the renovations he had for his home. After 60 years of franchise ownership and countless promotion, the generosity of this owner was out there for everyone to see. 

Tony Philiou and his wife posing inside their newly renovated McDonald's location
Image Credits: Tony Philiou

While the restaurant was closed, Philiou took the time of checking up on his employees. And as one can assume, his employees were glad to hear from him. They appreciated the time they had at home. Of course, their secure time off gave them much less to worry about. The general manager of this McDonald’s branch informed the Washington Post, “Employees were floored, and they were extremely appreciative. I thought it was fabulous.”  The General Manager, Ed Kocsis, had been associated with the owner since he was 15. He did manage to complete his graduation from Kent State while he was working at the restaurant during breaks and vacations. After he graduated with a degree in business management, he started working full time.

In The Current Job Climate, Employers Have To Be Understanding

With the United States currently in a so-called Great Resignation, it is a matter of curiosity if anyone left the job. According to Philiou, the answer is a resounding no. Only two members of the staff left- and their reason was relocation. The owner stated, “But I got everybody else back”. Kocsis reiterated, “Our turnover is very low compared with other quick service restaurants. I think it’s because they enjoy working here, and they’re treated with respect. They feel good working here, so they want to stay.”

Philiou’s generosity has definitely reached the top ranks in the headquarters. Tiffanie Boyd, the Senior Vice President of McDonald’s USA, and the chief people officer stated:

“I’m so inspired by Tony’s commitment to his employees and all the meaningful ways he’s recognized them over the years. It’s stories like his that have inspired us to celebrate even more crew who step up for our customers every day with our ‘Thank You Crew’ initiative, where owner/operators nationwide are finding special ways to thank their crew and managers”.

Read: What Food Product Came Out the Year You Were Born?

The Branch Is Open Again!

The McDonald’s branch at Mayfield Heights did open up to great celebrations on the 6th of July. The reopening also served as a sort of Diamond Jubilee for the old owner. “It was a great opening because the dining room has been closed for over three years. To see them back, and have a chance to have a cup of coffee with them and chat with them, it’s been a blessing”. As it stands, the celebration along with the ribbon cutting was a major hit with the community. The crowd for the reopening was huge, with several checking out the appliances and the new equipment. 

The staff cutting the ribbon at the re-opening of the Mayfields McDonad's Branch after renovation.
Image Credits: Tony Philiou

For most business owners, the idea is pretty simple- be nice. If they are wondering how to be like this McDonald’s owner, there is no special recipe for success. All one has to do is embrace the kindness that humanity already has within itself. In a job market where close to 70% of the restaurants throughout the country feel like they are losing out, employers have to be empathetic. Philiou mentions, “My managers always acknowledge the people who do a good job. If you acknowledge the job that they do they will try to do even better next time”. He believes that managers often pass on the positives while highlighting the negatives of their employees. “Acknowledge them and tell them they do make a difference.

Keep Reaidng: Shaquille O’Neal Pays Tab of Over $25,000 for Entire Restaurant While on Date

Source List:

  1. His McDonald’s closed for months due to renovations. He kept paying the staff.Washington Post. Sydney Page. July 11, 2022.
  2. McDonald’s owner, 90, had to close for renovations. He kept paying all of his employees.” Today. Joseph Lamour. July 12, 2022.

    Lead image for representational purposes only and is not an image of Tony Philiou’s location.