BUSINESSMAN Pritpal Singh has a hunger for success.
The affable 45-year-old gained a degree in chemical engineering and fuel technology – but got his first full-time job helping customers “fill up” as a trainee manager with McDonald’s.
This year, he marks a quarter of a century with the fast food business – where he is managing director and part-owner of 21 McDonald’s restaurants, including the outlet in Kirkgate, Huddersfield.
“The beauty of what I do is that every day is different,” said Pritpal. “It is great to get around and meet the restaurant managers. It is not always the case in big business that you get to see the boss, so I like to get out and about.
“Every day there is a different challenge to do with sales, profits or people. We talk about how business is going and what we could be doing to improve things further, but it all boils down to trust and I trust the people who are running the restaurants.”
Pritpal, who was brought up in Walsall, began writing for job interviews after gaining his degree in Sheffield.
“I was not sure what I wanted to do,” he said. “McDonald’s were the first to get back to me and they offered me an interview for a trainee manager’s post.
“I worked for two days in McDonald’s cooking, serving and cleaning. It gave them a chance to get a look at me and gave me the chance to look at the company. I enjoyed it so much that on the second day I stayed on to help because they were so busy.”
Pritpal worked as a trainee manager in Nottingham and after 11 years had risen to become area manager for a string of restaurants in south Humberside and Lincolnshire.
He decided to become a franchisee running his own restaurant – an option that is only offered to successful employees who have been with McDonald’s for at least 10 years.
In 1994, he was given the franchise to run the McDonald’s restaurant in Halifax and over the next 10 years built up the number of outlets to four.
Two years ago, McDonald’s offered him the chance to sign a joint venture partnership – bringing together his four restaurants with 14 McDonald’s outlets and giving him a 50% shareholding in the expanded business.
In June last year, the joint venture acquired another three restaurants from an existing franchisee. Next month, the business will buy two more in Harrogate and Knaresborough. The “empire” already includes McDonald’s restaurants in Leeds, Dewsbury, Huddersfield town centre, Shipley and Keighley to name a few.
“We have about 900 staff,” said. “With Harrogate and Knaresborough, that will come close to 1,000. One of the keys to success in business or life in general is how you deal with people. There is no substitute for working every day with people of all ages and skill levels.”