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McDonald's Re-Opening Brings Excitement & Jobs To The Bronx Community

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Juan Antonio Rodriguez

To Juan Antonio Rodriguez, also known to many as Tony, McDonald’s did nоt just provide a job, it provided a 30 year career as an owner operator.

Rodriguez was 18, a recent arrival from Puerto Rico and Kingsborough Community College student, when he first started working at McDonald’s.

“There was a McDonald’s near where I was living in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn which offered me flexible hours. I applied and got a job working the night shift so I was able to go to school during the day,” he says.

Many years and promotions later, Rodriguez proudly owns and operates 15 McDonald’s stores including the restaurant at 2505 Southern Boulevard. About the recent re-opening last Friday, July 20th Rodriguez says, “I am excited to come back to a new store. I will be hiring from within the community.“

The 1970s-era building has been gut-renovated down to the ground, rebuilt to include such state-of-the art amenities as selforder kiosks, table service and McDelivery with the UberEats app. “With Mobile Order and Pay, people can order, pay, and once they pull into the parking lot and park, their order will be brought out to them. We will have digital menu-boards and a tandem drive-thru, where two cars can order at once,” Rodriguez says. With a prime location across from the Bronx Zoo, this McDonald’s offers family-focused events and activities. “We are proud to have been there for a long time. We usually have Wednesday family nights where the kids get free ice cream, a great value on Happy Meals and a welcoming atmosphere.”

In honor of the re-opening, many special family-oriented events are scheduled throughout July, August and September. Highlights include music - we will have a mariachi and a DJ on different weekends, a petting zoo, a fire safety prevention appearance from the FDNY, a magician, Facepainting, a photo booth, and other fun-filled activities. Children’s author, Sabrina Miller, will sign copies of her newest book, “Questions for Breakfast”, where the first 75 children will get a free copy, and Rodriguez will also donate copies to the Ronald McDonald House. There will also be a sweepstakes for the chance to win a 40" TV, Yankee tickets, LI Aquarium tickets and some other great prizes.

It is not just a new building that awaits guests, but also new menu items and special offers. Rodriguez highlights the Signature Crafted Sandwiches and the new fresh beef Quarter Pounder, which are now available. Special value offers include $1 any size soft drinks, $1 small coffee, $3.00 Happy Meals (hamburger, cheeseburger or four piece Chicken McNuggets) and $2.00 small McCafe beverages.

Rodriguez continues the positive cycle of hiring and promoting locally that he benefited from. His journey led him from working the french fry station, to restaurant manager, to General Manager, to the supervisor of multiple restaurants. He took a break to work in law enforcement, then in 1988 he had the opportunity to purchase his first restaurant in Bronx. “The Bronx became my community. I hire from within the community, which is where all of my managers have come from. Some of my employees started with me at 17 or 18 years old, and now they are my supervisors - whether it be running four or five restaurants each, or run the organization’s training or human resources department. And some of my employees have moved on to become owner operators themselves.” Rodriguez believes McDonald’s does not offer just a job, but more importantly, it also offers the opportunity for entrepreneurialism. “A lot of the kids who work in my stores come from the neighborhood and now their children work for our organization. When I walk around my stores, I see my employees’ children who come back from their college break to work for me. It’s a family business, my McDonald’s family. They call me "Papi," which means Dad in Spanish", he says.

Rodriguez believes its important to give back to the community and he has been honored extensively for his philanthropy. Highlights include the Ronald Award from McDonald’s Corporation in recognition of his commitment to excellence within his stores and organization and his dedication and ongoing support to the communities in which he does business, the Business Leadership Award for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Committee, Long Island Hispanic Business Person of the Year, New York State Businessman of the Year, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Meritorious Service award for distinguished volunteer services, 40th Precinct Community Council Award and Bronx Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recognition award for support and participation of Three Kings Day event. He is also an honorary member of Ronald McDonald House in Puerto Rico, former member of the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House on Long Island and member of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

 

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