Meet Yolanda Travis, the woman who now leads the first-ever Black-owned McDonald’s restaurant.
The fast-food location was originally franchised to Herman Petty in 1968, making him McDonald’s first Black owner and operator.
Travis is now taking on the title at the Chicago location, as of 2007, with plans to honor its origins and community.
“I wanted to bring the community together and show them and tell them about this wonderful Black man, Mr. Herman Petty,” Travis said in a video interview with McDonald’s Corporation in 2021. “There are very few, if any, Black historical sites in the city of Chicago, especially on the South side of Chicago. So, this was my opportunity to give back to the community.”
New Renovations Will Educate The Youth
Staying true to her word, the location’s dine-in service area was temporarily closed for renovations that will cater to the younger demographic in the area. What’s more, the location is already working to integrate more advanced technology, according to the Chicago Crusader.
Additionally, a classroom area has been built to engage the youth in light of Black History Month and to prepare for activities. The section will include a flat-screen television to present information about Black McDonald’s franchisees.
The restaurant is already back up and running, but there hasn’t been an official grand opening for the remodeled restaurant as of this writing, Chicago Crusader reports.
Beyond renovations, Travis is keeping the heart of the restaurant alive. Therefore, customers should expect to see a mural of Petty and Don Thompson, the first Black president and CEO of McDonald’s.
“This is such a beautiful site to celebrate Mr. Herman Petty. He was a trailblazer and I’m happy that I was able to be a part of bringing this restaurant to the community and to McDonald’s,” Travis said during an interview with McDonald’s Corporation. “When I became an operator at this particular location, it was in bad shape and there were plans to remodel and at that time I said, ‘Well, we need to make it a historical site.'”
She continued: “The current progress that I wanna see in the current state is words suggest words. Actions suggest actions. We have to love each other. We have to understand that we’re all in this village together. Let’s not just put the words out there in the streets. Let’s not just make change cause it’s a quick fix. Let’s do it. Let’s make it permanent. We can make it, we can make that happen so that we all can be one loving, diverse McDonald’s family.”