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McDonald’s franchisee with ‘ketchup in his veins’ clocks up a quarter of a century

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The first second-generation franchisee of McDonald’s – who says he was born with “ketchup in his veins” – has clocked up quarter of a century with the brand.Kevin Foley owns 14 restaurants across Norfolk, including on Lynn’s Hardwick Industrial Estate, the town’s High Street, and West Lynn close to the Pullover Roundabout.He is the son of the very first UK company employee to be granted a franchise and followed in the footsteps of his father. He now employs 1,600 staff and serves 16,000 Happy Meals and 28,400 coffees per week.

Kevin Foley

He said: “25 years ago today saw the direction of my life change completely.“Buying my first store from my Dad was a daunting time but having my family, especially my recently married wife Nicola, behind me was such a huge help and motivator. “Great staff, some of whom still work with me, are the key to lasting this time.

Kevin and his father

“We’ve had some great times and not-so-great times in business, but we have all done what we are good at – we breathe, take stock of the situation, make a strong plan, and execute it well.“Marking a silver jubilee is quite something for any business and I thank staff, customers, suppliers and supporters of all the charity events we have held over the years for being part of the journey.”The Foley family’s lives have been entwined with the evolution of the McDonald’s brand in the UK ever since Kevin’s father Terry began working at its Woolwich branch in London in the 1970s.

Fred Turner with Dad Foley

He worked alongside Paul Preston, the former president and chief executive officer of McDonald’s UK, who saw promise in his dedication and put Terry through the McDonald’s management programme.This led to several promotions, one of which involved the opening and development of its stores in Central London and the South Coast. Kevin, only 12 at the time, would often join him as he toured stores on the weekends, carrying out customer satisfaction reports and audits – and when he reached 14, he took a part-time job at the Eltham High Street branch in London.Kevin said: “From the moment I started I loved it. The buzz, the teamwork, and the family feel of the brand.

Kevin in his first manager position at Mcdonalds

“When dad was offered the chance to become the first UK company employee to be granted a franchise, we moved to Norwich, and I took on my first permanent role at the former Westlegate branch. “In 1995 I ran the Wroxham branch for him, before taking on the role of store manager at Tuckswood.“This was when I started exploring the concept of second-generation franchising which allows a son or daughter to buy into the business through the purchase of one of their parent’s stores.

Kevin’s Wroxham takeover

“A year later, I acquired the Tuckswood branch from dad.” His empire quickly grew, and following the success at Tuckswood, he opened the Norwich Airport and Broadlands Service Area restaurant before purchasing the Beccles Drive Thru, the Regent Road branch in Great Yarmouth, and Gapton Hall, Great Yarmouth.In 2020 he added Snetterton, and a year later Cromer, ASDA Great Yarmouth, and Broadland Gate became part of his collection. He now also owns restaurants on the Hardwick, Lynn’s High Street, West Lynn, and Wroxham, bringing the total restaurants under the K Foley Ltd banner to 14. Over the last quarter of a century, Kevin and his staff have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.This has included sponsored walks for the Prevent Suicide Challenge on behalf of MIND, volunteering days at Clinks Care Farm and Lingwood Care Farm, Toft Monks, a charity rally in aid of Norwich City FC’s Community Sports Foundation.They have also conducted litter picks, sponsored a range of junior football and rugby teams in Norfolk, and hosted raffles and events for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).In 2022, Kevin also joined a convoy of vehicles that took humanitarian aid to the Ukraine border after securing donations of trauma kits, sleeping bags, generators, camp beds, cooking stoves, and first aid kits as well as clothes, food, toiletries and medical supplies.

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