Can You Own a McDonald's Location?

This franchisee finds out whether it's still possible to buy into the prestigious fast-food chain.

If you wanted to, could you buy a single McDonald'slocation? Or is the chain dominated by superwealthy conglomerate types capable of gobbling up dozens of stores at a time?

Good news: McDonald's is still an accessible opportunity for regular guys, as former training manager Floyd Sims found out. Sims, who had dreamt about owning his own business since high school, first considered the option after a friend became a McDonald's franchisee about 10 years ago. His dream slowly became reality when, in 1997, Sims began the process of opening his own store. Says Sims, "I thought it might be an interesting opportunity for me to take that wouldn't be so risky."

Sims had worked for 18 years with a Fortune 100 company, serving in several management positions in the technical, operations and training aspects of the bottling and canning business. When he started looking into what type of business he'd like to invest in, Sims looked for one that would allow him to use his past management experience in the food industry and make him a part of what he felt was a winning team.

"I'm used to working with a company that's No. 1 in their field, and McDonald's is," Sims says. "I wanted to stay No. 1, to be a leader in the industry."

While going through franchise training with McDonald's, Sims did have some fears about going out on his own, but many of those were quickly dispelled. "When you step out there kind of by yourself, you're a bit hesitant," Sims says. "I found McDonald's very supportive through the initial start-up, and that took [my] fear away."

Sims' store opened in Atlanta in January 2000. He currently employs about 41 full- and part-time employees, and works five to six days a week on the day-to-day operations of the store and on different community activities. The hard work and dedication is what Sims feels makes it possible for anyone to have a successful franchise.

"If somebody really wants to be involved in the business on a day-to-day basis, McDonald's is a good opportunity," Sims says, "but be sure you want to do that, because this is a lot more work than people think."

Does Sims believe it's possible for a regular person to open his or her own McDonald's? "Yes, I do believe a regular person can open a McDonald's," he says. "I believe if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen."