• Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Veteran Ohio McDonald’s franchise owner paid workers amid shutdown: ‘I’ve been in their shoes’

ByStephanie M. Akbar

Jul 16, 2022

When McDonald’s franchise owner Tony Philiou had to close his store for renovations, his employees didn’t have to worry about whether or not they would get their next paycheck.

Philiou, an Ohio-based franchise owner, maintained payroll for the 90 crew members who work at its Mayfield Heights location, which is stationed in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.

The restaurant closed on March 28 and did not reopen until July 6.

“It wasn’t a tough decision for me,” Philiou told Fox Business in a phone interview.

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“I’ve been in their shoes,” he continued.

“I knew what it would be like if they didn’t have a weekly checkup.”

Philiou, now 90, immigrated to the United States from Greece as a child.

McDonald’s franchise owner Tony Philiou has been married to his wife, Effie, for 68 years. (Courtesy of Tony Philiou and McDonald’s USA/Fox News)

He enlisted in the US Armyserving as an infantryman in the Korean War.

He began his career at McDonald’s in 1962, at the same Mayfield Heights location he owns today.

Philiou’s starting role was that of a part-time fry cook.

“It was a great adventure for me and [for] many people I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from.”

He took on the role while also working full-time at the TRW Valve Division factory – an automotive and aerospace parts manufacturer in Cleveland. It has since been acquired.

The proud army veteran stayed with the fast food business for 15 years. He took over the Mayfield Heights restaurant in 1977.

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“I started from scratch,” Philiou said. “It was a great adventure for me and [for] many people I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from.”

Tony Philiou at the grill

Tony Philiou began his career at McDonald’s in the 1960s as a part-time cook. (Courtesy of Tony Philiou and McDonald’s USA/Fox News)

Philiou later owned and operated a few McDonald’s franchises in the area; but after more than four decades, he focused on just one.

He is co-owner of the Mayfield Heights site with his daughter and son-in-lawMary and John Powers.

The location underwent a renovation at the end of March. The project consumed most of more than three months.

“People are very proud to work in this wonderful store that we have just completed.”

“We needed to upgrade it, both in terms of facilities and equipment, and also [make it] a better workplace for employees,” Philiou told Fox Business.

“I’m very proud of the store right now. And people are very proud to work in this wonderful store that we just finished.”

Mayfield Heights McDonald's Google Maps in Ohio

The Mayfield Heights McDonald’s is located at 6225 Mayfield Rd. in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Before being renovated, the location had a red gable roof. (Google Maps / Google Maps)

Philiou said he currently has about 94 employees who work part-time on various shifts.

He hopes to grow the team to 105 people.

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“Our employees are extremely grateful,” said Philiou. “As for the community here, with whom I have the good fortune to work, they have been very supports us.”

He continued, “They also appreciate what we did to build a brand new store and what we did to get employees paid throughout the process.”

Mayfield Heights McDonald's Google Maps in Ohio Grand Reopening

The Mayfield Heights McDonald’s in Ohio reopened to the public on July 6, 2022, after an extended renovation project. (Courtesy of Tony Philiou and McDonald’s USA/Fox News)

Although Philiou couldn’t reveal exactly how much he spent to maintain the payroll, he said the Mayfield Heights site “would have to sell a lot of cheeseburgers to make up for it.”

But he is confident that they will get there with the support of the community.

“I’m blessed to be able to do this,” Philiou said.

“And I did it because what [my employees] have done in the past have made the store a success.”

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Tiffanie Boyd, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at McDonald’s USA, told Fox Business they were proud to have Philiou on their team.

“It’s stories like hers that have inspired us to celebrate even more crews stepping up for our customers.”

“I’m so inspired by Tony’s commitment to his employees and all the meaningful ways he’s recognized them over the years, whether it’s fostering team bonds with regular pizza nights or bigger gestures like helping with tuition and paying employees during restaurant renovations,” Boyd said. to Fox Business in an email.

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She continued, “It’s stories like hers that have inspired us to celebrate even more crews who step up for our customers every day with our ‘Thank You Crew’ initiative, where owners and operators at scale National are finding special ways to thank their crew and managers.”


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