Kerri Harper-Howie


Patricia Williams and her daughters, Nicole Enearu and Kerri Harper-Howie, have built an empire of McDonald’s franchises in the Los Angeles, California area. Combined, they employ more than 700 people in the community and generate annual revenues of almost $50 million. In April 2017, they opened their 13th franchise location.

Getting started

More than 30 years ago, Patricia, inspired by other family members who also owned McDonald’s franchises, took the leap herself. She was working at the time as a rehabilitation therapist, and her husband was a police officer for the LAPD. But they decided to cash out their retirement plans, and take out a small business loan to enter the world of fast food.

They opened their first McDonald’s location in Compton in 1984, but Patricia says it wasn’t easy. To become a certified McDonald’s owner, you have to spend some time working in the store yourself and take required classes.

Patricia told the Los Angeles Sentinel, “It was a pretty intense, a three-year program and I had two young daughters. But like most things in life, it was the right time and the right place. The opportunity presented itself so I jumped right on in and I haven’t regretted one moment.”

Growing the business

Because the McDonald’s brand was growing so rapidly in the 1980’s, the first location became a quick success enabling Patricia and her husband to purchase a second store.

However, shortly afterwards, their marriage fell apart and Patricia ended up buying out her husband’s share of the company. But through the years, she continued to work hard on customer service and marketing, which helped significantly to increase the revenue at both locations.

In 1995, she made the smart move of selling both of her stores… and purchasing five more. Now, according to the Los Angeles Sentinel, she is the owner of every McDonald’s in the city of Compton!

Patricia is also a recipient of the Golden Arch Award, the highest award that any McDonald’s owner/operator can be given!

Bringing her daughters on board

It was never really Patricia’s plan, but in the early 2000’s, both of her daughters ended up getting involved.

After making a major career change, her daughter Nicole went through the McDonald’s franchise training program for owners and purchased a store. She later went on to became the first female, African American Chair for the McDonald’s Southern California Regional Leadership Council.

Her other daughter Kerri, who is a lawyer, started out first by providing legal and HR help to her mother’s franchise locations. But, she too wanted to be her own boss, so she completed a training program with the Next Generation program at McDonald’s – a program for children of McDonald’s owner operators.

She told the Los Angeles Sentinel, “The opportunity to show my kids what it’s like to be my own boss is invaluable and I’m lucky enough to have a sister who I work extremely well with. She and I have been close our entire lives so that made the decision even easier.”

Creating a better experience… and community

Today, the three of them are together running a multi-million dollar company that provides hundreds of jobs to the local community. Via their non-profit organization called the Williams/Enearu Organization, they also provide scholarships to local students, and fund various local and national charities.

But technology and modernization in their community is also important to them!

Their newest franchise location features digital touch screens at every table, and self-ordering kiosks. But traditional customers who still wish to order at the cash register can do so via their HD television digital menu boards. The location also features Wi-Fi for customers who want to connect to the internet, and an innovative, interactive and digital Play Place for children.

Patricia and her daughters say that implementing these changes is a reflection of their ongoing commitment to enhance and contribute to the local community.

Source: Black Business