From Crew Members to Owner/Operators – Carlos and Lupe Wong’s Story
For many people, the thought of one day owning and running their own business is a dream. But the dream did come true for Carlos and Lupe Wong. With hard work, dedication, support, training and opportunities offered by McDonald’s, the Wongs are now their own bosses.
Carlos began his career in a Los Angeles McDonald’s at the age of 15 as a crew member, with the help of his cousin and meeting one condition–getting a haircut. “I loved my job from day one and took a lot of pride in what I did,” said Carlos. “I worked through the ranks: from crew all the way to Director of Operations, when the opportunity presented itself to become an Owner/Operator,” he added.
Carlos’ Owner/Operator opportunity was not in Los Angeles, but rather in New York, and he decided to pursue his prospect without hesitation, thinking “I’m not going to miss out on this opportunity, so I’ll take the chance. I packed my bags and here I am.” Once in New York, Carlos met his mentor, Frank Rodriguez, who helped him get established as a McDonald’s franchisee which would become the next chapter in his career.
Destiny brought Lupe and Carlos together. Lupe’s first job and career began at McDonald’s at the age of 18 in California. One day Lupe’s mother informed her that it was time for her to get a job. “My mother said, ‘Lupe I am already tired of working and you need to start earning your own way because I can’t support you anymore.’ I decided to apply for work in all my neighborhood McDonald’s restaurants. To my surprise I got called back from all three restaurants that same day. I chose the McDonald’s directly across the street from my home, which happened to be Carlos’ restaurant. The next day, I started my career at McDonald’s as a drive-thru crew member.”
Throughout Lupe’s career at McDonald’s, she had many mentors, but admired and looked up to Carlos the most. He had strong work ethics and demonstrated that he was unafraid to dream big. “Personally, I could not express the pride and joy I felt when I got promoted to store manager. I was given an opportunity to be somebody – something I had aspired to ever since moving to this country from Ecuador. McDonald’s and Carlos opened the door to provide me with that opportunity.”
Now married, Carlos views Lupe as his rock. Together, they actively support their community because they believe strongly in giving back to others, as they are grateful for their many blessings.
This was also the motto of the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc. One of Carlos’ proudest moments was having the pleasure of meeting Ray Kroc. “It was a day I will never forget. Mr. Kroc has been an inspiration to all of us who have had the opportunity to make a career in McDonald’s.”
“If there is one thing I would like people to take away from our experience is that McDonald’s is not just about flipping burgers; the company gives its people the opportunity and the training to have a real career,” said Carlos. “If you set goals and are committed and want it badly enough, you have the freedom and the opportunity to realize those goals,” he added. Lupe complemented Carlos by adding, “Make yourself proud because when you work at McDonald’s, you are more than a crew. You are a teacher, a mentor, and more. I love the career I have made at McDonald’s and have ketchup in my blood.”