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New Owner of Carmi McDonalds Restaurant Serves Up Smiles at Kiwanis

imageStory and photo courtesy of Toby Brown.

John Moreland started his professional career in the Air Force.
He wanted to honor his father, who had lost his life as a fighter pilot in World War II.
It’s safe to say Pops would be beaming now over his son’s accomplishments.
One of the largest employers in Southern Illinois, Moreland is the owner of 12 McDonald’s franchises in the area, including his newest acquisition in Carmi. He was the guest speaker at Thursday’s Carmi Kiwanis Club meeting, where he shared some fascinating facts about the restaurant empire for which he works and the path that led him to it.
Moreland, who grew up on a farm in Northwestern Iowa, also owns McDonald’s restaurants in West Frankfort, West City (just outside of Benton), Herrin, McLeansboro, Johnston City, two in Marion, Carterville, Harrisburg, Fairfield and Albion. He employs about 800 individuals today and estimates he has employed around 30,000 during his 50-plus-year career.
“We have the lowest turnover of any operating group in our region, which is made up of over 600 McDonald’s,” said Moreland. “We take good care of our people. Our average general manager has been with us for over 20 years. I have one that’s been with us for 35 years. All of my senior staff has well over 30 years with us.
“The key to being successful in business today is your people. You can do a lot of other things, but if you take care of your people, they’ll take care of you.”
Moreland’s road to entrepreneurship was one less traveled, to say the least.
After high school, he spent a year at Iowa State University before becoming an intelligence instructor for the Air Force in Turkey. He lived just outside of Istanbull and was stationed there during the infamous coup d’etat of the government in 1960 (another coup d’etat was attempted in Turkey earlier this month).
Moreland eventually traveled all throughout the Middle East before retuning to the U.S., where he was stationed at a base in Austin, Tex. during the Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was born about an hour away in Stonewall. Moreland got to meet the President and most of his cabinet, too, on several occasions.
Moreland decided to finish his education at the University of Texas, where he majored in Modern City Growth.
After graduation, he went to work for a McDonald’s in Austin at a time when there were only two McDonald’s in the whole state.
He quickly worked his way up the chain and became an area supervisor, then opened up an in-house advertising agency.
He later moved to Milwaukee, Wisc., where he was a supervisor, then became Director of Marketing and Sales for the entire Milwaukee area.
He decided to buy his first franchise in 1980 and opted for the West Frankfort location when it became available. He still resides there today with his wife, Mary, who serves as the volunteer girls’ golf coach for Frankfort High School and is President of the local school board. The couple has two children, Michael and Stephanie, who are also in the business.
Moreland is President of the Tri-State Co-op, which consists of 54 franchises in Southeast Missouri, Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois, and also belongs to the Evansville, Ind. Co-op.
In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious Golden Arch award, which goes to only the top one percent of operators in the world.
“Our every-day goal is to provide good food in a clean and healthy place,” said Moreland. “We try to do that every day and are very proud of that.”
Some of the interesting facts Moreland shared about McDonald’s nationally and globally included:
–Over 100 billion hamburgers have now been sold.
–One billion pounds of beef are consumed by McDonald’s customers in the U.S. alone each year. That makes them about 14 of 15 percent of the beef market in the country.
–The company purchased 5.5 million head of cattle last year.
–Nine million pounds of French fries and one billion cups of coffee are sold around the world each day.
–A new restaurant opens every four hours somewhere in the world.
–McDonald’s is the nation’s largest owner of retail property.
–It employs one million workers in the United States every year, more than any other American organization, public or private. One in eight American workers has been employed by McDonald’s.
–It is the nation’s largest purchaser of beef, pork and potatoes, and second-largest purchaser of chicken.
–McDonald’s sales are larger than its nine closest competitors combined.