Former advertising consultant, Kate Walker, has gone from commuting three hours a day, to becoming a self-employed McDonald’s franchisee, following a visit to The National Franchise Exhibition.

Kate and her husband, Kenny, were looking for a change of career. The couple wanted to try something different and had a restaurant business in mind. They have often attended The Franchise Exhibitions, and Kate explains how this led them to launch their first restaurant in 2004: “We first became interested in McDonald’s in 1992 when we attended The National Franchise Exhibition. Initially, we didn’t think we could afford it, however our perception was wrong. A few years later, we visited the event again and were immediately drawn to the McDonald’s stand – we kept going back! Twelve years after our first visit, we opened our first restaurant and we haven’t looked back since.”

Kate said:

“The exhibition allows you to meet with the exhibitors face-to-face, and presents an opportunity for a relationship to blossom on-site. We really saw the value of attending and I highly recommend anyone to go along. My advice would be to do as much research as possible before arriving, so you can ask the right questions and get all the information you need.”

Being competitive and determined, Kate and her husband were looking for the ultimate franchise opportunity – and for them, that was McDonald’s. Kate comments; “McDonald’s could not have been more supportive during the application process and that backing remains to this day. The support is one part of the process you simply cannot fault. Your success is their success, and they allow for lots of one-to-one time which helps the strong relationship to continue. McDonald’s is one of the most reputable brands in the world – it has always been seen as the best, and we wanted the best!”

Since joining the global franchise, Kate has expanded her franchise network and now owns six McDonald’s restaurants and employs a team of 450, including her three children who work in the restaurants in-between term time. The business is forecast to expand further in the new year, reaching 500 team members.

Kate comments, “Since launching our first restaurant, our stresses have become fewer and we have grown in more than just numbers. Kenny and I love working in a people business and our main priority is to look after our employees, as they are the ones looking after the customers.”

McDonald’s will be returning to this year’s event to host Franchisee Recruitment Insight Sessions which offer attendees an insider’s perspective on what it is like to be a franchisee with one of the world’s largest brands.