543 years and counting for Norfolk McDonald’s staff

A ‘job for life’ is virtually extinct, according to recent research.

The findings, from Open Study College, revealed that the average 30-year-old has had six different roles so far and the typical worker only stays in the same job for around five years.

But one Norfolk employer is bucking the trend with employees racking up an incredible 543 years of service.

K Foley Ltd, based in Norwich, owns 10 branches of McDonald’s spread across Norfolk and has 29 employees who have dedicated more than 15 years of their life to working for the company.

Of those, many started working for the company as teenagers including longest serving employee Julie Burch who started in the Great Yarmouth Regent Road branch in 1987 at the age of 19 as Crew Member and now works as Shift Manager in the Asda branch in Great Yarmouth. The 54-year-old said: “I have now clocked up 35 years working for this incredible company and can’t imagine working anywhere else. I remember how proud I was when I got my first job and I still have that same pride in my role. It’s just a fantastic place to work and you feel like you’re part of one big family.

Other long-serving staff include Simon Bean, who has worked for K Foley Ltd McDonald’s for almost 17 years and the McDonald’s brand for more than 25.

During that time he has moved from the restaurant floor to culture and wellbeing manager and spent some time working for a franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He said: “I started working for McDonald’s when I was 17. I didn’t originally plan a career with McDonald’s but the prospects are amazing.

“I ran the Regent Road restaurant in Great Yarmouth and then diversified into HR. I’ve completed a Level 3 HR qualification with the CIPD and am looking to complete a Level 5 qualification, both from the range of McDonald’s apprenticeship schemes.”

Like most of his longest-serving staff members, Kevin Foley, the franchisee holder, started his career serving burgers and fries too.

But he said the McDonald’s progressive career ladder means opportunities are open to everyone.

“A lot of people come to work at McDonald’s and they’re not thinking of a career here, they want a part-time job, but they discover what they can do,” he said.

“It’s one of the things I love watching, seeing people coming through. They come in as a nervous 16 or 17-year-old, starting work and you have to explain to them how to sweep a floor and iron their uniform. Six or seven years later they can be running a restaurant.”

McDonald’s has a detailed and comprehensive training programme with nationally-recognised qualifications, used worldwide but implemented locally. 

It involves step-by-step coaching so people develop and progress as much as they want. There are management courses led by the McDonald’s training centre in London, support for degrees, and Kevin encourages his team to strive for continued professional development.

K Foley Ltd employs approximately 1,100 people who range from 16-year-olds to an 80-year-old.


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