Brundall McDonald’s Customer Experience Leader meets government minister in London

Last month one of K Foley’s longest serving team members was invited to attend a special event in London to highlight the McDonald’s apprenticeship scheme.

Lei Zhao Gennaris joined other apprentices from around the country to attend the re-opening of Hamburger University in East Finchley, where apprentices are given hands-on training.

As part of the day, the attendees took part in a round table with the minister for Equalities and Levelling Up, Kemi Badenoch, who is also a former McDonald’s employee.

Lei, who has worked for the K Foley McDonald’s franchise for nine years, represented our Brundall restaurant exceptionally well, being described as a “star” by those who ran the event.

On the day Lei was proud to take her place among a group of apprentices and give an account of what being a customer service level 2 apprentice involves.

She said: “I had already been working here for many years, but I felt like I needed a new challenge so when I saw the poster for the apprenticeship scheme, I spoke with my manager who was really supportive and said ‘go for it’ so I did.

“I applied online and was accepted; I was so happy because sometimes I feel that because I am originally from China and English is my second language that I might not be good enough. My team helped me and reassured me that I can do it and I am so glad I did.

“I really enjoy it and it helps me to be better in my work, have more knowledge and more understanding which is great.”

Lei was delighted to be asked to be part of the event in London, explaining:

“When I was asked to go to London to meet the Minister as part of the reopening of the Hamburger University, I couldn’t believe it.

“I was so scared, but I said, ‘I will give it a go’ and it was the best thing that ever happened. I never thought I would be sitting there with a government minister sharing my story and hearing hers.

“It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have, you can achieve things you want to. Many people start out from the same point, and it just showed me that slowly you can take the steps to get to where you want to.

“I feel I have had so much encouragement and that means a lot. I am really grateful to everyone at K Foley and my team for how they helped me have this amazing experience.

“Now, my ambition at this point is to move on to complete the level 3 apprenticeship next and bring the best customer experience I can to my store.

“I love what I do and I have a passion for it. I have lots of regular customers who not only come for a hamburger, but for connection, friendship and a happy moment having a chat and that part of our role is so important.

“I hope that I can encourage more customer service members to apply for the apprenticeship scheme as it’s such a great opportunity. Many people see working at McDonald’s as ‘just a job’ but this is a job with so many opportunities if you want to take them, learning about leadership and management and so much more.”

CEO of K Foley Ltd, Kevin Foley said: “We are proud of Lei and the positive way she represents our business. We are always keen to support all staff to achieve new things and further their career at McDonald’s and the apprenticeship scheme is a good opportunity for anyone who would like to progress, regardless of age or how long they have already been employed here.”

During the visit in London, the Minister got back behind the counter to make a Quarter Pounder and cut the ribbon to officially reopen the training facilities which were temporarily closed during the pandemic.

A Spokesperson from the McDonald’s Apprenticeship Programme said: “Our apprenticeship programme continues to grow and the HU facilities will a play a key role in supporting this. Today, we are offering apprenticeships for both restaurant and corporate positions from entry level to higher degree qualifications and currently have more than 700 people enrolled. As part of our Plan for Change goals, we have also committed to supporting a further 3,000 apprentices by 2025.”

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