Tanya Hill-Holliday knows the value of being prepared to make a strategic move. She therefore seized the moment when the opportunity to expand her business activities was presented to her.
In March, it acquired two McDonald’s restaurants in Bensalem and Hatboro that were previously operated by another business owner.
âI had the opportunity to take a restaurant with an operator who has retired and / or left the company,â said Hill-Holliday, who is Philadelphia’s first black McDonald’s franchise.
“It’s all about preparation and timing and I went for it. You always have to be ready, so you don’t have to prepare.”
The businesswoman has gone from serving customers as a member of the McDonald’s team to becoming the largest black-owned McDonald’s franchise owner in the Philadelphia area. In 2009, Hill-Holliday became the first African-American woman to own a McDonald’s in Philadelphia when she purchased two restaurants on City Line Avenue. She currently owns 12 McDonald’s in Pennsylvania.
In December 2020, it expanded south of Philadelphia and acquired the restaurant on 24th Street and Oregon Avenue. And in 2018, Hill-Holliday became the first African-American woman to own a McDonald’s in Allentown.
It recently renovated six of its sites, which were fitted with automatically operated kiosks. And plans are underway to demolish and rebuild its recently acquired location in Bensalem.
Working with financial institutions over the years has been instrumental in Hill-Holliday’s success as a businesswoman. She has had a relationship with Beneficial Bank for about seven years, which she maintained when the financial institution was merged into WSFS Bank.
âFinances are the foundation of a business and therefore the relationship is huge,â Hill-Holliday said.
âI’ve had a really good long-standing relationship. It’s a relationship that if I need to pick up the phone and call I feel free to do it. make.”
She works with Richard Snow, Vice President, SBA National Franchise Relationship Manager at WSFS Bank.
Hill-Holliday tapped into the bank’s SBA franchise loan program.
âThrough this program, with McDonald’s being one of the top franchisor brands, this is how our relationship with Tanya Holliday grew to help her through the lifecycle of her franchise as she passed through the years. ‘one unit to 10 units,’ Snow said.
He said the program helps franchisees acquire the financing they need to be successful, whether they’re opening a new franchise store or adding an additional location.
âWe kind of customize and develop an SBA funding program to suit your specific multi-unit and startup or acquisition and resale needs,â Snow explained.
“I believe Tanya really represents a powerful example of success as a minority entrepreneur and she is a perfect example of how SBA funding can help this new budding startup.”
âSBA (financing) is one of the products from a banking perspective that supports startups using financial forecasting,â he continued.
Like other business owners, Hill-Holliday is grappling with the impact of the pandemic.
âIt was double,â she says.
âThere was a good side and obviously there was a downside. Because our brand, McDonald’s has always been affordable, the positive side is that customers came to us. Customers knew we were open, so that helped us. really helped. the commercial side. So that was the advantage. “
âThe human side has been and continues to be a challenge – the ability to get people to come to work, who feel safe,â Hill-Holliday said.
“I just think people are generally too careful. We had to take our business to a whole new level when it comes to security and all of the COVID guidelines.”
It comes as the restaurant industry faces a severe labor shortage across the country.
As a long-time business owner, Hill Holliday is often asked to provide advice to budding entrepreneurs.
âThe first piece of advice I would give them is to find something that you would like to do and do it well because you never know where it can lead you,â she said.
âI didn’t expect to own a McDonald’s, but when I was working as a crew member, I loved what I was doing. I always made sure I was the best at what I did and got recognized.
âThe second piece of advice I would give is, know that you are still in an interview. You never know who is watching you, âHill-Holliday said.
âThis is something that I reflected in my young career as a McDonald’s crew member who works at the university, someone recognized what I was doing.
Hill-Holliday began as a part-time crew member in 1978 while working at Morgan State University in Baltimore. After graduating cum laude from Morgan with a business administration degree, she decided to pursue the McDonald’s management path. Hill-Holliday has held 13 different roles over a 26-year career with the company, moving from crew member to vice president.
âThe third piece of advice I would give would be – have a vision. Create that vision and mission and start writing it down, âshe suggests.