- Associated Press - Saturday, February 14, 2015

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) - Donald Anderson was expecting a routine inspection of the McDonald’s restaurant he manages on Baltimore Boulevard in Westminster last month. Imagine his surprise when 30 members of the fast food giant’s corporate staff and Ronald McDonald himself showed up to present him with the Ray Kroc Award, an annual performance-based honor that recognizes the top performing McDonald’s restaurant managers in the country.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Anderson said Feb. 5. “It was a big surprise.”

The award, named after McDonald’s Corp. founder Ray Kroc, was established in 1999 to honor hardworking managers in both corporate owned and independently owned and operated restaurants who make Kroc’s vision of excellence come to life in restaurants and for customers each day, according to a McDonald’s news release.

A select 142 managers from roughly 14,000 McDonald’s U.S. restaurants were chosen this year to receive the Ray Kroc Award, an honor that comes with a cash prize, a Ray Kroc Award trophy, ring and pin, and a trip to Chicago for an awards gala in March hosted by McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres.

Scott Rardin, the owner/operator of the Westminster McDonald’s, said Anderson receiving the award is testament to his leadership, being part of the community he serves and taking care of customers’ needs each day.

“We are truly proud to have Don as part of our McDonald’s family,” he said.

Anderson began his career with McDonald’s 32 years ago, at the age of 16, doing maintenance at a restaurant in Baltimore. He has worked at the independently owned and operated McDonald’s restaurant in Westminster for 16 years as a manager. Anderson also received an associate’s degree in business management from Hamburger University, McDonald’s global center for operations training and leadership development. His next goal is to become an area supervisor.

“This is the best job anyone can have,” Anderson said. “(McDonald’s) showed me how to stay focused.”

Anderson said he and the entire Westminster McDonald’s team work with many local schools and churches to help with fundraising efforts, reinforcing his commitment to being a contributing member of the community as well as a valued employee.

Winners of the Ray Kroc Award run high performing and profitable restaurants that meet McDonald’s critical customer standards of quality, service and cleanliness. They have strong business knowledge and achieve superior results in restaurant operations, people management and building the business, according to a news release from the company.

McDonald’s owner/operators or regional staff members nominate restaurant managers for the Ray Kroc Award to recognize their hard work, dedication and commitment to McDonald’s. From there, a selection committee of representatives from McDonald’s operations, training and human resources select the top 1 percent of general managers for the Ray Kroc Award.

“My success comes from my team,” said Anderson. “I’m only as good as team, and they are outstanding.”

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