Fast food may be synonymous with drive-thru windows, first-time jobs and deep-fried foods, but locally, it has become a shining example of ethics, honesty and responsible business practices.
The Better Business Bureau of Central California has named the local McDonald’s franchises serving Bishop, Lone Pine and Mammoth the winner of the 2011 Ethics Awards for Marketplace Excellence for the Southern Central Valley in the large business category.
The franchises are owned and operated by Lis and Kevin Mazzu of Bishop. The Mazzus officially received their award on behalf of McDonald’s at a recognition lunch on May 4 at The Petroleum Club in Bakersfield.
According to the BBB, the Bishop McDonald’s has not received a single customer complaint in three years.
“The Ethics Awards is BBB’s annual award program that honors outstanding local for-profit companies that have demonstrated a commitment to ethical business practices, both in operations and in terms of integrity, reliability and responsiveness to employees, vendors and customers,” the BBB said in a press release.
The Mazzus and McDonald’s restaurants are involved in a mass of public events, donating cheeseburgers to bicycles, and the couple were also the first recipients of the annual Citizen of the Year award given by The Inyo Register.
The local franchises were chosen out of 51 nominees for the award from 6,000 affiliated businesses in the voting area.
“We’re honored to be recognized not only for what we do in the community but what we do for our employees as well,” Kevin Mazzu said.
He explained his key to success: “Focus on people and the business will take care of itself.”
Mazzu added that the business philosophy for the local franchises is very much like Ray Kroc’s, the man who bought the small McDonald’s business from the McDonald brothers in 1954. “We’re in the people business, not the burger business,” Mazzu said.
Lis Mazzu explained that a major focus of the business is its employees, “empowering the employees.”
She explained that employees are given the tools, the training and responsibility which results in taking care of the customers. Training at the local franchises includes a four-hour orientation and 50-page employee handbook, more rigorous than the McDonald’s Corporation standard.
The local franchise is also run under a strict code of ethics – a mix of McDonald’s’ standards and the couple’s own – such as being on time, being clean and respectful and always knowing how to “take the high road.”
Mazzu explained that the local restaurants also adhere to eight McDonald’s business principles titled the “Will to Succeed.” These include, “We will do what’s right, not what’s easy.”
Mazzu added that the franchise is growing; the Mazzus recently added two new manager positions to their force of more than 120 employees. In April, the couple hired 35 new, local employees to get ready for the summer season.
Mazzu explained that the franchises were awarded for not only their excellence with employee and customer care but also their involvement in the community. The Mazzus regularly donate bicycles for kids at the Tri-County Fair, 35 in the past four years, and were recently thanked in a letter printed in this paper for food donated to local schools during mandatory testing that helped the students stay focused on the exams instead of their growling stomachs.
Lis and Kevin serve on the boards for local chambers of commerce, Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County, Bishop Union High School Foundation for Excellence, Inyo County Childhood Obesity Task Force, Superintendent of Schools Regional Occupation Program Vocational Training Program, Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and the Designations Study Sub-Committee. The two also give generously to local literacy programs, various scholarships and help sponsor many events and sports teams
The BBB press release stated that each year, businesses are entered in local award competitions conducted by BBBs in every region of the country. The winning entries from the Central California competition are then forwarded to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the parent organization for the BBB network, for an international competition.