Being a part of the McDonald’s tradition is a family affair for Mike Gremaud and his son Brian.
Moments after Brian walks into his home, following a 12-hour day at his McDonald’s restaurant, he is greeted by his 8-year-old twins, Ethan and Elyse.
"They come running up to me and say, ‘Dad, can we go to McDonald’s?’ They love McDonald’s as much as my dad and I do – and once we get to our store, they ask, ‘Can we do something? Can we clean something.’"
As Brian talks about his children, his father, Mike, smiles, and thinks back to a time when his 12-year-old son was washing dishes at his McDonald’s franchise in Marshall, Mo., for $4.25 an hour.
"He loved being with his dad and coming to McDonald’s so much, I think he would have paid me to wash dishes," Mike said, as Brian laughed at the thought.
"It’s a family business and I couldn’t be any happier or prouder to have my son as part of our McDonald’s family."
Brian was quick to add, "I was 12 and making $4.25 an hour – I thought I was rich!"
Mike started as a crew person at McDonald’s nearly 49 years ago and he and Mike now collectively own nine franchises, including two in Eastern Jackson County – the Grain Valley and Oak Grove restaurants.
The others they own are in Odessa, Marshall, Higginsville, Concordia, Richmond and Knob Noster.
"It’s been quite a journey," said Mike, who worked in the front office of the Blue Springs McDonald’s on Missouri 7 (near Interstate 70) from 1982 to 1991.
Brian went to the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg with hopes of being an optometrist.
"I then changed my major to business management because I didn’t want to be in school for another eight years," Brian said. "And it just seemed like a great fit to work with my dad and work toward becoming an operator."
Brian, 38, became an operator when he purchased a McDonald’s inside the Higginsville Pilot gas station four years ago.
His father became an operator in 1991 when he purchased the McDonald’s in Marshall.
The Gremauds are also committed to the success of their crews. Their employees were awarded nearly $60,000 in college tuition assistance last year through McDonald's Archways to Opportunity program.
"Like I said, it’s a family business, and I was not just referring to my son," MIke said. "I’m looking forward to the day that I ride off into the sunset and Brian buys me out."