One would have to step back in time to remember when your community received its first McDonald’s Drive-In Restaurant. It stirred excitement. Large golden arches set over a red and white tiled structure. Hamburgers were 15 cents in the early days with the marquee saying 100 million sold, then it went to 19 cents and then 25 cents with 500 million sold.
When construction began on the first McDonald’s in Chester in 1974, the red and white tile with the golden archers had been replaced with a mansard roof structure, plenty of seating inside and sometimes outside, play area for the children and a new logo, but burgers were still cheap. At 50 cents for burgers and 25 cents for fries, you could still get a meal for under a dollar. Chester was excited about getting a McDonald’s just as much as the big cities were when they got one with burgers at 15 cents.
Jack and Jon Pollard, owners/operators, of the McDonald’s located at 12530 Jefferson Davis Hwy. are wanting to stir the excitement again with a 40th anniversary celebration and will be selling hamburgers for 40 cents on anniversary day, Saturday, June 21. Forty-cent burgers will be sold from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. with a limited purchase of 10 burgers per order. Ronald McDonald with his Ronald McDonald show will also be there from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. with performances of magic tricks, balloons and more to entertain during the anniversary celebration.
Jack Pollard, 69, opened his first McDonald’s in 1987 in the Cloverleaf Mall. After earning a business degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, he found his way to Chesterfield, Virginia after serving in the U.S. Army (1966-1970) and returning from Viet Nam with the rank of Captain and spending his last year in the Army at Fort Lee.
After service, Pollard went to work for the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, left as regional manager in 1980 and purchased a Krispy Kreme franchise in Columbus, Georgia. He was owner/operator of the franchise until he sold it in 1985. He wanted to own a McDonald’s but before that could happen, he had to entered the Registered Applicant Program and graduate from Hamburger University. “I worked 2,000 hours, nights and weekends at no pay to learn the McDonald’s business,” he said. “I had a full-time day job at the time of training. I also attended three of McDonald’s week-long schools plus an additional two-week school at Hamburger University in Oakbrook, Illinois. Upon graduation I accepted my first restaurant. That was in 1987.” After the lease ended at Cloverleaf, Pollard opened the McDonald’s at 10300 Ironbridge Rd. in 1991, which he still owns and operates today. The Chester location was originally owned by Don Both. Pollard and his son purchased the Jefferson Davis Highway location in 1998. In 2011, they both wanted a fresh look with the restaurant and demolished it and reopened with the latest design of McDonald’s restaurants on October, 31, 2011.
Becoming a business partner with his dad was not a “shoe-in” for Jon Pollard, 45, a 1993 business education major. “McDonald’s has a rigorous program for the children of the original franchisee which is called the Second General Program,” said Jack Pollard. “An original franchisee’s child never simply automatically becomes an owner/operator of his/her parent’s restaurant at the parent’s retirement. If the child cannot perform exceptionally in all areas of the Second Generation Program, he does not make the grade.
If he does not make the grade he is not approved as an owner/operator.” Pollard said the corporation encourages the children of owner/operators to work for another company before applying to the Second Generation Program. Jon Pollard worked for Ukrop’s for five years before coming to work for his father.
The Pollard’s have great respect for the McDonald’s community. “They certainly are demanding but caring of their owner/operators,” he said. “That is why they are so successful. We are inspected and re-inspected on a regular basis.”
Their new McDonald’s structure lost the play area for the children, added more seats inside, and introduce the newest concept in drive-in restaurants with the double drive-thru. Pollard said it has increase sales and service is faster, but it is still new and customers are still not taking advantage of it. To insure no orders are mixed up, cameras take pictures of the cars and they are matched up with the orders.
Careers as managers and crew trainers have been made with the Pollards. Michele Lamoureaux is manager at the Jefferson Davis location. She started with McDonald’s at the age of 15 in 1985. First assistant Thomas Moore has been with McDonald’s for 23 years and Jennifer Marshall and Jeanette Lyons, crew trainers, have been with McDonald’s for 18 years and 16 years respectively.
Pollard said the Big Mac, which was introduced in 1968 by owner/operator Jim Pelligatti in Pttsburgh, is still their biggest seller. The latest item introduced has been the Bacon Club House sandwich and coming soon, Yogurt will be available for Happy Meals.
The McDonald’s Corporation has 14,300 franchises in 118 countries. The Pollard’s Jefferson Davis location is store No. 3,102 and their Ironbridge location is store No. 11,756.
“As our family has owned and operated McDonald’s in Chesterfield County since November, 1987, we are keenly aware that we are there to serve our customers in a superb manner,” said Pollard. “We strive daily to accomplish that goal realizing that we are not the only choice for our customers. We deeply appreciate our customers and want them to leave our restaurants with an excellent experience.”