Years ago, Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s), approached Leo Smolar to gauge his interest on investing in a McDonald’s franchise in New Jersey. Now, Kevin Smolar, Leo’s grandson, now owns and operates 17 McDonald’s in New Jersey, continuing what his grandfather started and his father grew, maintaining a family legacy in the powerful business model that is franchising.
Together with his brother, they run the family’s McDonald’s multi-unit operation while their sister serves as the “people experience” lead on their operations team. Their story shows how franchising is a family affair, bringing wealth and opportunities that people can pass down to their children and grandchildren, and create opportunities that span decades. The franchising business model promotes longevity and stability, increasing the chances that a business will survive and thrive for years to come.
Kevin is now considered a staple of the restaurant scene in New Jersey and he and his brother are very active with non-profits and organizations in their community. Each Christmas they partner with their local Ronald McDonald House Charities to take kids on train rides while providing happy meals and toys. They currently have just under 1,000 employees in New Jersey, providing good paying jobs and career development opportunities to their communities.
At a recent Open for Opportunity Roadshow stop in New Jersey, Kevin shared the impact franchising has had on his life and how the opportunities for franchising are immensely beneficial. While Kevin and his siblings continue to build on his grandfather and father’s legacy, they are also taking the time to mentor the next generation of young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs who may one day decide to become a franchisee themselves.
When Kevin’s grandfather bought his first McDonald’s, he was buying into not only an idea but his own future, and his family’s. This decision has turned into a multi-generational investment that has benefitted his family and the communities in which they operate in. Kevin, and the entire Smolar family are Open for Opportunity with franchising.