Celebrating Yolanda Travis, The Woman Leading The First-Ever Black-Owned McDonald’s Restaurant

Herman Petty became the first African individual to open a McDonald’s franchise in Chicago fifty years ago. During the civil rights struggle, he opened the restaurant at 6560 S. Stony Island Ave in 1968.

His decision to open a McDonald’s made it simpler for future Black Americans to become business owners and franchisees. It also resulted in the establishment of the Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA).

Petty died in 2009, and he was memorialized more than a decade later. The city of Chicago has named a street after him, where he opened his restaurant. The “Herman Petty Way” is now a part of Marquette Road between Stony Island Avenue and Dorchester Avenue.

“He inspired others to believe in themselves, to know that nothing is unattainable if you put in the work and put your mind to it,” one of Petty’s granddaughters, Latrice Orr, told BlockClubChicago.

Yolanda Travis now owns and operates Petty’s McDonald’s. She took over the location at a time when it was in severe need of a makeover. Travis, who regarded Petty as a risk-taker, purchased Petty’s McDonald’s franchise in 2007 and said the decision to rename the roadway after Petty was hers. The concept was then supported by local officials.

“It was my idea because you have few or no Black museums or monuments or [any landmarks on the South Side of Chicago,” Travis said, according to BlockClubChicago.

Before purchasing Petty’s, the Chicago native ran four McDonald’s on the city’s South Side, on 65th Street and Stony Island Avenue. It reopened to the public after undergoing extensive renovations.

Travis attended McDonald’s Hamburger University. She formerly served in the Illinois Air National Guard. She had previously served in the Department of Defense and began learning to fly airplanes in her leisure time.

“I’ve always wanted to have a business of my own, and in 1984, I had looked into McDonald’s, but at that time, I didn’t have the capital to purchase [one],” Travis told the Free Library. “I waited some years later and saved up my money.”

Travis explained how she became a franchise owner by working with her grandfather, who operated a plumbing business. She went out selling cookies after Girl Scouts, and by 1984, she was seeing McDonald’s all over the place. That’s when she decided she wanted to acquire a McDonald’s franchise.



Written by How Africa News

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