Meet Yolanda Travis, the woman who now runs the first Black-owned McDonald’s.
Herman Petty received the fast-food franchise in 1968, making him McDonald’s first Black owner and operator.
Travis has taken over the title at the Chicago location since 2007, with plans to honor its history and community.
“I wanted to bring the community together and show them and tell them about this wonderful Black man, Mr. Herman Petty,” Travis said in a video interview with McDonald’s Corporation in 2021. “There are very few, if any, Black historical sites in the city of Chicago, especially on the South side of Chicago. So, this was my opportunity to give back to the community.”
To keep her word, the dine-in service area was temporarily closed for renovations that will cater to the area’s younger demographic. According to the Chicago Crusader, the location is already working to integrate more advanced technology.
In addition, a classroom area has been built to engage the youth in preparation for Black History Month activities. A flat-screen television will be installed in the section to display information about Black McDonald’s franchisees.
The restaurant is already open again, but there hasn’t been an official grand opening for the remodeled restaurant as of this writing, according to Chicago Crusader.
Aside from renovations, Travis is keeping the restaurant’s heart alive. Customers should expect to see a mural of Petty and Don Thompson, McDonald’s first Black president and CEO.
“This is such a beautiful site to celebrate Mr. Herman Petty. He was a trailblazer and I’m happy that I was able to be a part of bringing this restaurant to the community and to McDonald’s,” Travis said during an interview with McDonald’s Corporation. “When I became an operator at this particular location, it was in bad shape and there were plans to remodel and at that time I said, ‘Well, we need to make it a historical site.’”