Published on June 1st, 2020 | by Shayna Clark0
Meet Jade Colin: The Youngest Black Female to Own a McDonald’s Franchise
Employing more than 300 people through her ownership; Jade Colin is a bonafide trailblazer in the fast food industry. Jade has made history by becoming the youngest black female to own a Fortune-500 franchise; opening up her first McDonald’s location in 2016 at only 26 years old.
This New Orleans native is no stranger to perseverance and hard work. Jade was introduce to franchise ownership ten years ago as her parents opened up their first McDonald’s location. Watching her parents work multiple jobs to provide the best for their household; Colins’ ambitions of ownership intensified throughout her job placements working at her parents McDonald’s Franchise, Smoothie King and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus McDonald’s as she attended university.
In the wake of COVID-19, Jade’s first global pandemic experience, the young franchise owner has stepped up to the plate to ensure her employees and community could still be able to thrive. To ensure that she was able to still employ her staff and provide a safe way for consumers to retrieve their food, Jade opted in to adapting to McDonald’s Delivery and a Drive-Thru only operation. With a heavier demand for take out, Jade has also been able to provide jobs to locals who may have been laid off due to the pandemic. Outside of that, her organization has donated masks to essential workers and partnered with McDonald’s Corporate to roll out a national campaign, “Thank You Meals”.
We’ve had the pleasure to chat with Jade Colin about her passion for ownership as well as her obstacles and triumphs being the youngest black McDonald’s Franchise Owner.
Growing up, is it fair to say that you have always had an entrepreneur spirit?
I’ve always known I wanted to have something of my own. I got my first job at 14 working at a summer camp. When I was 16, I started working at Smoothie King. I helped the owners open the store after Hurricane Katrina. The owners taught me a great deal about running a business, but being a normal teenager, I did not realize how much they taught me until later on in life. At that time, I knew I was developing a drive for running a business, but I wasn’t aware that the tasks they entrusted me with were going to be some of the same tasks I’d perform in my own business. I enjoyed the responsibility of helping to open and run a new store. The passion I had helping to open that Smoothie King is the same passion I wanted to have for my career.
While attending University of Louisiana- Lafayette (ULL), I was a crew member at McDonald’s on campus. It was at that time I realized just how valuable the information the owners at Smoothie King shared with me really was. After graduating from ULL, I went to work at my parents’ McDonald’s as a crew member, and then became the store manager. At that point, I began to put into practice everything I learned while working at Smoothie King. I knew that if given the opportunity to become a franchise owner, I would excel because of the lessons I learned while working at Smoothie King. While I always knew I wanted a career in business, working at Smoothie King stirred the desire within me to be an entrepreneur.
How has your family and peers influenced you into becoming the business savvy owner that you are today?
My family played, and still plays, a big part in making me the business owner I am today. When I was growing up, my mother worked two jobs, and my dad worked two jobs while going to school to provide for our family. I have only been around hard workers, so I do not know any other way to work. I was raised that if you want something, you work hard for it, and do what it takes to get there. Nothing worth having is going to come easily. Outside of my parents, the owners at the Smoothie King I worked at while in high school influenced the businesswoman I am today. They gave me a wealth of knowledge, and while I did not know that then, I often think about it now, and really appreciate it. Because of the owners’ lessons, there were a lot of things that I knew about business that I would not have known if I never worked at Smoothie King. I really appreciate both my parents and the owners of that Smoothie King.
My peers also play an active role in my life. You have to have positive people around you no matter what it is you’re trying to accomplish. I make sure I surround myself with positive people; iron sharpens iron. I definitely push myself, but it is natural to get tired and discouraged along the way, so having positive people around you to motivate you is a must. My friends challenge me; when I have an idea, I bounce my ideas off of them, and they tell me whether or not the ideas will work, and how to make my ideas better. You won’t know everything, so you need like minded peers around you to help make you the best business owner you can be.
My passion for business management began at Smoothie King. After I helped open the store I worked at as a teenager, the owners started entrusting me with different tasks. They made me a key holder, and then started having me to count inventory, and then order inventory. I did not realize at the time that these were tasks a store manager performs, I just knew I liked doing what was asked of me in that role. I didn’t know I was acting as a manager at the time, but I knew I could do this as my own business.
While owning a McDonald’s is a blessing, I never saw myself being a McDonald’s franchise owner. While at ULL, I was a crew member at McDonald’s, and realized I enjoyed working for the franchise. After college, I started working in my parents’ McDonald’s. I was quickly thrust into the position of general manager. After outperforming general managers in my region, I was given the opportunity to be a franchise owner. The rest is history.
How do you feel knowing that you are the youngest African American franchise owner in the USA?
It is such a blessing to have been an owner of my own McDonald’s franchise at the age of 26. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity. The opportunity to own your own McDonald’s franchise does not come every day, especially to someone who was not raised in a McDonald’s family. Many owners’ families have owned their restaurant for 40 years or more.
I want to continue to uplift black people of all ages, and remind them that we can do whatever we put our minds too. I want to push people to go beyond the limitations they have set for themselves. Doing our best provides us with more opportunities.
How has your experience been running your own franchise thus far? Can you tell us briefly about your day-to-day tasks?
Running my own franchise has been rewarding. It’s a blessing, and I thank God for giving me this opportunity daily. The business has its ups and down, wins and losses. You have to take both as they come, and be prepared for them.
As it concerns my day to day, I don’t do the same exact thing every day. Every day I wake up, pray, and listen to gospel before I start my day. Everything else depends on the business’s needs. I always check the restaurant’s numbers for that day, and the day before, and go over them with my management team so they know if there is anything that needs to be improved. Some days, I work in the restaurant. There are days when I have meetings, so I attend those. At the end of the day, I’m going to check the numbers for my restaurant to make sure everything is moving how it should be, and I’m going to report my findings to my management team.
If it wasn’t for franchising you’re own establishment; what would have been the next route that you would have pursued?
I have always liked making people feel good about themselves. People feel good about themselves when their hair is done. They feel presentable; they feel beautiful. I planned to graduate from college, get my cosmetology license, and open a hair salon. I would have used my platform as a beautician and salon owner to mentor young people in New Orleans, teaching them how to advance in life, and pursue their dreams.
What advice would you give prospective entrepreneurs in today’s society?
In order to make it as an entrepreneur, you must be willing to sacrifice. All the sacrifices you’re making will be worth it in the end. It takes time and patience. Patience is an important part of the process. The sacrifices you experience in the beginning are going to be worth it once you see your business propel into success. Never give up. There are people who believe in you and are depending on you to succeed. Keep trying, and your business will prosper. You must have a supportive network with similar goals and ambitions. Everyone will not understand your ideas because everyone doesn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit.
It is imperative that you understand finances if you want your business to grow. A business owner has to know how much the business makes, and how much it costs to keep the business afloat. It’s important to know how much it costs to advertise for your business so it may continue to grow, and how much money needs to be saved. After you pay yourself a salary, pay the bills your business accumulates, and save a percentage, be sure to take the remainder of your profits and put them back into your business.
What can we expect from you, Ms Jade Colin, in the future?
I just released a workbook called “The Game Plan: Your Starter Kit for Building The Business of Your Dreams.” I encourage everyone to order a copy from jadecolin.com/ebook. The workbook intended to give tips to individuals interested in starting a business. As future plans, everyone can follow me on Instagram at @jadeashleycolin for updates on all of my endeavors.