Restaurant Manager, McDonald’s® Balestier
So Young, Can or Not?
April Lee is McDonald’s youngest restaurant general manager (RGM) in Singapore and in 2018, she won the Rising Star Award at the company’s inaugural Year of Restaurant General Manager Gala Awards. Many may be sceptical that she has enough experience to be a RGM, but one should consider the fact that she has been working with the company for over a decade.
It’s hard to imagine that someone her age has the maturity and fortitude to be a RGM at McDonald’s, but April has been working for the company since she was just fourteen.
Instead of seeing her age as a disadvantage, April optimistically used it as motivation to become better. Seeing herself as a young leader, she wanted to prove to her colleagues and everyone around her that she could do it. Getting all the answers was her way to doing just that. “I’m hungry for knowledge. I want to give my crew all the answers. And as a leader, I need to have an even higher level of knowledge – especially at my age, you want to give your crew a reason to respect you and
build trust,” says April.
However, it was not always positive and uplifting for April. She recalls the time when she spent seven years as a crew at McDonald’s Queensway. Back then, April was doing well but slipped into complacency and became what she calls “store blind” - just going through the motions, fulfilling her duties and not bothered to learn
how each restaurant is different, with different types of customers, challenges, advantages and ways to create a better customer experience. But deep down, this ITE graduate started to feel restless. She knew that she wasn’t meant to just settle for life at McDonald’s as a crew or even a first assistant manager.
Admittedly, even for someone of her age back then, taking the leap from first assistant manager to RGM can be quite daunting. But when April was a first assistant manager at McDonald’s Balestier, she realised that it was not an impossible task since she was already taking on some RGM responsibilities.
Thinking out of the (Happy Meal) box
Every store has its own set of opportunities to bring in more customers. April was excited to get involved in brainstorming sessions aimed at getting more customers into the restaurant. All it took was for her to just take a step back and think about what was in the vicinity of the restaurant and even ways to work with other businesses.
During her time at Balestier, April proposed ideas like offering discounts to nursing staff working in a nearby hospital if they visited the restaurant in their uniform. She also proposed bolder suggestions like approaching various boutique hotels in the area to invite their guests to have breakfast at McDonald’s. April beamed with pride when she shared that the ‘hospital idea’ helped her restaurant to bring in 40 more customers each day.
Now it seems like April has done it all. So what’s next for her?
She says, “Maybe I’ll become a training consultant?
Or maybe join the management team one day?”
When asked if she has considered her goals to be difficult to achieve, she replies without missing a beat.
“You must dare to dream, only then can you achieve.”
After all she has accomplished, no one will dare to doubt that she can do it.