PEORIA, Ill -- A local McDonald's franchise owner is celebrating the one year anniversary of his newest store, while looking toward the future in the competitive fast-food business.
Terry Clark started working at McDonald's when he was 16 and worked his way up. He now owns 12 stores in the Peoria and Bartonville area. His newest location is on North Knoxville.
"The community overwhelmingly just loved the fact that we came out here. There's a lot of residential families and they crowd in here after football games and after school and evenings," said Clark.
However this every-changing fast food business does come with it's own challenges. Clark employs more than 500 people and just a few months ago several of them walked off the job, along with thousands nationwide, striking for a wage increase.
"Our employees for the most part are happy with what we do. We have fair wage review periods. We treat our employees they way we feel they should be treated, as we want to be treated. It's just one of those things that's cycling through right now," said Clark.
Area supervisor Patrick O'Brian said Peoria is becoming more crowded with new food franchises. So he continues to find ways to stay competitive.
"They seem to be opening up around a lot of our locations, so therefore that's going to be our focus on hospitality to try to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the competition," O'Brian said.
Meanwhile, Clark said they are also giving their restaurants a more contemporary feel and look for ways to increase their technology. He believes mobile ordering and payment will emerge soon.
"You're going to be able to get apps on your iPads, iPhones," he said. "That will give us the ability to place an order as we come into the store, scan it in some way, shape or form, either in drive-thru or inside and then there will be a special pick-up point and you basically skip the line."
However, Clark only sees more good things to come for his restaurants, and especially his newest store as other new businesses come in and they work to be involved in the community.
"Whether it's discounts for meals or whether it's activities in our parking lots, Ronald shows, just staying active," said Clark.