Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 31, 2015
Eating at one of 17 local McDonald’s “five or six times a week” is part of businessman Vincent Spadea’s weekly routine. He’s not a customer, though. Mr. Spadea, of Spencer, owns and operates 17 McDonald’s restaurants in Worcester County with his father, Joseph, who opened his first McDonald’s in 1981; as well as business partner David Balducci. “Any time I’m in one of my restaurants, I eat there. My favorite menu items would have to be the McWrap, fries and the chocolate shake,” said Mr. Spadea, who became an official owner-operator in 2009. The Spadeas’ Sellia Group employs about 500 people in their chain of McDonald’s, he said.
Lately, McDonald’s has been criticized for being out of touch with consumers on prices and the healthiness of its menu. Has the negative publicity affected sales at your restaurants?
“In my opinion, McDonald’s needed an awakening in recent years. We’ve found that the more we listen to our customers, the more successful our restaurants become. We’ve recently taken strides to better incorporate the customer feedback we receive and use that as an opportunity to change for the better. Since approaching the business with this new strategy, we’ve seen a huge spike in sales for iced coffee, regular coffee, Happy Meals, chicken tenders, real fruit smoothies and more. We’ve also found that local mothers and families in particular have been more receptive to us, now that we’re making an extra effort to put their comments in motion.”
How much do you control the menus at your restaurants?
“The McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Eastern New England have the opportunity to give feedback and provide input for our region (Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire). We vote on what limited-time-only products we’ll serve at our restaurants. For instance, we voted to have lobster rolls in our restaurants this summer, which will be coming out soon and are delicious, meeting the unique taste of New Englanders. We have a voice both regionally and nationally that allows us to meet the demands of our customers.”
Which healthy choice options do the customers at your restaurants say they want added?
“Over the last few years, customers have asked for a greater variety of salads and healthy options, which we’ve addressed. The lobster roll is only 290 calories and is the perfect addition to our menu to meet summer demand. We’ve also introduced the McWrap and Egg White Delight, which have been received incredibly well by my local customers. We also now have a variety of salad options – my favorite is the Premium Southwest Salad with grilled chicken.”
If you could add an item to McDonald’s menu, what would it be and why?
“I would choose to streamline the core menu items and keep on some iconic customer favorites, like our World Famous Fries, the Big Mac and Quarter-Pounders. I’d also like to continue adding healthier menu options, as my customers have appreciated those items.”
Describe your typical day.
“I’m an early bird, so I start by day before the sun is up. I hop in my car and drive to CrossFit and typically make phone calls to my field service reps on the way home. Once home, I take a quick shower, change and respond to urgent emails from my home office in Spencer. The rest of the day I’m on the road traveling between our restaurants. Some days I’m in one restaurant for the entire day, while others I’m driving 200 or 300 miles to visit several restaurants. While there, I try to learn as much as I can about our crew, discussing what they need and how to keep them motivated. I then end my day with either a family dinner or meeting friends for a quick bite.”
Do you have plans to renovate your restaurants and-or open additional ones?
“Yes, we recently renovated three of our restaurants (in Whitinsville, Oxford and Marlboro), and we’re currently in the process of renovating our Milford restaurant. We plan to renovate all of our 17 restaurants over the next few years and are always looking for growth opportunities.”
Compiled by correspondent Michael Gelbwasser
Photo credit: Worcester Telegram & Gazette/Paul Kapteyn
View Article on telegram.com