Raised By a Single Mom With 9 Siblings, He Now Owns 12 McDonald’s Restaurants

Robert Pyles

When Robert Pyles was a boy, growing up with 9 siblings and being raised by a single mother, he never imagined he would be as successful as he is now. Robert Pyles is a successful entrepreneur who owns 12 McDonald’s franchises in Wisconsin. However, he is currently one of Wisconsin’s greatest employers of African Americans, and he draws inspiration from his prior struggles.

Pyles began working in the service sector as a part-time employee at a Wyoming McDonald’s to supplement his income while in the Air Force. Since then, he has come to the realization that servicing clients is what he truly enjoys doing.

Within 2.5 years, he finished the McDonald’s ownership training course. The previous CEO of McDonald’s Corp., Don Thompson, had advised him to do so, so he seized the chance to create a McDonald’s restaurant in Milwaukee.

He opened his first McDonald’s on February 14, 1998. He admitted that it wasn’t easy at first with all the demands of fast service. But stopping isn’t one of his options. “I told myself ‘never let ’em see you sweat.’ I knew I had to hold true to what I believed,” he told Black Enterprise.

“You must be prepared for growth and pay close attention to profitability. You can have less stores and be more profitable,” he said. “My goal wasn’t necessarily to keep adding stores. I wanted to create a training center environment to let people see that an African American operator can operate at a certain level.”

He started with one location, added another one the next year, and through the years, it expanded to up to 12 sites. Despite this, Pyles thinks that expansion is not the best indicator of corporate success.

He employs roughly 45 workers at each site for a total of 600 individuals. Along with giving the neighbourhood jobs, he also sought to make it easier for his employees to obtain inexpensive homes close to their places of employment. So he formed Magnolia Realty in partnership with a buddy who owns a construction company. They buy foreclosed buildings nearby to his McDonald’s restaurants, rebuild them, and then sell them to customers at a fair price.

“I think it’s really important to be both visible and accessible in the community,” he said. “It’s not enough for me alone to be successful. My goal is to help others get approved for McDonald’s ownership. I started with my wife because there’s no inherited ownership in the event that an owner passes away. Now I’m working on getting others approved.”

Pyles now has a comfortable life with his wife and three children who assist him in the company after a difficult upbringing as one of nine children raised by a single mother. And he wants to motivate others to follow in his footsteps and succeed.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: abubakarrjalloh@theafricandreamsl.com WhatsApp: +23276211583