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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Working at McDonald's and lovin' it

By Joanne Collins
Special to The Sun

When most people think of flipping burgers for a living they picture a dead-end job with few development opportunities and bleak career prospects. If that's your impression of working in the fast food industry, Ash Vasdani may change your mind.
Starting as a crew person at McDonald's in 1985, Ash Vasdani (right) has created a stellar career with the fast food giant and urges people to open their minds to the amazing career possibilities that exist within the organization.

Starting as a crew person at McDonald's in 1985, Vasdani has created a stellar career with the fast food giant and urges people to open their minds to the amazing career possibilities that exist within the organization.

Armed with a business administration diploma, Vasdani decided to join McDonald's because of the development opportunities. "I chose McDonald's because I heard they had tremendous growth opportunities for people who were committed. I discovered they had excellent programs in place that would help me create a good future for myself," he says.

Vasdani quickly moved up from a crew person to a management trainee and enjoyed various management projects including the opening of a new restaurant in Markham.

His success in store management catapulted him into the role of a senior operations consultant, which led to his present role as a regional training, learning and development manager, where he oversees most of the Ontario region outlets.

Vasdani's job requires him to deal with a variety of staff, from crew people in McDonald's outlets to employees at their head office. He is responsible for creating and delivering training curriculum, as well as providing tools and resources to support the continuing growth of employees.

It's clear that Vasdani is extremely proud of McDonald's policy of promoting people from within: "Our whole culture is about investing in people -- you can start as a crew person and with the right attitude, you can go anywhere. Our CEO, Bill Johnson, started as a crew person in London, Ont., and now he's the CEO. We believe if you invest in people, you'll get the results," he says.
Ash vasdani
Regional training manager for McDonald's

What does McDonald's look for when hiring new staff?

"It doesn't matter what your skills are -- we look for people with vision and passion. Your attitude is the most important factor -- if you have the right attitude and mindset you'll be successful here. If someone has a desire to move up, we value that person's contribution and growth, and we'll provide the training and resources so that they can achieve their goals," he says.

After almost 20 years with the organization, what are Vasdani's career highlights?

"There are a lot of great things I've experienced, so it's hard to choose just one thing, but I spent three months in Italy opening new McDonald's locations in Naples and Trieste -- that was very exciting."

Despite the excitement of launching outlets in Italy, Vasdani admits he feels deep satisfaction when he sees employees getting promoted: "Successes are all around me. It's great to see people I hired as crew and now they're training and development consultants -- I love that. We see potential in people, we seize it, invest in them and we get a lot back from it," he says.

Another important highlight of his time with the company: "I met my wife while working at McDonald's, so I'm really grateful for that as well!" he laughs.
Vasdani's responsibilities as regional training and development manager:
  • Create training curriculum for employees.
  • Deliver training courses.
  • Visit restaurants to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of the training and development programs.
  • Speak with crew and solicit feedback on how to make training more effective.
  • Train employees when launching new products.
  • Design and test new training tools.

  • What has made Vasdani such a success?

    "My mantra is that it's not knowledge that's important, but that I turned my knowledge into positive action and behaviour," he says. "Also, I'd have to say that my attitude is infectious. When I'm around others, it's contagious and it multiplies exponentially."

    Vasdani also credits his mentors for helping him succeed: "I wouldn't be where I am today without my mentors. I have a lot of gratitude for what they taught me and for all the support I received on my journey," he says.

    What are the not-so-great aspects of his job?

    "I know this sounds strange, but truly, there are no bad parts to my job," he says. "I love getting out of bed and coming into work everyday. I know there are a lot of people who have regrets about their jobs, but I don't. I'm very happy and I have lots of gratitude."

    I ask Vasdani what the biggest misconception is about careers at McDonald's: "People are naive about the incredible opportunities here.

    I know employees who started out as crew people and now they own their own franchise -- some even own multiple outlets," he says.

    Vasdani's career advice: "Love what you're doing -- otherwise, you won't produce the best results," he says. "When you give your best, you get it back -- it's all about the attitude. And don't forget that learning is a lifelong journey."

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