A man who was employed at the first ever McDonald’s branch in London has spoken out about his experience.
Patrick Feeney, 60, spent his youth in Greenwich, south-east London, where his family were devastated after the death of his dad.
The financial stress meant that a 15-year-old Patrick needed to work, so he landed a job at London’s first McDonald’s in Woolwich.
Since he hated school and was “always getting into trouble”, he knew he had to think of something.
He said: “I always got the cane or was bunking off.
“I caused my mother no end of bother, but going to McDonald’s was an unbelievable transition.”
He went to St Austin’s Roman Catholic School in Charlton, although he felt the conventional education-based route wasn’t for him.
Patrick added: “McDonald’s wasn’t strict like school.
“It wasn’t like military precision but once I started there the penny dropped from a financial aspect.
“The more you worked, the more you got paid and the more food allowance you got so it was a no brainer really.”
Patrick continued: “As long as you weren’t lazy everything was hunky-dory.
“Some people just wanted to stay on one thing like chips, but if you didn’t mind what job they gave you, you got on well.
“There were plenty of chances for promotion and there was a ‘stars’ scheme if you did well.”
Now years on, he is enjoying the benefits of a long career and a nice redundancy package after working 27 years at Honda.
However he believes his success was helped by starting work at McDonald’s as a schoolboy.
He cleared tables, swept floors, worked the tills and even helped out at the grills during his time at the fast food restaurant.
Patrick revealed: “It was very busy even back then. The harder you worked, the more popular you were.
“You only had to be there a couple of months and you felt quite entrenched and you could show your skills to the new trainees.”
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He concluded: “I’ve got nothing but fond memories of it. They were good times.
“I used to earn £28 a fortnight and a pint of lager back then was 15p, so I felt like a millionaire… like I was a Rothschild.
“I would spend the money on clothes. My Doc Marten boots and Levi jeans. I’d always have a bit of money in my pocket.
“I remember once being able to buy my mum a teammate for mother’s day and that was quite a proud moment.”