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McDonald logoIt’s no secret that 67-year-old Roland Lowery loves working with people. That’s why, after leaving school at 14, he went straight into hospitality and never looked back.

Roland has worn many hats since his first role as a waiter. As well as managing pub restaurants and working for a catering agency, he spent the majority of his career running fish and chip shops with his wife, Lindsey.

However, after years of working around the clock as a business owner, Roland was interested in taking up a more flexible, part-time opportunity in his 60s – and applied for a role at McDonald’s.

Five years later, Roland is still with the company and loves it. We spoke to him to learn more about his journey and why McDonald’s is a good option for later-life job seekers.

“I love being front-of-house and meeting people”

I love being front-of-house and meeting people

Roland grew up in Gateshead, but he left for Barnsley with two friends when he was 17. “I’ve been in Yorkshire ever since,” he smiles, “apart from a little gap when we lived down in Cornwall.”

Throughout his young adulthood, Roland worked in various hospitality roles – progressing from a waiter to a restaurant manager to a hotel general manager. “I absolutely loved it,” he says. “I love being front-of-house and meeting people.”

However, one day, Roland decided it was time for a change. So he and Lindsey bought a fish and chip shop. This would still offer them plenty of interaction with customers, but hopefully more control over their hours. The Lowerys ended up running their chippy in Barnsley for three years before closing up, moving down to Porthleven in Cornwall, and buying another one.

But while he enjoyed the freedom of running his own business, Roland also acknowledges the challenges. Specifically, it didn’t offer him the flexibility he’d hoped for.

With this in mind, the pair made another big decision a decade later when they returned north to Sheffield to be closer to Lindsey’s family. But, instead of buying another business, they took on part-time jobs.

Roland explains, “Every Thursday we’d end up in the Hillsborough McDonald’s. We were sitting there one day, and I said, ‘I wonder what it’s like working here?’ And my wife said, ‘Well, why not give it a go?’ So I applied for the job, and five years later, I’m still with McDonald’s, and I’m loving it.”

“Working at McDonald’s involves so much – it’s really opened my eyes.”

Working at McDonald’s involves so much – it’s really opened my eyes

As someone who enjoys connecting with people and has plenty of experience in hospitality, Roland’s new role as a Customer Care Assistant was a great fit. It involved keeping the restaurant clean, welcoming customers, and generally making sure their experience was as positive as possible.

In fact, Roland’s performance was so good that he was soon promoted to Customer Experience Leader.

“My manager said, ‘It seems like this role has been created especially for you,’” Roland tells us.

Part of Roland’s success, he reveals, is down to his experience – not just in hospitality, but in general life too. “Somebody who’s older, got a bit more maturity about them, and relates to people can do the job well,” he says.

McDonald’s has also provided Roland with plenty of opportunities to get involved with activities outside of his job description.

He says, “Working at McDonald’s involves so much – it’s really opened my eyes. I’ve been in the Daily Mirror, done photoshoots for the McDonald’s website, attended a business manager’s conference, and various things like that. I don’t believe in standing still. I just love to do things.”

Roland is also breaking stereotypes of later-life workers and starting a customer service apprenticeship with McDonald’s, which blends assessments with on-the-job training. “I want to learn more; I want to do more in the McDonald’s world. Hopefully, at the end of the 18 months, I’ll come out with a certificate.”

“If you come in with the right attitude and work hard, McDonald’s will look after you. It’s as simple as that”

Despite his career ambition, Roland is also keen to make the most of later life by travelling, gardening, and spending time with his wife. So, he explains that not only is his part-time role ideal for him at this stage of life, but he also appreciates the flexibility that McDonald’s offers.

“You get the flexibility to do the hours you want, within reason,” he says. “So, if you’re willing to compromise a little, you can fit your lifestyle around it.

“At the end of the day, if you come in with the right attitude and work hard, McDonald’s will look after you. It’s as simple as that. It’s just so supportive.”

And to any other later life jobseekers considering a career at McDonald’s, Roland has this to say…

“Give it a try. Don’t think, ‘Oh, that’s not for me.’ Just give it a go for a few weeks. Don’t be afraid because it brings the best out in you. We all need to be out there meeting new people. I thought I was going to retire at 66, but I didn’t want to, so here I am working at McDonald’s.”

Are you inspired by Roland’s story and considering a career with McDonald’s? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.