Best of the Bronx: Juan Antonio Rodriguez
One Bronx man has gone from fry cook to the owner and operator of 14 McDonald’s restaurants.
Juan Antonio Rodriguez started his successful franchise career with humble beginnings.
“I started on the fry station,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez left his homeland of Puerto Rico as a teenager to pursue the American dream. He got his first job at a McDonald's in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
“McDonald’s provided me at 18 years old that flexibility that was the beginning of my McDonald’s career,” says Rodriguez.
Through the years, Rodriguez rose through the ranks in leadership roles within the fast food corporation, but left the company at one point for a stint with the NYPD.
Rodriguez says ketchup was in his blood and eventually returned back to the golden arches, only this time as franchise owner.
“I bought my first restaurant in 1988, that was my first one,” says Rodriguez.
The restaurant was in the South Bronx during a time when many businesses stayed away, but he says he saw a need.
“The Bronx is a great neighborhood. It's a great place to do business and people appreciate when you do things in the community more than another place,” says Rodriguez.
To date, Rodriguez owns 14 McDonald’s franchises, with 13 of them in the Bronx with more than 800 employees working for him.
“As I'm growing, also growing my people, I always believe a growth from within,” says Rodriguez.
He says many of them have become successful managers, supervisors and owners themselves for the McDonald’s corporation.
“It gave me the ability to give back to the community and give back to these kids a career because it is a career,” says Rodriguez.