For Owner/Operator Ali Tayebi, McDonald’s has always been so much more than just a job.

Twenty-five years ago, Ali Tayebi started his first job at McDonald’s. “I started at the front counter and moved through the ranks. I’ve probably held every position under the moon in the restaurant,” he says.

For Ali, working at McDonald’s was a natural choice. He was very young when his family immigrated to Canada from Iran, and his parents had to work very hard to make ends meet. Ali’s mother worked at McDonald’s, and she loved it. Ali started working at the same restaurant when he was 15, as soon as he was legally able to work.

Now a new Owner/Operator, Ali is proud to be celebrating so many years in the McDonald’s family. Last year, Ali purchased his first two restaurants in  Scarborough, east of downtown Toronto. “I’ve never worked for another company since the day I turned 15, and I could never imagine doing anything else,” he says.

By the time Ali graduated high school, the caption under his yearbook photo read: “Most likely to own a McDonald’s.”

Driven and ambitious, Ali made many connections throughout his career at McDonald’s. One of them was with Owner/Operator Dale Bartlett, who saw Ali’s talent and hired him in 2008 as a supervisor.

“I couldn’t have had a better mentor than Dale,” says Ali. “Not just in business but also in terms of philanthropy. He’s committed to the charity. George Cohon (Founder of McDonald’s Canada/RMHC Canada and McDonald’s Russia) says we have an obligation to give back, and Dale and I live by that.”

It was while working for Dale that Ali met his wife, Kristin – Dale’s daughter. Today, Kristin and Ali have two children of their own.

“Our daughter Kenzie is nine now, and she’s been volunteering on McHappy Day since she could walk. On McHappy Day my kids don’t go to school – the school knows. We’ve raised them with the sense that RMHC Toronto is our charity, this is what we do.”

“I love restaurants, and I love the influence you can have as an Owner/Operator for a brand like McDonald’s. I love this brand because it gives me an opportunity to, in my own way, help people around me. It’s not just about money, it’s what you do with your time. I’m very driven by making a difference in people’s lives, and that’s what McDonald’s allows you to do because we employ so many people from our communities. It’s not just a job. We teach a sense of family, belonging, doing good, giving back.”

Our sincere gratitude to Ali, Kristin, and their teams for their commitment to keeping families with seriously ill children together. To find out more about the incredible support of our Owner/Operator community, visit Our McDonald’s Relationship.