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Local McDonald's manager wins national award

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

McDonald's USA recently recognized its restaurant at 2125 Mt. Zion Parkway in Morrow as one of its most efficient, cleanest, and most hospitable in the country.

The eatery's general manager was honored for making it that way.

Restaurant manager Michael Dermer, of Jonesboro, has been given the 2007 Ray Kroc Award for his service to McDonald's USA. The award is bestowed to only the top 1 percent of McDonald's managers, based on yearly sales, customer satisfaction, and employee turnover rates.

The award given Dermer not only identifies leaders, but also a healthy work environment, said Kristal McKanders, a public relations representative with the Greater Atlanta McDonald's Operators Association.

"What singles out the Ray Kroc Award winners is that they go above and beyond duty," said McKanders. "It not only exemplifies the hard work of the manager, but it exemplifies the stellar staff working behind that person. It says that manager provides an excellent example to all of the employees."

On March 11, 137 managers selected from around the country were honored with the award during the McDonald's Gala Award Ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers on East North Water Street in Chicago. Ray Justice, franchise owner of the Mt. Zion Parkway McDonald's for the last 15 years, said Dermer has been instrumental to the restaurant's success.

"He develops a rapport with the community and we have one of the lowest turnover rates" of any McDonald's in the metro Atlanta area, said Justice. He said while the employee turnover rate in most fast food restaurants is 300 percent, the rate at the Mt. Zion Parkway McDonald's is about 100 percent.

"Anytime you can keep it down to 95 or 100 [percent] you are hitting a home run," said Justice. "Instead of hiring three people to do one job in a year, we hire one."

Dermer said he tries to promote a family environment, something he believes keeps customers and employees coming back to the restaurant.

He said the store also participates in many service projects with local schools and churches, and often hosts "Teachers Night." During the event, a percentage of that day's profits are donated to a selected school.

"Putting our customers first has really made a difference," said Dermer. "We have one of the fastest drive-thrus in the area and we have a loyal following who come to our store day after day.

"We not only put the customers first, but we also put the crew first," Dermer continued. "People stay with us for a long time. We really try to stress that it's a family."