By Ryan Velez
McDonald’s, Compton, and legacy. These three words are not some that you associate with each other. Black Enterprise has recently profiled a franchise empire that not only comprises of 13 locations across Los Angeles but also has employed 700 people and brought together two generations. Read on to learn how Patricia Williams and her daughters, Nicole Enearu and Kerri Harper-Howie managed to get to where they were today.
Many stories of franchise success tell the tales of people working from nothing to get business success. Williams is a bit different, already being a rehabilitation therapist married to an LAPD officer. Over 30 years ago, inspired by other family members who owned some McDonald’s locations, Williams and her husband decided to make the leap, cashing out their 401ks and taking out a small business loan to purchase their first location in Compton. This would turn out to be a matter of expert timing, as the McDonalds brand happened to be both successful and growing rapidly during this time. Shortly after purchasing their second store, Williams’ marriage would come to an end, but not to be deterred, Williams brought her husband’s share and continued on. In 1995, she sold those first two stores and brought 5 more. In 2016, business saw revenues of $49M, placing the Williams/Enearu Organization on the 2017 BE 100s list of largest Black-owned businesses.
Any 700-employee business requires a lot of work, and Black Enterprise asked Enearu how to manage that many staff. Part of the work, she explained, was hiring good people. She explained that her mother had always valued people, and that is a central tenet of their business today. “The employees value themselves and the opportunity we’re providing them,” Enearu said. Praising the hard work of their staff, she adds that their managers have an average tenure of 15 years, no small feat considering the high turnover rate of fast food.
With this degree of business success, the question has to be asked, will mother and daughters expand their wings to other businesses? The answer, for now, is no. Enearu mentioned that they are committed to the McDonald’s brand. The current plan now is to grow by acquiring additional locations as they become available. Note that Williams and her daughters have also become active participants in their community as well. Williams is a member of the National Black McDonald’s Operator’s Association (NBMOA), the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the NAACP, Black Women’s Network, several Chambers of Commerce organizations, and numerous other business and civic organizations. Enearu is currently the first female, African American Chair for the McDonald’s Southern California Regional Leadership Council.