Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

From the till to owning five McDonald's

Dinesh Mani started out at the till at McDonald's New Lynn. He now owns five McDonald's restaurants. Photo/Duncan Brown.
Dinesh Mani started out at the till at McDonald's New Lynn. He now owns five McDonald's restaurants. Photo/Duncan Brown.

Thirty years on from his first job behind the till at McDonald's New Lynn, Dinesh Mani is still with the company, now as a franchisee.

Mani now owns four McDonald's restaurants in New Lynn where he started out, Henderson, Avondale, and Kelston with a fifth about to open in Te Atatu.

The 49-year-old said the company had given him some amazing opportunities although starting out he didn't think it would be a career.

"I started there more for pocket money and paying my board, but then while I was studying management I figured out that McDonald's could offer a career path, and I was fortunate enough to work for an employer that supported that," Mani said.

"I never looked back."

Mani now employs more than 300 staff who he says are more like family, and spends much of his time encouraging them in their ambitions and careers.

Dinesh Mani. Photo / Supplied
Dinesh Mani. Photo / Supplied

He said the people were the most important part of the business.

"When people use us as a stepping stone and go on to succeed, it gives us the greatest satisfaction," Mani said.

"I have senior managers that have been there 10 to 15 years now and often the only reason they leave is to move on to bigger and better things, which is great."

Over the years Mani has worked in every job across the company from flipping patties to managing staff and everything in between.

With five restaurants under his belt, Mani said he wasn't finished yet, saying if McDonald's wanted to open more stores, he was happy to expand.

"It's a great company," Mani said. "People think McDonald's is a dead-end job but it's not. I mean it's the same as any job, it's what you make of it, you just have to have the willpower and determination and vision to do what you want to do.

"Halfway through working there I decided I wanted to own a McDonald's. I set myself goals and targets and the company was really helpful - and today here we are."

- NZ Herald

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