By Janelle Davis
Paul Ross, who owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants including locations in Liverpool and Baldwinsville, is celebrating a milestone in his career.
As of 2023, Ross has spent 50 years in the restaurant business.
After six years in the military, Ross took on the role of owner/operator for McDonald’s in 1973.
He was seeking a job where he could be with his family and have a successful career. He asked his friends in the business world what they thought, and they mentioned McDonald’s as a young company gaining momentum.
“I was one of the youngest owners in the system at the time,” Ross said.
Ross hit the ground running by starting the franchise training program and opening his first restaurant in November of 1973 on the south side of Syracuse.
“A long journey begins one step at a time,” Ross said. “As the years went on, I had the opportunity to acquire more restaurants, and here we are today. I still own the restaurant I first started with.”
His career has been much more than serving burgers and fries in his 15 Syracuse-area locations, including the Liverpool and Baldwinsville locations.
Ross has also inspired value and responsibility in his tens of thousands of employees throughout his career.
“I always tell my employees to do what you say you are going to do and be accountable for your actions,” he said.
The safe work environment that Ross has strived to established gives employees a sense of belonging and growth, according to Ross.
This has resulted in many working for him for over 40 years.
“Some past employees are sending their kids to work in my restaurants,” Ross said. “They often tell me how working at McDonald’s changed their lives and allowed them to learn skills at a young age. It’s such a great feeling to be part of that and be working with the next generation.”
Ross is also a founder of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York.
The Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home for families with sick children who receive treatment in local hospitals.
Ross was inspired to get involved with the organization right from the start.
He shared that as a child, he had a younger brother who was partially paralyzed.
Ross helped with his brother’s care.
This experience inspired him to take any opportunity to help those who couldn’t do for themselves.
For Ross, the Ronald McDonald house was the perfect fit.
“It’s important to give back to our community in any way we can that goes beyond just dollars, but to dedicate our time and resources,” Ross said.
Ross has also helped raise $1.5 million in just the last three years alone for the organization.
He is proud of the impact he has had on families through the opportunity he was given to take on the role of president.
Ross said the Round Up campaign at McDonald’s restaurants has helped raise those funds.
Starting off slow, Ross brought together his employees to figure out how to make the campaign a bigger priority.
Motivated by its impact on the house and the families, Ross worked to make it more appealing for employees to get involved.
Incentives were given out through bonuses and contests.
Ross said this has made a big difference and not only has the management team played a bigger part in raising money, but they are also more involved with cooking meals at the house.
“It’s a great experience all around,” he said.
Fifty years of dedication in his role at McDonald’s and the Ronald McDonald House has let Ross know he made the right choice by joining the organization over all those years ago.
“When I wake up and go to work, I’m not going to work,” Ross said. “I’m doing what I love. Providing opportunities for my employees, seeing them succeed, and making a difference in the community are my biggest successes. I’ve been truly fulfilled by my career.”