BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Linda Dunham and Brian Hairston are among a handful of McDonald’s franchisees in the New York Tri-State region who operate their restaurants as a family business.
They are in charge of McDonald's locations in Bergenfield, River Edge, Englewood, Paramus, Little Falls and Newark.
McDonald’s has been in his life for as long as Brian can remember. His stepfather, Robert Lee Dunham, opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in all of New York City in Harlem in 1973.
After Linda married Lee, she left her previous job in banking and slowly learned the ins and outs of the business. Brian did his part by helping out when he could and unsurprisingly, his first job was a crew member at a family-owned McDonald’s.
While Brian always enjoyed being around the restaurants, he never thought he would work alongside his mother one day.
“Brian made the decision to stay close to the family and help with the business, which I really appreciate,” Linda said.
“There’s no other person I trust more and I know I can always rely on him, whether it’s on the business side or personal side.”
A crew member at their Bergenfield location was recently named Crew Member of the Year.
“At the end of the day, I know my mother has my best interest at heart which is not always the case with other employers,” Brian said.
“Working together has been a blessing and I’m thankful to McDonald’s for making it possible.”