Employee at McDonald's doing tasks


‘Times are different’: TikToker says dad went from ‘grill’ to ‘owner’ at McDonald’s, sparking debate

'Just because someone was able to make a living wage 30 years ago as a crew member and work their way up doesn't mean you can now.'


Moises Mendez II


Posted on Dec 14, 2021   Updated on Dec 15, 2021, 10:11 am CST

A TikToker sparked a debate after revealing in a viral video his father went from working the grill at McDonald’s to becoming an owner of a location.

Replying to a follower’s comment that says, “And people say you can’t make a career out of McDonald’s,” Stephen Patula (@patulafamilymcdonalds), who boasts nearly 1 million followers, said, “You can absolutely make a career out of McDonald’s.” He goes on to reveal his dad started out as a grill manager and is now the owner/operator of the McDonald’s he works in.

“Our director of operations, supervisors, and all of our general managers all started off as crew,” Patula explains in the video. “You can make a career out of anything, you just have to start somewhere.”

The video gained over 653,000 views since it was posted on Monday. The comments section immediately broke out into a debate, with many arguing that “times are different.”

One person wrote, “Just because someone was able to make a living wage 30 years ago as a crew member and work their way up doesn’t mean you can now.”

In 1990, the minimum wage in the U.S. was $3.80; 31 years later, the national minimum wage has increased only to $7.25.

Others, however, agreed with Patula. “McDonald’s doesn’t hire from outside the company for higher positions. Everyone starts at the bottom,” one said.

The comment that Patula was responding to came from a video in which Patula says he loves his job, even after working there for 14 years. In the video, he explains that he became a manager at 14 and that his title now is area supervisor. He says he oversees two McDonald’s locations in Ohio. Patula also mentions that he’s in the “owner-operator program.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Patula for comment.

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*First Published: Dec 14, 2021, 1:26 pm CST