By Ling-Mei Wong
When Carol Chin came to America, she did not speak English and worked in a sewing factory.
Today, Chin owns multiple McDonald’s franchisees in the Boston area, including the Chinatown location on Washington and Kneeland streets.
“Trust me, I love working every single day,” Chin said. “I love visiting my restaurants and saying hi to my employees.”
Chin’s parents emigrated from Guangdong, China, to Hong Kong, where Chin was born. When she was 11, the family moved to Caracas, Venezuela. She came to New York City for college, earning a bachelor’s in accounting from Long Island University.
“I had a very good job with the New York Board of Education,” Chin said. “I was one of the associate accountants and I managed a whole department there.”
After Chin had her second child, she stayed home four months and watched TV with her daughters. It was then that she noticed McDonald’s commercials and wanted to start her own business.
Chin and her husband finished a two-year training program for McDonald’s franchisees, right as Boston was looking for an Asian operator to run the Chinatown location. “We had just returned from Hamburger University and we opened the Chinatown store in 1990,” she said. “We’ve been there over 20 years. As a matter of fact, Dec. 22 is our 22nd anniversary.”
As an owner-operator, Chin works on people development and marketing. “In Chinatown, have you seen the sign for two fish sandwiches for $3.33?” she said. “That’s local store marketing, because we serve a lot of seniors. They come in pairs, so they each get a fish sandwich.”
To serve the community, she finds the right people for the Chinatown store. “We make sure we put a bilingual cashier up front,” Chin said. “In case a customer comes in and they don’t understand our food or they speak Chinese, hopefully we have a staffer who speaks their language.”
Chin’s success has enabled her to give back. “I’m also involved with the community,” she said. “We participate with the schools.”
Chin is grateful for the opportunities she found in America. “You have to work hard, no matter what career path you take,” she said. “Work hard. Gain knowledge. Go learn whatever you like. There are a lot of training programs in the Boston area that people can take.”