By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
The Stettler McDonald’s has earned the Stettler Board of Trade award for ‘Employer of the Year’.
A member of the McDonald’s franchise, the Stettler restaurant employs between 55 and 60 people from all walks of life.
“The diversity of our restaurant is obvious, and it makes it easier to hire as many people as we do,” said Manager Jamie Comchi.
“All my management team can connect with somebody in one way or another, which means that the people who work for us are happy to work for us, and they think that McDonald’s is a good place to work.”
The restaurant does have a diverse staff, with the youngest team member working part-time at just 15 years old, and the oldest having just turned 72.
In addition, seven separate nations are represented in the make-up of the staff.
“My favorite part is the people,” said Comchi.
“I love the guests, and I love the people I work with, from the 15-year-old kids who are part-time working once a week all the way up to my full-time ladies who work in the mornings. Everyone knows my ladies who work in the mornings.”
According to Comchi, the staff aren’t just employees, but they are family as well.
“You wouldn’t believe the types of things they come to me with, both with work life and personal life,” said Comchi.
While employment in the restaurant industry tends to be fairly transient, McDonald’s employee retention rate has remained fairly high in 2020 through the pandemic.
“Most of the (staff) we lost over the summer were students that graduated,” said Comchi.
“They are going onto bigger and better things, with some of our kids who were waiting to go to university actually getting a chance now because of the pandemic. It allowed them to go to a school that they wouldn’t have been accepted to.”
Despite the ongoing pandemic that has been affecting businesses across the province and around the world, Stettler McDonald’s has remained open, serving the community and even introducing some services.
“We’ve been open every day through the pandemic, and we have had no cases here,” said Comchi.
“We closed for about five weeks for overnights, but every other day we were open.”
In addition to remaining open during the pandemic, the restaurant also managed to find a way to broaden their services by including delivery in town.
“We introduced deliveries during the pandemic as well, so if you are stuck at home in quarantine or whatever, you can get contact-free delivery,” said Comchi.
“There aren’t many places in Stettler that you can get affordable food delivered.”
Moving into 2021, some changes are heading to the franchise – the biggest of which being Greg Manca, who also owns the McDonald’s franchise in Drumheller, taking over the Stettler location.
“We’re very excited to be part of a new franchise,” said Comchi.
“We went from a fairly big franchise before to the new one, and I’m excited to say that I think we’re going to be even more prominent in the community than we were before.”
Meanwhile, Comchi is proud to be part of the team that won the award for Best Employer in Stettler.
“Thank you to the people who nominated us. It was exciting for us because I’ve never seen a big company like McDonald’s win an award before. It’s always the down home, home-grown businesses instead of the big companies,” said Comchi.
“I’ve been on the receiving end of multiple Board of Trade awards, but this one is pretty special.”