MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — If you've ever dined in at the Mayfield Heights McDonald's, you know Tony.
He started there 60 years ago as a part-time crew person. At one point, owned seven Cleveland area franchises.
"They're so relaxed here, so comfortable," Tony Philiou said. "It's a home away from home."
Now, he's showing off the brand new dining room while welcoming guests in for the first time since COVID. The area is decorated with flowers from locals congratulating him on the grand re-opening.
"The people who were in the drive through were so friendly," regular customer Audi said.
While Tony will tell you he values his employees, what takes some time to learn is he's helped four become franchise owners, and some managers and employees have been around for decades. So when he closed at the end of March to build the new building, deciding to keep the paychecks rolling was easy.
"I have people here that make a living here and go from week-to-week pay," he told us. "How can I tolerate for them to not have a paycheck?"
Now, they're back—new building, same old values of hard work and respect.
"That was the thing to do," Philiou said. "That was the thing to do."
Tony adds after 60 years in the business, this has been the hardest time to retain employees. But if you do the right thing, word gets out, and people stick around.