Ernie Adair, chairman and CEO of National Black McDonald’s Operators Association - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

stands as a monument to the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, the largest African American business association with $2.7 billion in sales.

The restaurant celebrated its grand reopening in January with renovations including a mural featuring images of the first black owner, Herman Petty; the founders of the NBMOA, including Don Thompson–McDonald’s USA’s first black president; and the current owner, Yolanda Travis.

Ernie Adair, chairman and CEO of NBMOA and owner of nine McDonald’s franchises, elaborates on the strategies and four pillars of commitment that have kept NBMOA members prosperous and the McDonald’s corporation diverse.

Are black-owned McDonald’s franchises increasing?

The number of black franchises is at an all-time high. We have more than 300 throughout the U.S. Our goal is to always maintain a 12% representation or higher to mirror the U.S. black population base. We are right on par and continuing to increase.

What strategies has the NBMOA used to become one of the leading organizations of black business owners?

Our success is measured according to our four strategic pillars 1) eligibility for growth; 2) cash flow improvement; 3) wealth building; 4) and community involvement.

It is important that we maximize our units so our cash flows match or are better than the cash flows of general market owners. When an owner does not grow [his or] her balance sheet, then [he or] she isn’t eligible to grow and open a new unit. We encourage owners to take a piece of what they make and reinvest it in their restaurants and also into wealth building.

How does community involvement play a role?

If you take money out, you definitely want to put money back into the community. Last year the NBMOA gave out about $50,000 in scholarships. We are donating $100,000 this year through the United Negro College Fund.

How does the association advocate on behalf of individual owners?

In most cases, by involving ourselves and helping each other; we can almost always find the solution. If the owner has exhausted all resources and the problem still exists, we will help balance that owner’s portfolio by requesting that McDonald’s offer them an opportunity in a location that doesn’t have that problem.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.