published Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Productive manager at East Ridge McDonald's wins Kroc Award

Wasef Hajbeh, right, hands balloons and flowers to manager Tracey Moore at the East Ridge McDonald's on Wednesday. Moore won the Ray Kroc Award for 2011.
Wasef Hajbeh, right, hands balloons and flowers to manager Tracey Moore at the East Ridge McDonald's on Wednesday. Moore won the Ray Kroc Award for 2011.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

TRACEY MOORE

Age: 28

Job title: General manager at the East Ridge McDonald's

Family: She and her husband, Issac, have an 11-year-old son, Jody

Career: Before joining McDonald's, Moore worked a number of retail, fast food and manufacturing jobs.

Education: Graduated from North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Ala.

Tracey Moore just won the Oscar of the McDonald's world.

After a year and a half managing the East Ridge franchise, Moore's performance placed her in the top 1 percent of managers across the country. That earned her a Ray Kroc Award, named for the burger chain's corporate founder. With the prize, she gets $2,500 and a trip to corporate headquarters in Chicago to meet with the multinational corporation's top executives.

The Stevenson, Ala., native said she's been successful because she always looked at McDonald's as a career rather than the stereotypical dead-end job.

"There's so much more to it," she said. "I love being that example."

Moore said she can't help but focus on people. Before starting as a general manager at East Ridge's store, she held a number of retail, restaurant and manufacturing jobs including a gig in a Shaw Industries carpet plant. The job wasn't awful, she said, but it was difficult for her to work 12- hour shifts with a machine instead of a human being.

"I care about people. I enjoy working with people," she said. "The key to my success is communication."

Her boss agrees. Rob Goodwin, who owns seven local McDonald's franchises, praised Moore's ability to train her people.

Goodwin started out at McDonald's as a crew person decades ago before joining the 30 percent to 40 percent of franchise owner/operators who got their start working the grill.

"I hope she's still with me when I retire," he said. "She has a lot of potential in my company."

Moore's time at McDonald's isn't always without difficulty. She, her husband and 11-year-old son Jody, still live in Stevenson, Ala., so she spends plenty of time in the car. When she finally arrives at work, she's running around all day dealing with the storm of small and large problems that can crop up in a fast food restaurant.

"A general manager, if they don't feel like they're overwhelmed at some point in the day, they're doing something wrong," she said. "I have to have a challenge. I don't feel like I've achieved something that day if I don't."

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