INTERVIEW: Having founded the McDonald’s brand in the Philippines, and forever changed the local restaurant scene, Dr George T. Yang remains the local Chairman of the iconic brand. He shares some of the secrets behind his success and longevity, including finding a pathway through the impacts of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
COS Asia: What has been the impact of the pandemic on McDonald’s businesses in the Philippines?
Yang: When news of it started, we had already begun planning, guided by our principle of protecting people, the business, and the brand. The team focused on two things: safety, and accessibility.
Safety has always been integral to our culture, so it was not difficult to pivot in this space. We had our existing employees’ and store operations’ safety playbooks. The whole system had to be agile and resilient to the virus, and the changing restrictions.
We survived the worst of the pandemic because of strategic investments we made, pre-pandemic. We committed to digital transformation by investing in e-commerce platforms, namely, the McDelivery website and app, McDonald’s app, and a strong partnership with food aggregators. Drive-through service and delivery became the main customer touchpoints that we will continue to grow.
COS Asia: How did McDonald’s assist its crew workers and corporate staff in cushioning the impact of the pandemic?
Yang: Protecting our people and their jobs was paramount. We prioritised their health. We provided care kits, free testing, vaccination, and financial help to all of our crew in need.
COS Asia: Can you divulge the secret to business longevity, amidst the stiff competition in such a fast food-centric country?
Yang: An important secret to success is our people. I champion and live by the “people-first” mindset. Take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers and your business.
Another secret is the customer. Always focus on their rapidly changing needs, and that entails innovations and investments. Keep evolving.
Lastly, give back, no matter how small. It is everyone’s responsibility to contribute and make a difference for the community, for the country. The goodwill comes back to you.
This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Dr George T. Yang, chairman and founder of McDonald’s Philippines. For further coverage please see any of the below links:
McDonald’s Philippines’ chairman living an ageless dream (May 24, 2022)
Getting to know: Dr George T. Yang, McDonald’s people champ (May 26, 2022)