Photo and Story by Robin Postell
VALDOSTA – Lowndes County McDonald’s owners and operators Abdul Ziaee and partner Ellen Maxwell love their babies – their seven Lowndes County McDonald’s restaurants, that is. Oh, and their nearly 400 employees.
“We operate as a family,” Ziaee said. “It’s a family operation.”
Passionate about the recent renovations of first, the Bemiss McDonald’s location, and most recently, the North Ashley restaurant, Ziaee and Maxwell beam with pride talking about what’s new.
Though the North Ashley McDonald’s drive-thru remained open, the restaurant/lobby has been closed for weeks. To complete the entire interior redesign with new modern decor, upgraded broadband, and a completely reconfigured ordering area with self-serve-styled kiosks took about four and a half weeks.
“We try to build the restaurant to be the very best for our customers,” Ziaee said. “The kiosks are very convenient and offer another way for customers to place an order, an added convenience that keeps up with technology.” Ziaee adds that though this has a self-serve aspect to it, it doesn’t replace employees. In fact, he says, it will add employees because there will be more orders in the kitchen. Adaptation is the name of the game.
Customers take a tag to their table, which is GPS-driven. So if you change tables while waiting the server will still find you, no problem.
“It’s one of a kind in the area,” Ziaee said, who added that by the end of 2019 he intends on upgrading the other five restaurants in Valdosta and Lake Park.
“We are providing more than just jobs to the employees to help the local economy,” Ziaee said. “We’re also using construction, using as many local companies, like plumbers and other contractors, as much as possible. We are proud of what we can do for the community and local economy.”