Usman Jutt is one of Canada’s largest McDonald’s franchisees and owns more than a dozen locations across Alberta. He shares his journey as a child of immigrant parents, his perspective on youth employment, job inclusiveness, career development, and community based on his experience with McDonald’s Canada.
Born to Pakistani parents who immigrated to Canada in the early 80s, Usman Jutt was the eldest of eight children and witnessed his parents face the financial hurdles of new immigrants. “There might have been 30 people living in our house in the first 15 -20 years of my life. We had to kind of survive.”
Usman looked at entrepreneurship as an economic lifeline as a young adult, starting a gas station that he turned into a successful business. In 2013, he became one of McDonald’s Canada’s youngest franchisees in Edmonton, AB. Now, he owns over a dozen locations across Alberta and is one of Canada’s largest McDonald’s franchisees.
Usman credits his hard work and drive with his success but wishes the path to entrepreneurship didn’t entail leaving his university studies. “I have a great business, but education is important to me too, and while I spend a lot of time reading and learning, I do value formal education.”
To many New Canadians, accessing post-secondary education enables their children to achieve their dreams, and it becomes an economic and social equality generator, benefiting the family. Now, being a McDonald’s franchisee, Usman is making education a priority for youth employees in his restaurants by offering a 30-minute paid break for employees in school to work on their homework. He temporarily pauses work hours for those experiencing low school grades to focus on studying and improving. “I send an individualized letter to parents – upon employing their children – asking them to contact me directly should their children’s grades suffer in school,” said Usman. “If a kids’ grades drop on the next report card, we reduce their working hours till their grades improve.”
Multilingualism is at the heart of Canada’s identity. Usman ensures McDonald’s commitment to education reaches parents in the community who only engage in their first language. “For employees with a background like mine, where language is a barrier, their parents can communicate with me in Urdu,” said Usman, who also speaks Punjabi.
Support is critical to helping newcomers settle and adapt to life in Canada. Usman stresses that a McDonald’s work environment reduces barriers through mentorship, creating opportunities to leverage for personal and professional development. “When you work at McDonald’s, you’re connecting with a community. McDonald’s isn’t just working at a restaurant; it is a career gateway,” he emphasized. “It provides leadership skills. Some of our youth become crew leaders within six months of employment.”
Usman affirms the transferrable skills gained at McDonald’s make it an ideal fit for college students who intend to build careers in other fields. For those employees interested in pursuing an academic degree, his restaurants offer a $1,000 scholarship. Other employee benefits include a partnership with schools to turn McDonald’s on-the-job training into academic credit and an exclusive mentorship program with industry leaders in the community.
“Nobody can tell the story of youth as we do at McDonald’s. It’s the alumni that we have. It’s the events you attend – when talking to someone at the playground or while picking up my kid from school, everyone appears to have had a McDonald’s experience. We create leaders.”
If you know a young person looking for a fun, flexible first job to kickstart their career, suggest they try McDonald’s.