On his first day with McDonald’s, Rick McGraw peeled and blanched some potatoes and whipped up chocolate milk shakes. It was July 11, 1968, and Rick was a $1.25 an hour crew person at store #132 in Oshkosh WI. At the Oshkosh store Rick eventually worked his way up to hourly manager.
Rick stayed with the Oshkosh McDonald’s for seven years, working there part time while majoring in business at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Then McDonald’s asked him to go to Wausau, WI to see if he could help bail out a franchisee there.
“They wanted me to help him turn his operation around and get re-licensed.” He was in Wausau three years, during which time he met his future wife, Dona, who worked in public relations for Employers Insurance Co.
“I had majored in business, so I knew that’s what I wanted to do. But we had bought a home in Wausau, and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue with McDonald’s. The corporation wanted me to continue my career with them, but I wanted to be a franchisee.”
“We looked at a couple of sites in both Litchfield, IL, and Kennett, MO,” Rick said and decided upon the Litchfield location which opened December 20, 1978. “Dona opened in the mornings, and I worked 9am to 9pm that first year. We brought a manager with us that closed.”
In 1981 Rick and Dona bought the store in Highland and built a new unit in Carlinville. They bought Jerseyville in 1984 and started building another new store in Hillsboro in 1988.
In Mid 1988 the McGraw’s entered negotiations with Jim and Tom Mack to buy the Springfield McDonald's market.
“I was looking for a new challenge,” Rick said. The McGraw Group bought the eight existing Springfield Stores in January 1989.
Today the McGraw Family operates nine McDonald’s in Springfield, Litchfield, and Williamsville.