Local McDonald’s owner/operator Ajay Patel has been awarded the Ronald Award, an honor given to only 1 percent of McDonald’s franchise owners. Patel owns and operates seven area franchises in Central and Southwest Louisiana.

The Ronald Award recognizes an owner or owner organization that has made outstanding contributions to McDonald’s, the local community and customers. As a member of the McDonald’s National Leadership Committee, Ajay has been instrumental in driving some of McDonald’s recent Food and Operations improvement initiatives. As a community leader, Ajay has participated in many worthwhile projects such as CADA’s Taste ‘n Tell, the Games of Acadiana to benefit Miles Perret Cancer Services, and numerous other local projects. He actively seeks to hire Veterans of the Armed Forces and spouses of active military by participating in job fairs at Fort Polk. He is a strong believer in education which is evident in his support of McTeacher Nights, coupons for student achievement, overall support of local schools in his franchise areas and by sponsoring a scholarship at the Louisiana State University at Eunice.

Patel first came to America from India in 1977. He started college at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in the fall of 1978. To pay tuition he had to have a job, that’s when he found McDonald’s. He worked his way up to area supervisor and in 1992 bought his first franchise. Over the last 23 years, his restaurants and staff have been recognized with numerous awards, including the People Award.

“It’s truly an honor to be selected as this year’s recipient of the Ronald Award and would not have been possible without the support of my mentor, the late Edward Krampe, Jr.,” said Patel.  “McDonald’s has offered me so many opportunities for growth over the years and fueled my passion for continually improving the customer experience and giving back to the community.”