Meoli the Big Mac of local McDonald’s franchises

The Milford McDonald’s restaurant on North DuPont Highway was recently purchased by Mike Meoli and The Meoli Companies. The change in ownership/operation was effective May 1. (Submitted photo)

MILFORD — Milford’s Golden Arches are under new ownership.

Local McDonald’s restaurateur Mike Meoli and The Meoli Companies recently added the Milford McDonald’s restaurant to their ownership list, solidifying the Meoli presence in Downstate Delaware and on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Mike Meoli

“It had made sense for a long time for that store to be part of our organization because I’ve owned the Harrington store for a while,” Mr. Meoli said.

“It’s a good store. I had made a couple of attempts to purchase it over the years, and this last time was finally the charm.”

Ownership was effective May 1.

The Meoli Companies, which now operates 19 McDonald’s restaurants across the Delmarva Peninsula, is dedicated to hiring outstanding people, building and maintaining the best restaurants, and delivering a gold-standard experience for its customers.

“Including the Milford McDonald’s into our organization has been a desire of mine for many years, and it creates a tremendous opportunity for us. We will be involved and committed to supporting the Milford community just as we do everywhere our restaurants operate,” Mr. Meoli said.

“Priority one will be an aggressive commitment towards safe and responsible recovery procedures as we prepare to welcome back customers into our lobbies (after) the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr. Meoli has owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants on Delmarva since 1991 and has been recognized with numerous regional and national corporate awards, including the Golden Arch Award, which recognizes the top 1% of owner/operators in the world.

A second-generation owner/operator, Mr. Meoli has spent his entire life in the McDonald’s system. He began at age 9, lending a helping hand at his father’s restaurant in Edgewood, Md.

Today, his business includes 10 restaurants in Delaware – Harrington, Bridgeville, Seaford, Georgetown, Milford, Rehoboth Beach, Long Neck, Millsboro, Selbyville and Fenwick Island Bayside – and nine on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“The dividing lines are pretty much everything south of Dover and everything to the north of Salisbury (Md.). That is my patch, from the beach to the bay,” Mr. Meoli said.

All 19 restaurants are modernized, featuring the “arcade” building design.

Combined, Meoli-owned McDonald’s restaurants provide hundreds of employment opportunities. “At its peak during the summertime, we’re about 950,” Mr. Meoli said.

His restaurants are consistently acknowledged for their outstanding customer service achievements, superb operations and exceptional employee development.

Mr. Meoli has held positions on numerous corporation committees with other owner/operators from across the country, working together to build a better McDonald’s for customers. He currently serves as the field alignment council chair for the Bethesda Field Office, which represents seven mid-Atlantic states and 280 owner/operators.

The only McDonald’s restaurants in Sussex County that are not part of the Meoli business are in Delmar and Bethany Beach.

Possible expansion is not a pressing matter at present, given the coronavirus and status of the world, Mr. Meoli said.

“I am not currently talking with anybody about acquiring any stores right now,” he added.

“I think there could be some potential new sites, but with all of this going on in the world right now, I don’t think anybody is in any hurry to be seeking out new sites right now. But we’ll see where it goes.”

The Meoli restaurants continue to cater to customers through drive-thru during COVID-19.

Currently, under Phase 1 of Gov. John Carney’s reopening of Delaware, restaurants and businesses can offer dine-in of up to 30% of maximum state fire occupancy, with social distancing. That could go up to 60% under Phase 2, targeted for mid-June.

“Hopefully, we’ll get our lobbies open soon,” Mr. Meoli said. “Personally, I am in no hurry, especially at 30%. With all that is required on cleanliness, sanitation, hygiene, keeping customers safe, keeping our crew and managers safe, to do that for 30%, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense right now.

“We’ll wait and see, and when the time is right, we’ll slowly open the lobbies back up for seating. Barring anything changing, if that (60% at Phase 2) is the way it shakes out, that is probably going to be the day that we’ll start to kind of phase in.”