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McDonald’s Opening Party: M is for Morgan!

Oct 19, 2023 01:55PM ● By Ethan Hoffmann

McDonald’s hosted an opening party on Oct. 6, at the Morgan County location. Residents of Morgan were invited to the party through the mail, which included coupons for the restaurant and a hiring notice for potential workers. Since their unofficial opening toward the end of September, business has been booming. For residents of Morgan, the drive thru line seems to be a mile long 24/7. In any case, it would appear that the mutualistic relationship between McDonald’s and Morgan has gotten off to a great start. 

The event lasted from 12-4 p.m. and citizens were invited to celebrate the occasion with parking lot games including cornhole and kan jam, a coloring raffle, free swag giveaways, face painting, and balloon twisting. Participants were greeted with colored balloons and a red tent with the trademark yellow M emblazoned on the front. Drinks were on the house and students wearing Morgan themed clothing received a free lunch. During the party, a ribbon cutting ceremony commenced with the mayor and all Morgan City dignitaries present. 

In addition, the jazz band of Morgan High School was on site providing live music. They played songs such as “You’re Welcome” from Moana, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel, and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. In exchange, McDonald’s will be sponsoring the band and providing funds for various activities throughout the year, including their annual band trip to California. 

And that’s not all, McDonald’s is planning to do something that no one else has done in the country: provide donations from digital sales. This is what is more commonly known as a “McBand Night.” On a McBand Night, a specific percentage from all the digital sales will go toward supporting the band. The company has done similar events with McTeacher nights. “We’re all about moving forward with digital,” said Cory Watson, one of the owners of the Morgan location. “The way people can order and pay is all digital. It’s the way of the future. Digital methods are easier and more convenient for customers to receive a positive experience here at McDonald’s.”  

Watson and his father Allen are partners in the trade and they are the current owners and operators of the Morgan location. Before the company set their eyes on Morgan, Watson was the owner of 24 McDonald’s restaurants in Utah. His father Allen sold his McDonald’s business in Mansfield, Louisiana and bought five more in Utah to replace it. Later, after going to school at Weber State University and earning his degree, Watson decided to see what it was like to work with McDonald’s. He quit his job at the corporate offices for Flying J and began working at McDonald’s full time. “It took a lot of time and sacrifice and hard work and I’m very blessed to see the end result,” said Watson. “If you were to ask 20 years ago, ‘would you see us at 25 locations?’ No. Would you see us in Morgan? Heavens no.” Morgan made the count 25 and he was very excited about that. Watson started working at McDonald’s as young as 12 years old and he worked his way from the bottom as a general manager to the top as an owner.

The process of building a new McDonald’s is simple: The McDonald’s corporation visits different places and looks for towns that could potentially be building sites. The corporation had their eyes set on Morgan for quite a while, and as a Layton resident, Watson was their first choice. He caught wind from the corporation that they were considering Morgan and they had a lengthy conversation. Watson had many friends that grew up in Morgan and they all had wanted a McDonald’s.

When the opportunity came, the company franchised the McDonald’s to Watson’s group and they put a plan together. “We wanted to execute it the right way, making sure that we were involving the community, the schools, and the chamber of commerce.” Watson said. “It’s different when you open a business in a small town versus a city. You want to get everyone excited because it’s something new for them.”

The construction company broke ground on June 5 and the building opened for business on Sept. 25. The city of Morgan controls their own electricity so the company didn’t have to work with Rocky Mountain Power. This really helped the local contractor to get the ball rolling. “He builds all the McDonald’s in the state and he said this was by far the easiest.” said Watson. “The town was excited for it and that was really fun to see.”

According to Watson, business in Morgan has been phenomenal so far. He also described it to be “excellent.” This doesn’t only apply to the business aspect; McDonald’s started with over 50 employees and Watson’s estimate was that 90 percent of them live here in Morgan. “The work ethic that the employees have here is amazing,” Watson said. “It’s a testament to their parents and to the entire community. At other locations we don’t see that, and it really stands out. I can’t wait to see these kids grow up. They are going to be very successful in the future.”  

Watson said that once word got out, it was a lot easier to find residents to hire. At first, the process was painstaking and fruitless. The organization rented a space and had open interviews during the weeks leading to the opening day. Slowly but surely they started to build up a workforce and by the end of September there was a huge influx right before they opened. 

Morgan has been very positive and welcoming to McDonald’s this fall. Managers, workers, and officials have received nothing but great feedback. People are very excited that they can come get a shake or a burger and it’s not going to cost them eight bucks. The value and quality that McDonald’s provides and the speed and cleanliness at which they can serve customers is impressive. “We’re far from perfect," said Watson. “But every day we don’t wake up and ask how we are going to mess this up, we wake up and ask how are we going to give a positive experience to everyone involved? That’s what we strive for.” After all, McDonald’s mission statement is “to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. This is how we uniquely feed and foster communities.” (

Before the ribbon cutting, there were multiple speakers. Two worth noting however were Cory Watson and Ty Bailey. “Other than the fact that you didn’t make the golden arches maroon, we feel the love,” Bailey said. Watson’s reply was as accurate as it was memorable: “It still says M, and M is for Morgan!” λ

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