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Monday, May 3, 2021

He’s Lovin’ It!

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Supervisor Robert Griggs Maintains Lunch Routine

How does this sound for lunch?

A Quarter Pounder with cheese, no pickles, no onions, a large fry, an apple pie and a Fanta orange soda.

OK, now how does that sound for lunch every weekday – for 31 years?

To Robert Griggs, it sounds – and tastes – delicious. Griggs is the maintenance supervisor for 14 McDonald’s restaurants throughout Northwest Louisiana and East Texas. Monday through Friday, he’s at a McDonald’s at lunchtime, so to Robert, it really doesn’t make sense to go anywhere else – or eat anything else.

“I’m a picky eater,” Robert said. “I tried other sandwiches, and to me, they just didn’t taste right. Particularly the Big Mac – I don’t like lettuce and all that stuff. So, I said, let me try a Quarter Pounder, no onions, no pickles. I got that, and I was like, ‘Awww, man, that’s the burger!’ It still feels like a burger. It’s got all the ingredients, so I was like, ‘Awww, man, this is great!’ I love it!’” Now, you won’t catch Robert eating his Quarter Pounder with his fries. Nope. Robert’s first order of business is to spread out the fries, “Ketchup them down,” as he says, and eat ’em while they’re hot.

“Fries are good when they’re hot,” Robert explained, “so I eat the fries first thing. Once the fries are gone, I eat my burger. Then, when the burger is down, I get my apple pie. It’s kind of like a little system I have. I do this every day.”

So, it’s no surprise when the clock strikes lunchtime and Robert strolls up to the counter, the staff – no matter which McDonald’s – knows exactly what he wants.

“I’ve eaten it so much, I just walk up there,” Robert said. “They say, ‘Robert, you getting the usual?’ I say, ‘Yes.’ Most people, they change, but I don’t change. I stick with the same sandwich. They say, ‘Robert, go sit down. We’ll bring it to you.’” You would think a Quarter Pounder, fries, an apple pie and orange drink five days a week for 31 years would pack on the pounds. But Robert says his ideal weight is 205-208, and that’s where he is – and has been – most of his adult life. However, if Robert was eating all of that for dinner instead of lunch, his weight might be different.

“I tell my wife all the time if you eat late, then lay down, it’s going to go straight to that stomach. My biggest thing is, I didn’t want a stomach. So, I try to stay slim and trim.”

“I like Quarter Pounders, but I don’t want them every day!” said Robert’s brother, Roy. Roy Griggs owns the McDonald’s franchises where Robert works. They’ve been a team since Roy bought his first franchise – in Thomasville, Ala. – back in 1989.

“All the time he has worked for me, I have never had a complaint that Robert tries to throw his weight around because he’s my brother,” Roy said. “He’s probably one of the most loved staff members in the company. Not because of who he is, but because of how he works with the team and how skillful he is.”

Robert “went to a little trade school,” but it was mostly on-the-job training where he learned how to repair – and keep running – everything inside a McDonald’s.

“Robert can troubleshoot equipment and figure out how to get it to operate,” Roy said. “He just has the skill. He’s a natural.”

Robert has had opportunities to move into management, but each time, he’s told his brother, “No, thank you.”

“I like what I’m doing – using my hands,” Robert said. “ I don’t have too many bosses. He (Roy) gives me the reins of ‘Hey, Robert, you do what you do, and if something goes wrong, you call me.’ I just like that freedom of going from store to store, and if they say, ‘Robert, we need this,’ then cool, instead of ‘Hey, Robert, we’re short-handed.’ It’s a different ballgame from maintenance to manager, so I just love maintenance, instead of being a manager.”

At 54, Robert is still a few years away from retiring. So, when that time comes, what is he going to eat for lunch every day?

“Going to have to have a Quarter Pounder. It’s just not going to seem right having something else, because I’ve eaten them for so long.”

In other words, he’s “lovin’ it.”

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