There's no better story of "rising through the ranks" than Adrian Sippel.
The born-and-bred businessman from Tamworth in the NSW New Engaand region, once used to be a burger boy at McDonald's. Countless hours later, he owns all of the city's McDonald's restaurants, as well as the franchise in Gunnedah, and has just been approved to build another.
But it didn't come easily.
Like many people in the bush, Mr Sippel started out his working years as a 14-year-old in 1998 at McDonald's in South Tamworth, prepping burgers and chips for hungry residents.
Fast forward more than 20 years, and he's one of Tamworth's biggest employers.
The Northern Daily Leader sat down with Mr Sippel in the party room of the West Tamworth franchise, where he explained how he came to own not one but several of the fast-food franchises.
"Back then the menu and operations were far more simple than they are now," he said.
"I was in Year 10 of school ... and a lot of my friends were working at Maccas and we all sort of went together and got a job.
"I really enjoyed it and it was a good way to balance working and then playing sport on weekends and training."
He then quickly moved up to crew trainer, "coaching the procedures for the new crew", and then into shift manager, when he was in Year 12.
"I did the HSC for Tamworth High in the year 2000 and I had the opportunity to go to uni and got in and decided to have a gap year," Mr Sippel said.
"During that gap year I was able to forge a really good relationship with the previous owners and had an incredible education in business just from being mentored by John and Elizabeth [O'Sullivan]."
This solidified his goal of becoming a licensee, and when he was 26, while he was the general manager of South and East Tamworth McDonald's, this became a reality.
The opportunity came up for Mr Sippel to become franchisee of the Glen Innes restaurant, which was about to be built.
Here, he met his wife, Natasha, and after five years they then moved to the coast to run the Kempsey site.
"There was an opportunity to do a second Kempsey restaurant at the Kempsey Service Centre so we jumped at the chance to go over there and built a second restaurant," Mr Sippel said.
The previous owners produced four or five staff members to be franchisees so that's a goal of mine.Adrian Sippel
He and Natasha married in 2014 in Port Macquarie, and then in July 2019, his dream was realised, as he got the chance to come back to Tamworth.
"It'd always been my dream to run the Tamworth restaurants. It was way out of my reach when I was just becoming a licensee and I had to do some hard yards in other towns and build my equity and learn how to be a licensee and how to run a business in that sense," he said.
He also wanted to be closer to family and friends, as well as raise his three sons: Harry, almost four; Harvey, two; and Toby, three months.
"I'd really like to just focus on the Tamworth and Gunnedah community and give back and hopefully produce some of my guys to be a franchisee," Mr Sippel told ACM.
And the advice for any young locals keen to follow in his footsteps?
"Grab every opportunity you can; get a job; learn to enjoy being part of a workforce; and enjoy what it's all about being part of a team," he said.