13 successful people who got their start working in fast food

Barack Obama worked at Baskin-Robbins scooping ice cream before becoming president.

Many celebrities, politicians, and entrepreneurs got their start working in fast-food chains.
Jeff Bezos said working the grill at McDonald’s taught him responsibility. 
Former President Barack Obama worked at Baskin-Robbins in high school.

Would you be shocked to learn that many successful entrepreneurs and celebrities once made money flipping burgers?

From Jeff Bezos to Brad Pitt and Barack Obama, these celebrities prove that even the most successful people can have humble beginnings — and learn a lot of valuable lessons from working at fast-food chains. 

Here are 13 successful people who got their start working in fast food.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos got his start working the grill at McDonald’s.
Jeff Bezos worked at McDonald’s as a teenager.

Before he became the second-richest person in the world with a net worth of $212.4 billion, according to Forbes, Bezos used to work at McDonald’s.

In Cody Teets’ book “Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald’s,” Bezos revealed he worked the grill and that the job taught him responsibility. Business Insider previously reported that Bezos worked at McDonald’s over the summer when he was a teenager — and that Bezos’ father had also been a McDonald’s employee.

“My first week on the job, a five-gallon, wall-mounted ketchup dispenser got stuck open in the kitchen and dumped a prodigious quantity of ketchup into every hard-to-reach kitchen crevice,” Bezos told Teets. “Since I was the new guy, they handed me the cleaning solution and said, ‘Get going!'”

“I was a grill man and never worked the cash registers,” he continued. “The most challenging thing was keeping everything going at the right pace during a rush. The manager at my McDonald’s was excellent. He had a lot of teenagers working for him, and he kept us focused even while we had fun.”

When she was just starting out, Rachel McAdams also worked at McDonald’s.
Rachel McAdams said she wasn’t a great employee at McDonald’s.

In her own words, the actress wasn’t a star employee at the fast-food giant and even accidentally broke an orange juice machine while she was on the clock, US Magazine reported.

“I worked at the local McDonald’s for three years,” McAdams told The New York Times in 2008. “I’m not sure why they kept me: I am something of a daydreamer and a dawdler, so they would only let me be the ‘friendly voice’ that greeted you when you entered the restaurant. I was slow — I would be organizing the sweet-and-sour packets in the customer’s takeout bag while the line snaked out the door.”

Barack Obama scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins in high school.
Barack Obama said working at Baskin-Robbins taught him responsibility.

Obama worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop near his grandparents’ Honolulu home in the summer of 1978. 

“Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists,” the former president wrote about the experience in a since-deleted LinkedIn post.

“My first summer job wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it taught me some valuable lessons,” Obama said. “Responsibility. Hard work. Balancing a job with friends, family, and school.”

Before making it, Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square.
Madonna said she was fired from Dunkin’.

The “Material Girl” singer told Howard Stern during a 2015 interview that she got fired when she squirted jelly filling on a customer. 

“I think I stayed there for maybe a week,” she said, revealing that she got fired for playing with the jelly doughnut machine and for not taking it seriously. 

Brad Pitt dressed up as a chicken when he worked at El Pollo Loco.
Brad Pitt was once a restaurant mascot.

The award-winning actor spoke about his brief stint working as an El Pollo Loco mascot with Ellen DeGeneres in 2019. 

Pitt told the talk-show host that before he made it big as an actor, he dressed as a chicken for the grand opening of the fast-food chain’s location at Sunset and La Brea in Los Angeles, and that he had “no shame” about the job. 

“Man’s gotta eat,” he laughed. 

Jay Leno got his start slicing potatoes at the Golden Arches.
Jay Leno worked at McDonald’s for two years.

CNBC reported that the comedian and late-night host worked at a McDonald’s restaurant in Andover, Massachusetts, as a teenager before hitting it big. 

“I worked at a restaurant on Main Street for two years, from 1966 to 1968,” Leno told Cody Teets in “Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald’s.” “This was back in the good old days when they still had roast beef and strawberry shortcake, which I was a huge fan of.”

“I had these massive forearms from cutting those potatoes,” he continued, explaining that he was in charge of cutting the potatoes to make the chain’s famous fries each day.

Queen Latifah’s first job was at Burger King when she was 15 years old.
Queen Latifah worked at her local Burger King.

Long before she was an Oscar-nominated actor, Latifah learned the value of a dollar by working at her local Burger King restaurant. 

“If my brother and I wanted money in our pockets, we had to get jobs — my first was at 15, at Burger King. We had to come up with ways to create an income,” Latifah, who back then was just known as Dana Owens, told Parade in 2011.

Pink once worked in the drive-thru at McDonald’s.
Pink worked at McDonald’s as a teenager.

In an interview with Food and Wine in 2015, Pink revealed that her family encouraged her to start making her own money as a teenager.

“I was a drive-thru girl at McDonald’s. I had a Janet Jackson microphone — I had power,” the singer told the magazine, according to Pop Crush

Before he founded Def Jam, Russell Simmons made $2.25 an hour working behind the counter at Orange Julius.
Russell Simmons didn’t last long at Orange Julius.

Simmons told Forbes that working at Orange Julius provided him a good learning experience, though the gig didn’t last long. 

“I was fired after a month, so I learned you need to be inspired about work,” he said. 

Gwen Stefani’s job at Dairy Queen led to the formation of her hit band No Doubt.
Gwen Stefani worked at Dairy Queen.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “The Voice” judge worked at Dairy Queen as a young woman, where she also worked with her brother Eric Stefani and friend John Spence.

The group formed its first band, Apple Core, in 1986. They later renamed themselves No Doubt and went on to win two Grammy awards — arguably all thanks to Dairy Queen. 

Eva Longoria worked at Wendy’s before making it big as an actor.
Eva Longoria worked at Wendy’s to pay for her quinceañera.

Longoria first alluded to her gig flipping burgers at Wendy’s in her 2012 speech to the Democratic National Convention, The Huffington Post reported.

She later revealed that she worked the gig when she was underage in order to pay for her quinceañera — with a signed parent’s permit that allowed her to work before it was technically legal to do so.

“I wanted to have a quinceañera when I was 15, and my family didn’t have the money,” the actor told Redbook, according to People. “I got a job at Wendy’s and paid for it myself. I couldn’t wait to get to work and make my own money.”

Megan Fox dressed up as a giant banana when she worked at Tropical Smoothie Café.
Megan Fox worked at a Tropical Smoothie Cafe as a teen.

“I worked at a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Florida when I was 15,” the “Jennifer’s Body” star told Bang Media in 2009, according to Digital Spy.

“I would have to go out in the street wearing a gigantic banana costume and dance to try to get customers to come in,” she continued. “There was no anonymity, the costume had a big hole cut out so that everyone would see your face.”

“My friends from school would drive back and forth and yell all kinds of awesome obscenities at me,” she said.

Jennifer Hudson said her “first and only real job was working at Burger King.”
Jennifer Hudson worked at a drive-thru.

“I used to sing at the drive-thru window. That was my microphone,” Hudson told People in 2018.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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