Find a back issue

Local Restaurateur Puts 63 McDonald’s Up For Sale

Some people are blessed with good timing, and Dallas restaurateur Ed Bailey seems to be among them. One of the nation’s biggest McDonald’s owners/operators–he’s got 63 stores in Dallas-Fort Worth–Bailey nonetheless took the fast-food giant to court, fighting for his right to open up some “white-tablecloth” restaurants on the side. The parties quietly settled that suit in November–”I’m extremely happy,” Bailey says of the outcome–and now he’s put all 63 DFW McDonald’s on the market, aiming to focus on his Patrizio and Bailey’s Prime Plus Steakhouse concepts.

Bailey says part of the November settlement calls for the McDonald’s corporation to buy back all 63 stores by next January at a predetermined price. But meantime–and here’s the good-timing part–Bailey won the right to sell any or all of the stores to anybody else for the most dough he can get.

And, as you may have noticed, McDonald’s is a hot (read: affordable) commodity in this tough economic climate. Last year, Bailey says, his per-restaurant sales and profits were the highest ever, and both figures are up substantially so far this year over 2008. MacDonald’s stock is also doing well.

But, the former Marine won’t be taking his bundle–he expects a payday of at least $150 million–and making for the Bahamas anytime soon. Just now he’s preparing to roll out his “female-friendly” Bailey’s steakhouse in spots including Cedar Hill, Fairview/Allen and the Park Lane development in Dallas.

(What’s so “female friendly” about it? Picture a sunny decor, not dark wood paneling; trees on the property and a fountain with a reflecting pond; an “ornate/opulent” feel–think Vegas–plus “food portions that women will be comfortable” with.)

Bailey’s also pushing his Patrizio brand–the original’s in Highland Park Village, of course–into outposts like Fairview/Allen and Fort Worth.

Says Bailey: “Now’s the time.”

And, you sort of get the feeling he knows what he’s talking about.

21 comments on “Local Restaurateur Puts 63 McDonald’s Up For Sale

  1. On the one hand Ed Bailey deserves major props for not only taking on the corporate golden arches and winning, but also for the fact that he has run his McDonald’s in a fashion that few others have been able to even come close to. But the other hand doesn’t want to applaud because without his management philosophy and the efforts that he put into employee recruitment and retention, those 63 McDonalds are probably going to backslide in customer service to the usual McDonald’s level of indifference.

  2. It’s a matter of opinion of course but many Patrizio regulars think he’s ruined the concept and downscaled the food considerably. He’s known to be not the nicest gent in the business and with so many more amiable folks struggling to make their restaurants succeed in this economy, I’ll choose theirs over his everytime.

  3. Sad news,

    How often do you eat at McDonald’s? Enough to notice — nay, critique — the relative quality of the customer experience that hundreds of area locations provide?

    Either you’re God’s way of showing he loves cardiologists or you’re Ed Bailey. I’m betting on the latter.

  4. I’ve never met Ed, but I enjoy going to his McDonald’s stores. From a customer experience, they are heads above any other operator (corporate included) in the area.

    I enjoy his stores to the point I’ve made a mental list of them in my work/home areas.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to these stores 2 years from now.

  5. Having now briefly researched this fellow, I rescind my snark — the couple of locations I recognized are indeed much cooler than they have to be.

    Still, people. A mental list of McDonald’s? Mom was right, I shoulda been a doctor.

  6. Nice coincidence: We had dinner there just last night (Sunday); the only place we could find that was open ’til 10, not 9. Surprisingly reasonably-priced entrees (either they’ve lowered their prices, or I’d forgotten how reasonable they were); a marvelous Cabernet (my date picked it out; she knows her wine); service that was attentive, but not overdone; and the atmosphere and crowd was, as always, enjoyable. (And No: I’m not Bailey. Just a diner, who enjoys nice food, well-served, without all the celebrity frou-frou so common on various local Dallas food blogs.)

  7. Having read the article in D last Feburary,”taking the food giant to court” i was amazed to see that Mr. Bailey did all those things by himself… I thought he had a wonderful wife that contributed a great deal of the “theme” and worked tirelessly to make a great success of the business….funny how that got lost in the article….and how men see to have a lapse in memory when they become a great success…one thing that troubled me was that he was asked his greatest achievement and answered “my car collection”…wouldn’t you say family even if you didn’t mean it?

    The product is great and he’ll have little trouble selling all the McDonalds…hope he sleeps well and enjoys his “new life” and fortune and can buy more cars.

    A steakhouse for Women????

  8. Its funny that no one has mentioned that he is currently divorcing his wife. Has anyone covered that angle? She was very much a key part of his success. I hope she gets every penny she diserves out of this divorce. Take him to the cleaners Lee!

  9. Maybe he can now restore Patrizio’s to the great place it was before he ruined it.

  10. @Daniel – Yes, a mental list. Might have been an overstatement, though. Of the 2 closest to my office, I know which is a Baily store. Of the 3 near the house, I know which two are Baily’s.

    Of the 4-5 or so on various routes to work, etc., I know which ones are Baily. It’s not as if I have all 63 locations memorized. (Even I admit that would be odd.)

  11. I’ve been very impressed with his McD’s – they are much more pleasant than most.

    Re: Patrizios – maybe I don’t go often enough (proably 12 times a year) but I haven’t noticed much variation in food or service over the last, say 7 years. I tend to order the same thing every time, and it’s always good. The menus look a bit different, but seem to have nearly all the same items. What’s changed?

  12. And it’s out there that Ray Washburne is kicking Patricio’s out of his HP Village and putting an M Crowd concept in that location.

  13. As Mr. Bailey’s son, may I just say you people whose pathetic lives revolve around being photographed or name-dropped in D, or even worse, D Blog, which is less read than my own personal Myspace Blog, can dig at my father and I all day long. Luckily, I have an endless supply of Benjamins to wipe away the tears.

  14. And Ray Washburne has six years to come up with a replacement concept for Patrizio’s. In the meantime, we aren’t going anywhere.

  15. Michael – If you are who you say you are, go get your daddy to wipe your ass with some of those benjimins. You little baby.

  16. “Luckily, I have an endless supply of Benjamins to wipe away the tears.”

    And I thought Chris-Chris was a fictional character.

  17. Patrizio’s is a wreck now. The last time I was there – the food was bland and the service was very unprofessional. A female friendly steakhouse? Good luck with that.. Maybe it will work in Cedar Hill but don’t bother bringing it to Dallas.

  18. Lola, I’m sorry to hear you had an unpleasant experience in one of our restaurants. Feel free to email me at mbailey@patrizios.net to let me know what went wrong, for my part, I’ll do anything I can to ensure you have the experience you’re entitled to, if you’d be willing to give us a second chance.