The Dallas Examiner
It was a standing room-only crowd that cheered and greeted Dallas businessman and philanthropist Roland Parrish as he entered the Dallas City Hall Flag Room on June 5 before the City Council briefing meeting.
Parrish, owner and CEO of Parrish McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd., was honored for his service, contributions and entrepreneurship by the Dallas City Council.
The Dallas Police Department, local pastors, Parrish’s McDonald’s team and local charities he has contributed to, also paid special tribute to him.
Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas thanked Parrish for his contributions to the city.
“Roland Parrish has generated over $800 million in sales and paid over $100 million in taxes supportive to the city of Dallas, primarily in the Southern Sector, as the owner of Parrish Restaurants Ltd.,” Thomas said. “I, Casey Thomas, on behalf of the mayor and the entire Dallas City Council, extend a special recognition to Roland Parrish for 30 years of successful entrepreneurship as a business owner.”
Thomas continued by acknowledging that not all businesses can survive the way Parrish’s has.
“We have businesses that survive for only six months, but he has shown to be someone who is about perseverance, focus and success. He recognized at an early age the importance of giving back, as shown earlier by the police department, which honored him and recognized him for donating bikes to them,” he said.
Parrish owns 23 McDonald’s franchises in Dallas/Fort Worth and surrounding areas.
He operated his first McDonald’s franchise in 1989 in Pleasant Grove and remembers a time when no one wanted to go to Pleasant Grove. Today, the location in Pleasant Grove and the franchise on Buckner Boulevard are two of his most successful.
Parrish’s restaurant team also honored him with a special presentation with a shadow box that included the saw Parrish’s grandfather used back in the 1920s for his construction business. It also included a McDonald’s spatula with the logo in honor of his 30 years of service. The presentation commemorates the almost 100 years that the Parrish family has been in business, from the 1920s to 2019.
Parrish has donated patrol bikes to the Dallas Police Department, donated bikes to St. Philip’s School in Dallas and also donated money to various charitable organizations. His charitable foundation, the Parrish Charitable Foundation, also funds the John H. and Marie Parrish Medical Center in Fort Portal, Uganda. This clinic is named after his parents and treats over 16,000 orphaned children of HIV/AIDS-infected parents with common ailments and treatable diseases.
Parrish said his motto is, “Whom to much is given, much is required.”
“I think somewhere around 10 years ago, I learned what my ministry was,” Parrish said. “It was not music, athletics, even business. It is to give to people.”
Parrish said he is honored to be recognized by the city and community.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I never would of dreamed the city of Dallas and any of the elected officials would think as much to honor me. To walk in the room and people were seated already and standing room-only crowd, it was overwhelming. To have family, friends and see some of my first customers who now have some of their children who have children going to college. It shows that it has been a good journey, and it has been a long journey.”
Parrish was also happy to see members of his team at the event.
“Around 30 employees came, and it is because of them that I have been successful,” Parrish said.
Jade Parrish, daughter of Roland, said her dad has been an inspiration and a role model.
“It is really exciting just to be able to see the people here, not only that came here but to celebrate him and also show support,” Jade said.”It means a great deal, but also I am excited because it always has been a team effort, and it has always been about family. My whole life, I know he has always been a very disciplined person, and along the way I’ve seen a lot of people he has impacted. He cares about the community and always puts God first.”
LaSheryl Walker, director of community outreach for St. Philip’s School and Community Center, said she had to show her support for Parrish since he gave back so much to St. Philip’s.
“He has donated bikes to our students during the Christmas store, as well as donating bikes to individual kids,” Walker said. “The fact that he is able to donate these bikes to the kids and to get them outside moving around makes my soul happy. I wanted to show my appreciation for what he has done for St. Philip’s School and Community.”
So, what are Parrish’s keys to success?
“When I get up every morning, it’s not that I’m going to do anything that is great, but what I try to do is try to be consistent and try to be successful and try to help people and do positive things every day,” he said.”