NI sisters clock up staggering 30 years working at Belfast McDonald’s

McDonald’s sister act Marion McClean and Sandie Stewart
-Credit: (Image: PressEye)

Work can often be a welcome respite from annoying family members, but that’s certainly not the case for enthusiastic Northern Ireland women Marion McClean and Sandie Stewart.

For them, sisterly love has turned into a successful sister act at McDonald’s Connswater, where the dedicated pair have notched up a staggering 30 years of service between them.

So, what has kept the Belfast duo working side by side under the golden arches for such a long time?

READ MORE: See inside McDonald’s Connswater after £1m makeover

READ MORE: Golden future for NI woman after apprenticeship led to rapid career progression

“The best bits about the job are the customers and our work colleagues. We have the loveliest customers at the Connswater restaurant, including a lot of elderly people and schoolchildren. There are regulars who come every day for a coffee and a chat, and we always get presents and cards containing money at Christmas,” said Sandie.

Mother-of-three Sandie lives in Bangor and travels to Belfast for work. She’s a part-time crew trainer and as such is responsible for teaching new recruits the ropes. The 53-year-old former cleaner has been an employee for two decades and believes she has the best job in the world.

“I love what I do and I’ve been in the same job for 19 years. I moved into this role after spending one year as a crew member and I knew this was what I wanted to keep on doing,” she said.

Sister Marion, who’s 58 and lives in north Belfast, is an area leader. She’s been working alongside Sandie in east Belfast for 10 years. From previous work experience gleaned in cafes and coffee shops, she said she knew McDonald’s would be the perfect place to work.

She said: “I love working with people and I enjoy the service industry. We have a great group of colleagues and everyone gets along.”

Sibling rivalry hasn’t featured at all over the years, but then the pair don’t actually see each other as much as you would imagine. “We cross paths about twice a week; we’re mostly ships that pass in the night,” said Marion, who has three adult children.

McDonald’s sister act Marion McClean and Sandie Stewart
McDonald’s sister act Marion McClean and Sandie Stewart -Credit:PressEye

Both women describe McDonald’s as a “great employer” and their team as “our extended family”. Employees at the Connswater restaurant – which recently reopened following a £1million refurbishment programme – range in age from 17 to late 60s and they come from all different countries.

“We have staff who are reaching retirement age and I’m pretty sure we’ll both be staying until it’s time for us to retire too. There are lots of opportunities for promotion for people who want to advance their careers and they look after their staff very well. I suffer from anxiety and they’ve tailored my shifts accordingly, which has really helped me stay happy in the workplace,” said Sandie.

Marion said sharing a workspace with her sister has brought them closer: “We’re both happy and I think that being content in your job is the key to success in life. Sometimes it’s stressful, as we’re one of the busiest restaurants in Northern Ireland, but where isn’t? It’s all about supporting each other, appreciating our team members, building rapport with our customers and making each day as enjoyable as we can.”

She added: “Not only do I get to work with my sister, but I also met my best friend Margaret through working at the restaurant. I feel very lucky.”

For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here and sign up to our daily newsletter here.