Forty years ago, Jerry and Marcelle Bear purchased the Larkin Avenue restaurant from McDonald’s Corporation. Nothing more than a walk-up window with seating for four, they managed the restaurant themselves with only 18 employees on staff. McDonald’s biggest selling and most successful sandwich, the Big Mac®, did not yet exist. The year was 1967, and the Golden Arches stood out across the street from Larkin High School as the only neighbor.

In those early days, sales were so low that Jerry and Marcelle Bear worked actual positions themselves, such as taking orders at the front counter, working the fry station, and grilling hamburgers in the kitchen. It was not uncommon to see either one of them on a ladder changing the “Over ____ Million Served” roadway sign.

Through hard work, determination, and a commitment to their community, sales started to increase. Two years later, in 1969, Jerry and Marcelle Bear purchased their second McDonald’s franchise on Summit Street. In order to build the market, the Bear’s absorbed themselves in the community. It would be nine years before they acquired another restaurant. Then in 1978, they opened the Streamwood McDonald’s. Three years short of another decade, Jerry and Marcelle Bear built and opened a brand new McDonald’s in Evanston, at the Orrington Hotel. (With the significant change in the economic climate in Evanston, and after 18.5 years in operation, the Bear Family made its final sale at the Evanston Restaurant on October 31, 2003.) Over the next decade, the Bear Family built and opened five brand new McDonald’s restaurants throughout the 1990’s.

Marc and David Bear, born and raised in the McDonald’s system, were mixing shakes at five years of age at the Larkin Avenue. restaurant. As teens, they worked the cash registers and cooked hamburgers on the grills. Neither Marc nor David ever intended on making a career for themselves with McDonald’s. Marc Bear graduated from Kent Law School as a Real Estate Lawyer. David graduated from Northwestern in 1990 with a Bachelor of the Arts Degree, majoring in Economics. Presently, Marc and David are active in the family business each owning and operating their own restaurants. Collectively, the Bear Family currently own and operate nine McDonald’s franchises: five in Elgin, two in South Elgin, one in Streamwood, and one inside the Food Court at Spring Hill Mall. Each restaurant serves between 800 and 1600 customers every day.

The Bear Family has accomplished much over the years, and still their business continues to grow. That first year at Larkin they served 160,000 meals. By the end of 2007, three and a half million meals will be served! It has been forty years since the Bear Family first opened the Larkin Avenue Restaurant where the Golden Arches continue to stand out – now as the most recognizable brand in the world!


Looking for a rewarding job with flexible hours? APPLY TODAY. We are hiring for crew and management positions.

Your Future: With Bear Family Restaurants your new potential job can be everything you want it to be. We offer flexible hours for those looking for a part time job to fit around their busy schedules. We also offer the first steps on a long and exciting career path.

Our Culture: We strive to create a fun and engaging experience for every team member. At Bear Family Restaurants we also offer the opportunity to get involved with community friendly events, recognition programs, and scholarship opportunities.