This is how a dad-daughter business serves 5,500 McDonald’s restaurants

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 24, 2024 8:18 AM EDT

It is unlikely that McDonald’s 69 million daily customers give a thought to where the products in their cheeseburgers and french fries have been sourced. A multitude of companies work behind the scenes to ensure that the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain meets the quality expectations of consumers worldwide.

One such company is New Horizon Baking, a father-daughter-owned business that produces hamburger buns, English muffins, and soft sandwich breads for major brands such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks. The company produces produces 1 million dozen products weekly and, via 12 distribution centers, serves some 5,500 McDonald’s restaurants.

“I am the second-generation owner of my family business. My father is strong and well known in the industry. I will never fill his shoes. It was important for me to put on my own pair and to be known not only as “Tim’s daughter”, but as “Trina Bediako, CEO of New Horizons Baking Co.”,” Bediako said about taking over the family business.

Tilmon “Tim” Brown started in the baking industry delivering Wonder Bread in 1965 as a route salesman for Continental Baking Company. He worked for the company for almost 40 years, rising the corporate ladder.  After retiring as vice president of sales, he had the opportunity to take the helm at New Horizons. Brown ensured that the company produced quality baked goods for the food service industry over the years and ultimately purchased 100% ownership in 2014.

In 2002, Brown asked his daughter, Trina Bediako, who was then working in the telecommunications industry, to join the family business. Although she had imagined jumping into a leadership position, she had to learn the business. Bediako spent 16 years working under her father and learned the business fundamentals from managing HR to finance, marketing, and owning the McDonald’s customer relationship. She eventually became CEO in 2017.

“Every day, he’d come in, take his coat off and walk through the office and say ‘hello,’ ‘good morning’ to every person, and I do it as well. It means a lot to people. When people know you care, that you respect what they bring to the table, they’ll give you a lot. I’m grateful my father was willing to give me a chance, and I’m absolutely willing to give the best qualified a chance,” Bediako said about her father influenced her leadership style.

As CEO, Bediako and her Senior Leadership Team have the responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations and growth of New Horizons Baking and all its affiliated businesses. The company had one bun production line when her father started, and now has two high-speed lines for core bun production, seven production lines for English muffins, and its own transportation company. Bediako currently oversees 4 facilities with more than 500 employees. Her father remains connected, is active in the strategic planning of the company’s future, and visits each facility annually.

New Horizons has seen some innovations to stay relevant with the changing times and maintain high standards for the products they make. In 2021, the company acquired Coalescence, a manufacturer of custom dry seasoning blends and flavors for food and beverage. It recently acquired Graffiti Foods which produces soups, sauces, sides, gravies, appetizers, dips, fruit toppings, and other ingredients. The companies have been integrated to form New Horizons Food Solutions which moves the baking company toward its strategic plan of providing a full array of food, beverage, and nutritional solutions to its customers.