14 successful people who got their start working in fast food

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Today is National Junk Food Day – a day meant to celebrate the greasy, sweet, and satisfying treats that we can’t ever seem to resist.

In honor of this auspicious event, let’s take a look at 14 very successful individuals who got their start making the highly caloric meals that we all love:


Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO

As Business Insider previously reported, Bezos used to work at McDonald’s.

In Cody Teets’s “Golden Opportunity: Remarkable Careers That Began at McDonald’s,” Bezos revealed that he worked the grill and that the job taught him responsibility.

“My first week on the job, a five-gallon, wall-mounted ketchup dispenser got stuck open in the kitchen and dumped a prodigious quantity of ketchup into every hard-to-reach kitchen crevice. Since I was the new guy, they handed me the cleaning solution and said, ‘Get going!'”


Rachel McAdams, actress

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When she was just starting out, McAdams also worked at McDonald’s.

By her own words, the now-actress wasn’t a very good employee at the fast food giant, as Business Insider previously reported.

According to US Magazine, the “Spotlight” star once broke an orange juice machine.


Barack Obama, President of the United States

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You heard that right. The current president of the United States worked at Baskin-Robbins in high school, as Business Insider previously reported.

He wrote about the experience on LinkedIn: “Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists.”


Madonna, singer

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Before making it big time, the “Material Girl” worked at Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square, as Business Insider previously reported.

It didn’t end well. Madonna reportedly got fired when she squirted jelly filling on a customer,reports Life Buzz.


Brad Pitt, actor

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Angelina Jolie’s husband may be a movie star, but once upon a time, he was nothing more than a chicken, as Business Insider previously reported.

His first employer was El Pollo Loco and, according to IMDB, he had to dress as a chicken, hand out flyers, and attract customers to the restaurant.


Jay Leno, comedian

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Leno really got his start at the Golden Arches. According to Forbes, the comedian worked at McDonald’s as a teenager.


Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

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As Business Insider previously reported, the current Speaker of the House worked at McDonald’s as a young man.

He revealed that his manager didn’t always have too much faith in him:

“The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter, and now I’m in Congress!”


Queen Latifah, performer

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Parade reported that Queen Latifah started out in the fast food industry:

“If my brother and I wanted money in our pockets, we had to get jobs – my first was at 15, at Burger King.”


James Franco, actor

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Franco notably penned a letter supporting McDonald’s in the Washington Post.

He revealed that he would put on fake accents for customers to practice his acting chops and ate the surplus cheeseburgers destined for the trash heap:

I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need. I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries.”


Pink, singer

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In an interview with “Food and Wine” magazine, Pink revealed that her family encouraged her to start making her own money as a teenager:

“I was a drive-through girl at McDonald’s. I had a Janet Jackson microphone – I had power.”


Russell Simmons, chairman and CEO of Rush Communications and cofounder of Def Jam Recordings

Before he founded Def Jam, Simmons made $2.25 an hour working behind the counter at Orange Julius.

He told Forbes that the gig provided a good learning experience: “I was fired after a month, so I learned you need to be inspired about work.”


Gwen Stefani, singer

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The Los Angeles Times noted that “The Voice” judge worked at Dairy Queen as a young woman, where the rest of the band No Doubt met and formed.


Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George. W. Bush

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Card, who served as chief of staff for President George W. Bush, ran things at McDonald’s long before he got to the White House. He worked at the fast food giant as a manager during his college years, according to Forbes.


Eva Longoria, actress

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Longoria alluded to her gig flipping burgers at Wendy’s in her speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2012, according to the Huffington Post.