It was off with the Brooks Brothers power suits and on with the "McRookie" aprons Friday as some 5,000 top people at McDonald's Corp. left their executive suites and returned to their local McDonald's eatery for a day of flipping burgers, shaking shakes and frying fries.

The occasion was Founder's Day, marking the birthday of company founder Ray A. Kroc and celebrating the Golden Arches credo of Q.S.C.V. - quality, service cleanliness and value.Visiting the McDonald's restaurant at 21st South and Parley's Way was Win Christiansen, senior vice president of restaurant development for the Oakbrook, Ill.-based corporation. A Utah native, Christiansen was manager of the Parley's Way store while attending Westminster College in 1966.

Today, he coordinates the opening of a new McDonald's somewhere in the world every 15 minutes.

"Founder's Day is our opportunity to get everyone closer to the heart of the business," said Christiansen, who began his career in 1963 as a 16-year-old crew member at the Bellevue, Wash., McDonald's.

"It reminds us that at McDonald's our first commitment is serving our customers, and that our most important employees are the crew who serve our 22 million customers one at a time every day."

All 46 of the McDonald's in the company's Intermountain McDonald's Cooperative Association (IMCA), of which 39 are in Utah, participated in Founder's Day activities. All are privately owned and operated under franchise agreements with the corporation.

The Intermountain McDonald's outlets have a major impact on the Utah economy, according to spokesman Charles Seldin, with the average restaurant employing 55-70 people - a total of some 3,000. Average annual payroll for IMCA tops $12 million.

Seldin said the local McDonald's return nearly $4 million in taxes and reinvest more than $3 million in the local economy.

Also, he said, many don't realize the major economic impact McDonald's has in Utah by dealing with local suppliers. For example, more than 241 million hamburger patties are processed for McDonald's each year by Otto & Sons in West Jordan which supplies McDonald's in 10 western states.

In turn, Otto & Sons buys its beef from ranchers in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and other western states.

In addition to beef, more than 928 million slices (14,000 tons) of cheese are supplied annually to McDonald's restaurants in 13 states by Cache Valley-based Schreiber Foods Inc.

And ingredients for more than 20 million salads a year are supplied for McDonald's restaurants in nine western states by Condies Foods Inc., based in South Kearns.

Later this month, a 16-bedroom Ronald McDonald House will open in Salt Lake City at 935 East South Temple to serve as a "home away from home" for parents of critically ill children hospitalized locally.

"McDonald's has a tradition of returning something to the community," said Seldin. "Each year, Ronald McDonald visits thousands of school children, teaching special fitness, safety and reading enjoyment programs to elementary grades. In addition, McDonald's famous clown makes visits to children's hospitals and takes part in various civic functions throughout the market."