A decade of fast food, fun and forward thinking

When Ken Tomkins fi rst joined McDonald’s as a 21-year-old, few people would have imagined that one day he’d be promoting the new plant- based, vegan McPlant burger that’s soon to appear in restaurants, including the six Ken runs in Milton Keynes. This month sees Ken’s tenth anniversary

as a franchisee with the fast-food giant, but his association goes back much further than that. He fi rst joined McDonald’s shortly after leaving university, working his way up through the ranks until he was a member of the executive board, operationally responsible for 500 restaurants. It was around then, when he was in his forties, that he realised that he’d like to get back to the ‘front line’, and became his own boss, taking on outlets at Westcroft and at Xscape on November 6, 2011. His portfolio expanded with the new Brickhill


site in 2013, followed by Kingston and Central MK in 2017 and then at Wolverton Tesco the following year. Before the end of 2021, the new Linford Wood restaurant will take his total to seven restaurants. “I’ve only ever worked for McDonald’s and I held senior positions within the company, but then as I got older I began to think about what I’d enjoyed most about my time here and although I was very proud to have got to where I was, I did miss the interaction with customers,” said Ken. “I decided I wanted to get back to that, and be involved in restaurants

again, and McDonald’s were very supportive. It’s been ten years now, and I will be looking after seven restaurants by the end of November. “What I like about McDonald’s is that they are a global company

that likes to keep its restaurants as local as possible. I live in Milton Keynes and I’m proud of the town and I want to be successful here. With McDonald’s I get the chance to put my own stamp on what we do in terms of our involvement in the local community and when I go along to speak at meetings or planning committees, they’re often surprised to fi nd that I’m not someone sent down from London, but I live locally and I care about the local area. “I’ve got skin in the game, as they say, and I’m very proud of the fact that 12 of my original team, dating back to ten years ago, are still working for me today.” Being a forward-thinking company, McDonald’s was well-placed to ride out the worst of the pandemic, having introduced home delivery a couple of years earlier, as well as self-service order kiosks that helped reduce contact time when restaurants reopened with social distancing. It’s this constant diversifying and developing approach that Ken

cites as one of the reasons for the success of the company. “Take McPlant, for instance, that has been created and developed

in response to public need,” he said. “By off ering a vegan alternative in what is traditionally a burger restaurant, we make it an option for families where some members want traditional McDonald’s and others


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