Ken Tomkins, MD at Kaizen Restaurants Ltd t/a McDonald's Q&A

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1. Why being a member is important? 
I’ve lived in Milton Keynes since 1994, raised my family here and grown my business here too. To me, the Milton Keynes business community is like no other. It’s vitally important that like-minded businesses work together and collaborate on projects that will benefit our city, and MK Business Leaders is a great example of a group which continues to deliver on those goals.

2. What do you, and your company, bring to MK Business Leaders?
Since Kaizen Restaurants Ltd was established in Milton Keynes in 2011, our company mission has been to make a positive contribution to life in Milton Keynes, and as the years go by our dedication gets stronger and stronger. It could be the continued development of our people, our award-winning litter picking programme, the long-term support to our grassroots partner Woburn & Wavendon Football Club, or fostering crucial relationships within the local business community via key groups such as MK Business Leaders. I believe this dedication to the development and prosperity of Milton Keynes adds value collectively to our city.

3. What challenges face the Milton Keynes business community in both the short (taking the current situation into account) and the long term?
It’s key that we continue to find ways of collaborating and connecting despite the distance. In circumstances like this, it would be easy for businesses to go into silos and forget their social responsibility, and for many that would be understandable as businesses try to establish how they will survive. That said, we have to keep finding ways to continue supporting each other where possible, for the good of the community. #LoveMK Day was a perfect example of that last week. Despite the many negative stories, it was lovely to see businesses and residents sharing what they love about the city. For us, usually it would have been a day full of litter picking, but this time we spent the day celebrating our volunteers on social media to keep their spirits high. Over the long term, I’d love to see how businesses can continue to embrace evolving technology to grow their businesses further. For many, coronavirus has been a crash course in videoconferencing, online retail and delivery services. Post COVID-19, I’d love to see how businesses can continue to thrive using the skills they are learning.

4. How has your business adapted to the new ways of working?
Currently our stores are closed, and a small number of stores across the country will open next week to trial ways of working which will allow safe social distancing for crew, customers and suppliers. In the meantime, we’re focusing on engaging with the community in new ways. We’re also working on new ways of keeping our teams engaged and entertained. My colleague Laura has been hosting regular quizzes, I’ve hosted Q&A sessions, and dozens of our employees have shared tips and ideas for staying motivated during the lockdown. All of that is wonderful and I’m so impressed with what our teams are doing, but I must admit I can’t wait to catch up with them in person – when it’s safe to do so!

5. Your tip for success in business/life?

In work and life, always begin with the end in mind. This is a key habit I learned early on in my career, through Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Ask yourself why you’re undertaking the task or project about to do, and what you hope to achieve from it. Use these thoughts to shape what success looks like for you. Understanding this will ensure the actions you take are effective, and will motivate you to reach your goals. Of course, for those of us with a bit more time on our hands at the moment, reading the book would be a good tip too!