Local McDonald’s magnate: ‘Dreams are good, but business plans are better’

Tim Thomas is president of Thomas Enterprises Inc., which owns 10 McDonald’s restaurant franchises in Southern Nevada. He began his career with McDonald’s in 1968, rising quickly through the ranks and learning the industry from, among others, Ray Kroc. Kroc joined McDonald’s in 1954 and is credited for building it into the most successful fast-food operation in the world. Thomas’ newest store created 55 jobs in Southern Nevada.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

The best piece of business advice I’ve ever received came from Ray Kroc himself at an operation and sales meeting. He said, “If you continue to build top-line sales, you will not have to worry about the bottom line.”

At that time, I was an operation consultant with McDonald’s, in charge of helping franchisees fine-tune their operations with a focus on customer service, including friendliness, speed and accuracy.

How did you come to own your own McDonald’s?

After 23 years with the McDonald’s Corp., I pursued and qualified to be a licensee with McDonald’s. After several months of checking out available locations, we purchased two McDonald’s restaurants in Arkansas in 1992, in the small towns of Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge. Later we added a third store in Newport, Ark.

After 16 years, we were ready to move back to a big city, and Las Vegas was our first choice. We sold our three locations in Arkansas and purchased seven stores in the valley in December 2008. Since then, we have added three more restaurants in Southern Nevada. We recently opened our newest store at 8620 W. Cheyenne Ave., Las Vegas.

How did you know you were ready to expand?

Expansion was easy for my franchise. The key is having the capacity within your company to deal with the challenges of growing. If your goal is to grow your business, then it is important to train employees who will make the best decisions for the company — and empower them to do so.

For example, I brought my supervisor from Arkansas to Las Vegas, because he was instrumental in helping me build a great reputation in the South. Now he is helping me build one in the valley.

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