For restaurant owners and the community alike, 2020 has been a challenging year.
This rings true most strongly for Philadelphia-based businessman and his daughter, who together are the owners and operators of six McDonald’s family restaurants.
John A Dawkins and his daughter, Danielle, have not only had to wrestle with the rigours of operating, and at times being locked down, during a pandemic, but they have also been surrounded by a city swallowed by social unrest.
As African American business owners, Mr Dawkins recognises the role his business plays in the community. His mission is far greater than simply serving food – he has a platform to help bring people together, improve lives, and strengthen neighbourhoods.
Having been part of the McDonald’s system for 30 years, he does this through connections, conversation, and food. His six stores employ more than 425 people locally, and during the pandemic each employee, at the end of their shift, was allowed to take a bundle box home – a meal which could feed a family of four.
In some of his stores, he hosts a gospel brunch, where food and stories are shared – a program which has been adapted during COVID-19 to be remote.
Operating with a mantra of ‘There are no problems in life, only challenges to solutions’, Mr Dawkins is a shining light in the quest for greater knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the issues facing society today.