Leslie Thomson’s understanding of the importance of family dinners began long before she got her start as the owner of the Dream Dinners franchise in West Seattle.
She began her career as a lieutenant in the US Public Health Service Corps, a uniformed service branch that serves the National Institutes of Health. During her service, Leslie became the director of food and nutrition at the US Public Health Service Hospital in Seattle. After leaving PHS, Leslie worked as a research dietitian at the University of Washington.
In fact, the study that Leslie worked on became the hallmark research that supported the intensive therapy for Type 1 diabetes that is used in all treatment plans today.
“Through my work on the diabetes study, I was privileged to know our patients’ food choices and meal habits very intimately,” Leslie says. “Between that work as well as feeding my own family of three active children, I understood the importance of family meals and the difficulties busy parents face in making those meals happen.”
This understanding drove Leslie to try one of the original Dream Dinners stores in Kirkland, WA in 2003. At the time, she was using Dream Dinners to save time, money, and to expose her kids to a wider variety of foods. She was also tired of facing the “dinnertime dilemma” and wanted family meals to be a time of relaxation, not a source of further frustration.
What began as a way to save time and money soon turned into a passion for Leslie, and in 2004 she became the owner of Dream Dinners’s West Seattle location. She was inspired to become a franchise owner as a way of showing her children the importance of following your passions and the success that can come with taking a calculated risk.
That calculated risk continues to pay off. It’s been 14 years, and Leslie is still the owner of the West Seattle location, where she is helping other busy moms stress less about “what’s for dinner?” Leslie’s commitment to Dream Dinners’s mission of growing great kids and bringing families together around the dinner table is being felt even in her own family.
“It showed our kids the value I put in the family meal,” Leslie says. “They have all left home—done with college, working and living on their own—but they asked if we could have Thomson Family Dinner once a week. I was delighted that this was their idea. Every Wednesday night is Thomson Family Dinner Night.”
Leslie says the most enjoyable aspect of being part of the Dream Dinners family is that she has friends in her fellow Dream Dinners storeowners across the country.