BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneur Summit brought together a panel of experts for a discussion on “Finding Your Flavor: Building Business & Success in the Food Industry”.
Starting a business in the food industry is not always child’s play. Experts shared their journeys and strategies for launching and scaling a food brand and provided insight into current and future food trends.
Speakers included Derrick Hayesfounder of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, Nahum Jeannot, Founder and CEO, GoOats; and Tanya Hill – HolidayOwner/Operator, McDonald’s, Vice President, Moderator, National Black McDonald’s Association.
Moderated by BLACK CORPORATE Senior Vice President/Editor-in-Chief, Alfred Edmund, Jr.., panelists explored the variety of avenues available to new entrepreneurs and how to build the team that will get you there.
For Hill-Holliday, owning and operating 12 McDonald’s franchises is not easy. But she remembers when she worked at the fast food giant while in college.
What started as a job eventually turned into positions in the company that helped open her eyes to the possibility of becoming a landlord. Hill-Holliday has worked with so many homeowners that she finally decided to tackle her piece of the pie.
“My driving force was around this passion of ‘you do it well for others, so do it for yourself. “”
Hayes shared how his late father served as an inspiration to get off the streets of West Philadelphia and start his own business. Using money from a disability settlement, Hayes moved to Atlanta and eventually started a food chain representing his hometown.
Jeannot shared his journey from working as a chef to launching GoOats. He recalled the sacrifices he had to make, such as selling his car and downsizing from a basement apartment to a condo so he could afford to run his business properly.
“Nobody is going to work hard at your dream. You have to do the work,” Jeannot said.
Panelists spoke candidly about their past struggles and how setbacks shaped their future success in the food industry. A recurring theme was how they all had to change their mindset from thinking about working on running a business.
Looking back, Hill-Holliday has no regrets.
“You have to clean a toilet to ever own it,” she said.
She praised her journey for teaching her discipline, time management, money management and the importance of giving others job opportunities.