Atlanta-based Franchising Corporation, Supreme Foods Worldwide ™, has launched their #BlackHistoryBlackOwned Campaign
Entrepreneurship and business ownership—particularly of community-based businesses—are crucial ways to develop community wealth, for both business owners and the people they employ. Healthy Black-owned businesses could be a critical component for closing the United States’ Black–white wealth gap, which we project will cost the economy $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion (in 2018 dollars) per year by 2028. Atlanta Based Franchising Corporation, Supreme Foods Worldwide ™, has launched their #BlackHistoryBlackOwned Campaign Highlighting Social Entrepreneurship kicking off during Black History Month.
Black-owned businesses have been hit substantially harder by the pandemic than companies overall, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Less access to capital, including federal PPP loans, and funding gaps that existed prior to the pandemic, are a few of the causes for the demographic disparities. Supreme Foods Worldwide ™is a black-owned, family-owned Atlanta-based franchise corporation providing entrepreneurial opportunities for those interested in quick-service restaurant concepts.
Certified as an ACDBE, Supreme Foods Worldwide ™has two prominent quick-serve brands: Supreme Burger and Supreme Fish Delight with over 11 franchise locations and counting. In the midst of serving communities that were hit the hardest, Supreme Foods Worldwide ™ has committed to providing jobs and food security to meet their surrounding community’s basic needs. Since the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Supreme has served more than 15,000 meals per week to underserved youth and seniors in the Atlanta area. The Supreme Foods Worldwide ™ team continues their work of community restoration and promoting Black ownership with the launch of its #BlackHistoryBlackOwned campaign, a 365 day campaign highlighting the importance of Black ownership as a means of creating generational wealth, building legacy, and closing the wealth gap.
One of the most common issues related to the future of a family-owned business: How do the owners pass the business to their children? Moreover, how do they know if their children will even want to take over the business, let alone make it profitable for the long term?
Q: How does Supreme Foods Worldwide approach this?
Legacy is a mindset! Often times in a family owned (and operated) business, it is very difficult to separate the business from the family. Our business was our life. From an early age we accompanied our father to the business and learned every aspect of the business on weekends and during the summer. The lessons were taught not only through examples, but also over the dinner table and family meetings. Though we were encouraged to do what we wanted in life, we always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and excellent work ethic. Being in the restaurant industry I learned customer service, cooking, cleaning, inventory and sales. As I grew older, I learned about food costs, labor cost, finance and accounting. Understanding the “ups and downs” gave me a better appreciation for micro business enterprises and the plight of a small business entrepreneur. Though my father was the founder, owner, visionary and director, each of my siblings played a unique and important role in building and sustaining the business. At some point all of us were in the business owning restaurants, working in the back office or supporting franchisees.
Despite the lessons learned and the Mission to create legacy, the real challenge as a first-generation owner is when to let go. How as the founder do you create an environment for your children’s success, while simultaneously trusting them to continue the legacy, protect the brand and make smart business decisions. How do you remove the parent syndrome and the intergenerational challenges allowing for the next generation to come of age and flourish?
For me, it required a balance of education, experience, humility and patience. Not just the need to “prove” myself but to truly learn the business, understand the mistakes and what allowed us to sustain as a company. At one point, I had to leave the business and build a portfolio of deals, clients, successes and failures before I was truly ready to take the helm. Despite my youthfulness and eagerness, it honestly took wisdom to respect and understand what was at stake and risk/reward balance needed to continue to build on the family legacy.
As I consider what Supreme Foods Worldwide would do to prepare the next generation, I know it will not be easy. Through mentorship, guided career objectives, shared experiences and education, I believe my children will be ready. My intent would be to support their roles while I can still serve as an advisor as opposed to “hanging on” until I can no longer provide value. As we grow from a family-owned business to a more corporate operated business we will incorporate systems to support the growth and internal development of our team, our family and our community.
Parents often treat the company as their baby to be lovingly and carefully passed off to new hands, yet the kids treat the new responsibility as a moment to shout, “Please don’t let me fail!”
Q: How did you help ease the fear failure?
Failure is necessary in business. As a second-generation owner, investor and operator. I believe failure gives you the experience needed to succeed. I would be cautious to allow someone to run a business who hasn’t experienced some sort of adversity. What is it like to not have access to capital? What is it like to not be able to meet payroll? How creative must you be to launch a new product or line and it fail? This level of grit, passion, commitment and sacrifice is truly what is needed to be successful in business. My advice to the next generation is to embrace failure, learn the lessons and enjoy the process because at some level it is inevitable.
Over the next few decades, some $30 trillion in wealth is expected to change hands from aging business owners to their children. That’s a staggering volume of wealth transfer, even with Covid-19 putting a dent into some of it and altering more than a few succession plans.
Q: What are some things to consider when creating a succession plan?
For most small business owners, the company started with a team of 1. The owner is the operator, accountant, attorney, marketer, advertiser, etc. When it comes to succession planning, it is important to speak with professionals. Estate planners, attorneys and tax accountants can support this process. Also, consider speaking with other business owners who have successfully prepared a succession plan or have successfully passed a business to the next generation. Though not common in our community there are some that exist. Succession takes discipline, will and planning and can’t be left to a lottery ticket or chance. Strategic planning, investing and consistency will be needed to have something to pass along to future generations.
It’s often hard for the next generation to simply take up the reins of a business exactly as their parents did. As business operations evolve, the next generation probably has different skills and interests.
Q: What steps do you take to recognize these differences and trust the process
Part of being a good leader is understanding your team and allowing them to play their position while developing (or complimenting) their weakness. Similarly, in a family business it is important to know your family and their interest, expertise, passion and goals. Sometimes they align, sometimes they don’t, however most will want the benefit or feel entitled to the success of the business regardless of their input. Therein lies the challenge! The only constant in business is change and change should be embraced. The next generation will have fresh new ideas, new energy, new passion and new optimism. With proper guidance these qualities can be used to grow and expand the business.
Family businesses have often been built with sweat, heart and tears, and parent owners have often spent years building a brand their customers like and trust.
Q: What legacy does the Supreme Foods Worldwide Corporation want to leave?
With 40 years in the restaurant industry and with me being a second-generation owner, my intent is to continue to grow and expand the brand. My team and I have an aggressive plan to expand to over 100 locations, raise additional capital and one day take our company public. We are working on systems now that will allow us to expand throughout the US and abroad.
For more information visit www.SupremeFoodsWorldwide.com
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