Running a successful business means you’ve got to be a magician.

I’m not kidding. You know the saying ‘wearing many different hats’ or ‘be a jack of all trades’? It’s like that but it’s not enough to just have general knowledge about each role…

When you own restaurants you’re wearing all of the hats – from the dishwasher’s cap to the construction helmet to the investor’s summer boat fedora. You’ve got to be good enough at everything to not only survive but to thrive… and it’s intense.

Because when you run a successful chain of restaurants it looks easy from the outside.  But the reality is that you’re not just someone who opens a shop, makes good food, counts wads of cash, and says goodbye as you leave your team to shut down and clean up.

No way!

If that were the case… 60% of restaurants wouldn’t close down in their first year and 80% wouldn’t call it quits in under 5 years.

Here’s the truth – when you’re playing and winning the restaurant game… you’re an executive chef. You’re a line cook. You’re an accountant. You’re a janitor. You’re a therapist. You’re a surrogate parent. You’re a customer service rock star. You’re an interior designer.

And that’s just the beginning. You also have to:

  • Understand buildings, architecture, and designs when you’re scouting and developing new locations
  • Negotiate like Mark Cuban or Daymond John on Shark Tank
  • Understand banking, loans, funding, and investors
  • Have a STRONG financial game

And if it weren’t for some great people in my life who shared their expertise and helped me learn about their area of expertise… there’s no way Roostar would be what it is today.

Today I want to take a minute to show you just how I learned to navigate all these roles… I want to introduce my MVP team…

These men have forever changed the course of my career. They’ve believed in me, inspired me, mentored me, and pushed me to be better than I thought was possible.

I am forever grateful that they’re in my life.

I want to thank…

Palmer Schooley. Because he showed me how to preserve creative design by balancing creative freedom. He taught me to work with the city for permitting, with engineers for drawings, how to keep contractors accountable for their work, and how to negotiate with builders. Palmer showed me how to look out for the details within a space and how to think outside the box when it comes to architecture – like allowing natural lights to come through in various section of the building. His philosophy is that every seat in the restaurant should make the guest feel special and it changed the way we think about design at Roostar.

Mike Latimer taught me how to effectively negotiate a lease contract and how to understand real estate. (It’s all about long-term.) He taught me the importance of being clear and transparent in negotiating real estate contracts… a lesson that allowed me to expand from 1 to 2 stores in a quick time frame while Roostar was still maturing.  

John Song is my OG banker. He taught me how to take long-term approach on all financial deals and showed me how every single year’s tax return matters for the projects ahead. Because of John, I know how to keep cash reserves and why I have to follow plans. John showed me how the bank’s processes work which helped me build powerful relationship with the bank. Thanks to him I understand what banks look for and why they need it so I keep a clean financial game to make room for more growth and expansion on the horizon. This man pulled strings for me, guided me, and funded Roostar 2 when it didn’t seem possible.

Tri Nguyen is my dad. His entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off on me, which he wasn’t totally excited about at first. But my dad is someone who knows how to connect dots and to create something from nothing so how could I not be inspired by him? He’s great with tools and taught me how to build things with my hands… and introduced me the indescribable feeling that comes when you create something. He taught me to do my best, no matter what job title I have.

He’s offensive when it comes to making money. My dad never stops looking for and making deals. He’s defensive when it comes to saving money. I learned to look for value, to be frugal, and to be reasonable when spending money from watching him.

My dad showed me how to build relationships with the people who have leverage on me and how to control and build relationships with the business staff that I oversee.

A visionary, my dad taught me how to think long term and how to see and then build a future that does not yet exist…

And that’s the real power of your MVP team. You can’t do it all on your own and succeed.

There’s no way for someone starting out to understand the intricacies of so many different industries and roles.

You need someone to show you how to identify a great building and create a powerful design. You need someone who’s negotiated killer real estate deals to show you the ropes and help you understand what took them decades to perfect in a really, really short time. You need someone to help you keep your finances strong so that you have everything in order when you find an opportunity to pursue. You need someone to show you how to navigate confusing bank procedures that take people years to comprehend so that you can get your loan and your investors can feel good about what you’re going to build.

Success looks so simple, so easy, and so fun on the surface.

But success is an iceberg… there’s a lot going on that no one will ever see.

And today, I wanted to show the world the power behind my success. Because I’m so thankful for these men.

If you know someone who’s starting up and struggling, will you take just one minute to share this with them? It might help them more than you think.

OR if this made you think about someone who’s helped you find success why don’t you forward it to them with a quick thank you note? You know they’ll appreciate it.

Just like I appreciate every customer who chooses to come into Roostar and spend their time, money, and appetite with us, I want to thank you for reading about my experience today.




PS — Go make the world a better place..


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