Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lynh Pham, Owner of Angie's Vietnamese Cuisine, located in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Angie's operates as a mobile food vendor. We are a food truck without the truck (yet!). Our table and tent set up cranks out Vietnamese and Asian fusion street food. We do popups mostly at breweries and farmer's markets, as well as the occasional festival.
We also offer catering packages, including the option for private parties. When Angie's first started, friends and family were our main customers. As the business grew, we have gained quite the following in the greater Philadelphia area.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Lynh Pham, and I spent about 16 years in the restaurant industry. In 2017, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. During my treatments, I made a promise to myself that when I beat this, I would go after my dreams. It took quite a few years of saving, but in May of 2021, I quit my job and dove headfirst into unknown waters.
It was a terrifying endeavor, so I named the restaurant after my best friend Angely Cintron, who unfortunately passed from cancer in 2018. She was always my biggest cheerleader, even when we were both battling cancer.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I decided to start Angie's, I had a business partner. We had plans to share a ghost kitchen space for financial reasons. After three short months, my partner decided to leave and left me with double the rent bill. Since Angie's was in its infancy, I did not have the revenue to support such a drastic change.
I closed the ghost kitchen side of my business to focus solely on mobile events and catering. I scheduled about six to eight events a week, which I completed all by myself. After four months of non-stop events, I broke even and began turning a profit.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner means that work never ends. There is always something that needs to be done. I wear so many hats as a business owner. I am a social media manager, chef, manager, prep cook, accountant, and so much more. It can become overwhelming sometimes, but I wouldn't trade in what I do for the world.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do your research. The saying that knowledge is power is a saying for a reason. What paperwork do you need? Any licenses/certifications? Ask other business owners questions and get as much advice/information as you can.
- Growth takes time...and LOTS OF WORK! Someone once told me that it takes 20 minutes to build a Toyota but months to build a Rolls Royce. Take your time, and don't compare your progress with others. You will get there when you're meant to be there.
- Don't forget to take time off! Building a small business is exhausting and feels like an extension of yourself. It is so easy to get lost in all the hats you have to wear. But you can't take care of your business if you aren't taking care of yourself.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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