Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Lublin, president and founder of Chainsmoker Urban Barbecue. Michael has 3 locations in Southern Ontario, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a southern comfort ole' time authentic barbecue that serves up a high-quality brisket, beef rib, chicken & ancillary products, including an assortment of sides. We are the only 100% Halal branded barbecue chain in North America. We are the only Jewish-owned Halal chain in North America. Chainsmoker is a fast premium concept that serves a fine-dining quality BBQ in a fast-food setting; however, very uber-chic contemporary designed environment, raising the bar on the conventional themed BBQ smokehouses.

Tell us about yourself

As the president and founder of Chainsmoker Urban Barbecue, I have over 25 years of experience in the food service and franchise industry. My previous positions were vice president and chief operating officer of two public companies with over 4 billion in sales. I have always been passionate about food, but I am more passionate about building bridges between the entire ethnic communities in Canada, more so between the Muslim and Jewish communities I belong to. It is better and easier to love than to hate, and in keeping with the slogan, "Love for all and hatred for none," I am dedicated to bringing people together over simple BBQ!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As a business owner, I have two (2) significant accomplishments:

during COVID, you have to swim against the current of conformity. While many restaurants closed, I drove my volume up 400% and same-store sales up 115%, my most considerable success ever.

I have had the ability to affect the lives of many underprivileged people and children worldwide, particularly in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It's up to the business owner to turn the lights off at night! Major responsibility comes with business ownership, the most important being human resources management, the care, dedication, and support to employees. Everyone is wired differently, and therefore, each employee has their own terms and conditions agreed upon in the contract with our company. So a job description is completely suited to the individual and not, as they say in Hollywood, "type-cast," sliding employees into a dark box setting them up for failure. Starbucks excels in human resources management because they extract the best character and attitude that comes with the initial audition in the hiring practice of their employees - we do the same and even better!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start with a dream and have the courage to fulfill it.
  2. Invest and raise enough capital to sustain for three years
  3. Never, ever give up despite the challenges, hardships, pitfalls, and intermittent failures along the way - success will ultimately come to each entrepreneur.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

"Salvation doesn't come to those who follow the beaten path and confirm to everything in society." One must swim against the current of conformity and break new ground to pioneer the things one believes in most!"

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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