Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joe Kim, Founder of Dae Gee Korean BBQ, located in Denver, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Founded in 2012, Dae Gee Korean BBQ's rise in popularity began in 2015, when we were featured on restaurateur Guy Fieri's long-running food reality television series, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." Fieri said of Dae Gee, "This isn't just any Korean restaurant. This one's off the hook!" The moment solidified our place in the restaurant industry and validated my desire to expand Korean cuisine.
Today, Dae Gee, meaning "pig" in Korean, exposes customers to an interactive experience that allows them to cook their own meat on grill tops at their tables when they dine. Customers have the option to choose from a variety of traditional Korean meats like Galbee (Beef Short Ribs), Sam Gyeob Sal (Sliced Pork Belly), and Dak Bulgogi (Chicken), which are marinated in Dae Gee's secret marinade. Each choice of meat, as well as fish and vegetarian options, can be enjoyed in a bowl, hot stone pot, or tucked inside lettuce and eaten as a wrap. Entrees can be piled high with your choice of side or mixings, including rice, fresh slaw, spicy sauce, and a variety of nine side dishes, such as kimchee, broccoli, radish, and fish cakes.
Tell us about yourself
For much of my 20s, I worked in the family dry cleaning business until my mother-in-law, who had previously owned a Korean restaurant in Hawaii for many years, approached me with the idea of opening a Korean barbeque restaurant in the Denver area. We opened the very first Dae Gee restaurant in the Denver suburb of Westminster in 2012 and have since remained motivated to leave our customers well-fed with culture, humor, and top-quality home recipe-style Korean food.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Since taking the leap in 2012 to open our first restaurant, we've opened five total corporate-owned restaurants across Colorado's Front Range. Most recently, we announced plans to expand our national footprint via franchising, with as many as 5-10 new restaurants annually. We've already signed franchise development agreements in Amarillo, Texas, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is the daily grind and sporadic schedule. There's no formula, and it boils down to mastering grit.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance. My rule of thumb… WORK HARD AND PLAY HARD.
- Set a growth goal so big that you may not be able to accomplish it in your lifetime. That way, there's no point in stopping, and it'll be a generational business that continually grows.
- Be truly grateful and enjoy the journey.
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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