Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Peo-John Diep, chef of Shinka Sushi Bar, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

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

Shinka is a sushi restaurant that combines Japanese culinary traditions with fresh and innovative creations. Our customers range from a wide variety of people, including families, politicians, students, and public servants.

Tell us about yourself

My love of food was the driving factor that got me started in the restaurant business. It had propelled me to become a devoted business owner since 2004 when I opened the doors to what was then known as New Generation Sushi (Now Shinka). When I started in the food and restaurant industry in my teenage years, I found that because of my strong personality and leadership traits, I always gravitated toward managing the kitchen. Once I gained enough experience, it was then, when I was 23, that I decided it was time to manage my own kitchen and thus spawned Shinka that the Ottawa and Gatineau customers have grown to love over the past 18 years.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Now that it has been shy of two decades, I often find people asking me what has been one of the biggest accomplishments in my professional career? My answer has always been a version of customer satisfaction. I love to see the smiling faces of the customers who have just finished their meals or the joy of our returning customers who we have built relationships with. However, none of this would be possible without the dedication and hard work of the Shinka team. Each member brings with them a different skill set that we urge them to let loose and explore within the kitchen, as this is where we see creativity and teamwork thrive.

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

Every success story has hardships, and being a small business owner isn't an exception. The 80-90 hours a week to grow your business when you first launch is some of the hardest work I have ever had to do. When you don't have the resources to hire others, you find yourself doing the work of 5 people. The cliche saying is that you must sacrifice and pour blood, sweat, and tears into your business in order to succeed, and I wholeheartedly believe this is the way to success.

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

A few things I have learned and would like to pass on to other small business owners just starting would be:

  1. Never give up, as no one will work as hard for you like yourself.
  2. Don't let people around you bring you down.
  3. Do a lot of research! Research into your craft, business, logistics, customers, etc.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Failure is the best teacher. Learning from your mistakes and applying what you have learned. Even after the first couple of years, don't give up; even if it isn't going well, you can succeed!

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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