Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joelle Parenteau, Owner of Wolf Down, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

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

Wolf Down is a fast-casual Berlin döner shop. Our first location in Ottawa has been a hit from day one, introducing the city to Germany's #1 street food and building a following of super fans addicted to our premium döner and secret sauce.

Tell us about yourself

It all starts with a boy. A German boy. My husband Daniel first came to Ottawa to help his friend Tobi with a little startup called Shopify. Yes, that Shopify. He loves Canada, but there's one thing he really misses from home: Berlin döner — Germany's #1 street food that we've somehow never heard of. The first time he took me to Germany, he hyped it up so much that I thought it could not possibly live up to expectations. Then I had my first taste… it was love at first bite. I wolfed it down.

But when we got back home, I craved it. Bad. Over dinner with Shopify CEO Tobi (also a German döner lover), we kept saying, "We need döner in Ottawa!" They joked that they'd invest whatever was needed. "Someone just needs to do it!" Finally, it hit me. This was my opportunity not only to feed my own cravings but to share my love of döner with everyone!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I opened the first-ever Wolf Down in Ottawa on May 18, 2018. The restaurant industry is notoriously tough, but we built such a strong brand and amazing product that even COVID couldn't stop us as we broke sales numbers year after year. The response has been so incredible, and people from all over started begging us to bring Wolf Down to their cities. This inspired me to create our franchising program, which we just launched. I'm very proud of what we have built so far, and we're still just getting started.

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

At the end of the day, you are responsible for everything. You have to make tough calls, often with limited information. Sometimes you are right, and you look like a genius. But sometimes, inevitably, you'll be wrong, and it's all on you.

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

  1. Find mentors.
  2. Offer to help business owners you admire and learn from them.
  3. Don't let fear of failure stop you.

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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