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    Dave’s Hot Chicken: Arman Oganesyan

    enJune 10, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Simplifying ComplexitiesCustomized solutions and streamlined processes help individuals and businesses simplify complex financial situations and exceed expectations

      Simplifying complex financial situations is a priority for both individuals and businesses. Coriant, a wealth management firm, aims to exceed expectations and simplify the lives of high achievers by providing customized wealth, investment, and family office solutions. Mercury, on the other hand, simplifies financial operations for businesses with banking and software that streamline critical financial workflows. Meanwhile, Dave's Hot Chicken found success by building hype around their product and executing effectively, growing from a parking lot pop-up to a global chain. In the world of furniture, Article offers delightful designs at affordable prices with fast shipping and excellent customer service. And for those who enjoy a good story, Guy Raz's new newsletter promises to be interesting, informative, inspiring, and fun. Throughout the discussion, the importance of simplifying complexities, building hype, and executing effectively emerged as key themes. Whether it's managing wealth, financial operations, or growing a business, these principles can help individuals and organizations succeed.

    • Unexpected successPassion and determination can lead to unexpected successes, even when faced with challenges or financial struggles. Identifying a market demand and staying persistent can help individuals turn a simple idea into a successful business.

      Passion and determination can lead individuals to unexpected successes, even when faced with uncertainty or financial struggles. The speaker started making comedy videos on Vine and gained a following, while his friend Dave pursued his dream of becoming a chef. Despite their different paths, they both faced challenges and doubts. However, they held onto the belief that something would click for them eventually. This mindset paid off when the speaker discovered a hot chicken sandwich at a Nashville restaurant and realized the potential of opening a hot chicken restaurant himself. This unexpected success came from a simple idea, but it required passion, determination, and the ability to identify a market demand.

    • Collaboration, DifferencesDiverse perspectives can lead to unique and successful outcomes when collaborating, even if the partners have vastly different ideas or approaches

      Opposites can come together to create something unique and successful. Dave and Arman, with their vastly different palates, started a fried chicken restaurant despite their initial reservations. They spent months experimenting with recipes, inspired by various local chicken places and documentaries. Their diverse perspectives led to a balanced approach, with Arman bringing out-of-the-box ideas and Dave grounding them in practicality. Their goal was to create a franchisable concept while maintaining high quality. This story illustrates the power of collaboration and the importance of embracing differences to achieve a common goal.

    • Persistence and experimentationDetermination and experimentation can lead to unexpected successes. Staying committed to your goals and being open to new ideas can help overcome financial constraints and gain recognition.

      Determination and a willingness to experiment can lead to unexpected successes. The story shared involves two friends, Dave and Tommy, who were passionate about making great fried chicken. They went through numerous experiments, seeking the perfect recipe and testing it on a diverse group of people. Their Armenian parents' approval was a significant milestone for them. Despite facing financial constraints, they persisted and eventually set up a pop-up shop in a parking lot in Hollywood, which helped them gain recognition and eventually afford a food truck. Unexpected discoveries, such as using pickle juice as a brine, added to their success. The story illustrates the importance of staying committed to your goals, being open to new ideas, and embracing the unexpected.

    • Risks and Adaptability in BusinessTaking risks and adapting to unexpected situations can lead to business success, even with limited resources. AI can enhance teamwork and productivity, enabling businesses to focus on producing the best results for their customers.

      Sometimes taking risks and starting with limited resources can lead to success, even without all the necessary paperwork or permissions. Arman and his team started selling their spicy fried chicken tenders and fries in a parking lot with minimal equipment and customers. They used creative tactics like handing out samples to attract more people and eventually gained the attention of a food critic, Farley. Although they wanted Farley to visit when they were more prepared, he contacted them early on. They decided to let him try their food, despite feeling underprepared. Farley's visit brought them publicity and more customers, demonstrating the power of taking risks and adapting to unexpected situations. Additionally, the discussion highlighted the importance of collaboration and teamwork in building a successful business. Arman and Tommy worked together to grow their customer base and overcome challenges. Atlassian, a sponsor of the podcast, emphasized the role of AI in empowering human collaboration and accelerating work. By using AI to gain insights from data and automate menial tasks, teams can focus on producing the best results for their customers. In summary, the story of Arman's chicken business illustrates the value of taking risks, being adaptable, and working together to build a successful venture. The integration of technology, specifically AI, can further enhance teamwork and productivity, leading to even greater achievements.

    • Media coverage impact on small businessMedia coverage can bring unexpected crowds and sales, but small businesses need to be prepared to adapt and maintain product quality to sustain success

      A positive article or media coverage can significantly impact a small business, leading to long lines and increased sales. However, sustaining this success requires careful planning and adjustments. For instance, our weekend food stand, Late Night Chikistan, experienced an overwhelming response after an article was published, but we quickly ran out of food due to the unexpected crowd. We learned to adapt by purchasing a larger fryer and strategically adding new menu items to attract more customers and media attention. Ultimately, the success of our business relied on our ability to handle the rush, adapt quickly, and maintain a consistent product quality. Additionally, the kindness of a local business owner who let us use his parking lot played a crucial role in our early success. Despite the long hours and hard work, the summer of 2017 was an exciting and rewarding experience for us.

    • Starting a business from scratchHard work, determination, and smart decisions led Dave's Hot Chicken founders to their first significant payday, allowing them to grow their business despite challenges

      Starting a business from scratch requires hard work, determination, and smart decision-making. The founders of Dave's Hot Chicken started small with a pop-up in a parking lot, reinvesting most of their profits back into the business. They experienced their first significant payday in the second month, making a total of $40. This moment was a turning point for them, allowing them to pay off overdue bills and eventually open a brick-and-mortar store. However, they also faced challenges such as securing a lease and dealing with large amounts of cash. The location of their business in Los Angeles, a media capital, played a significant role in their rapid success. The founders split the business equally among themselves and brought in an older brother with business experience to help them grow. Despite their success, they maintained a fair and equal ownership structure, which helped them avoid potential conflicts as the business grew.

    • Collaboration and PartnershipsEffective collaboration and strategic partnerships can provide inspiration, unique designs, and valuable experience, leading to business growth and expansion.

      Effective collaboration and the right partnerships played a significant role in the success of Dave's Hot Chicken. The team drew inspiration from various sources, including a movie about McDonald's, to develop an efficient kitchen system. They also reached out to their long-time friends and artists, Splatterhouse, to create unique designs for each store. When it came to expanding the business, they were cautious about finding the right partners and eventually connected with John Davis from Davis Entertainment, who brought valuable experience in growing restaurants. This partnership helped Dave's Hot Chicken continue to thrive and expand nationwide.

    • Right investorsHaving the right investors with deep industry experience and belief in founders' vision can significantly contribute to a business's success by providing assurance to potential franchisees, selling stores to larger groups, and bringing valuable resources and expertise.

      Having the right investors with deep experience and a belief in the founders' vision can significantly contribute to a business's success. The founders of Dave's Hot Chicken met investors Drake, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Strahan early on, who provided assurance to potential franchisees and helped sell stores to larger groups. These investors, along with Bill Phelps, co-founder of Wetzel's Pretzels and Blaze Pizza, played a crucial role in the company's growth by bringing valuable industry expertise and resources. The founders retained majority ownership, allowing them to continue operating the business as they saw fit while also earning upfront cash. With the help of these investors, Dave's Hot Chicken grew from a few locations to over 200 stores in the US, Canada, and internationally. The company's success also highlights the importance of franchising to experienced groups rather than individuals, as it leads to better operations and a stronger brand.

    • Dave's Hot Chicken successHard work, skill, and luck contributed to Dave's Hot Chicken's success. The team perfected the recipe and marketed the brand, while maintaining a balance between corporate structure and founder passion.

      The success of Dave's Hot Chicken can be attributed to a combination of hard work, skill, and luck. The co-founders, including Arman Oganesyan, who started as a high school dropout with a passion for comedy and culinary arts, have expanded their business to over 900 locations with plans to continue growing. Their unique product, hot chicken, gained popularity in Los Angeles just as they were starting the business. However, the success of Dave's Hot Chicken is not solely due to luck. Arman and his team dedicated themselves to perfecting the recipe and marketing the brand. Moreover, Dave's Hot Chicken is a corporate company but also maintains a "mom and pop" feel, with experienced executives and young, passionate founders working together to create a healthy balance. The company's revenue averages around $2.8 million per year per location, making it a high-performing franchise concept. As the company grows, Arman plans to stay involved in the corporate role, recognizing the importance of balance between the experienced executives and the passionate founders. The journey of Dave's Hot Chicken serves as a reminder that success is a combination of hard work, skill, and luck. Even with the product's popularity, the team's dedication to perfecting the recipe and marketing the brand played a crucial role in their success. And even as the company grows, the team remains committed to maintaining a balance between corporate structure and the passion and energy of its founders.

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