For Jay Patel, the key to success as a young entrepreneur is simple.
“You have to have passion,” said Patel, a native of India. “Once you have that, the rest falls into place.”
A Cleveland-implant since 2000, Patel, who is 33, has opened, managed and sold several businesses, including his own Indian restaurant, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise and a couple of state liquor agencies. This year, Patel's latest business venture positioned him as the leader of a hub of new MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes restaurants across the Greater Cleveland-area with the opening of its first Ohio location early in 2015. Why did you decide to work with MOOYAH?
First and foremost, the FOOD! When I took the first bite, I could taste the passion, freshness and quality ingredients in the burger and the fries. Secondly, the concept was so family-friendly, and being a father, I said, "I would love to take my kids to this restaurant.”
What personal attributes have helped you succeed as a business owner with MOOYAH?
I have a natural love for food and people, and I have a strong passion to serve my guest the best experience they have had.
Since opening, how has your business grown?
We had a great response from our guests. They loved the food and the variety of healthy options we offered. We have also been really focusing on hosting more fundraising events, which helps the community while at the same time increases our brand awareness in the local market. This has been incredibly helpful since we are the first restaurant in Ohio.
Why are you successful and what does your business strategy focus on?
Success to me is achieving excellence in what I do, and achieving excellence for me is always striving to go above and beyond one's expectations.
Do you have a favorite moment that stands out during the time your store has been open?
There have been many, but the one that stood out the most is when I was able to help produce a video for Cleveland.com in preparation for the store’s opening. I had always hoped that I would be able to show my passion about MOOYAH to Cleveland. After overcoming my anxiety of being in front of the camera (and trying about six to eight times), I was able to deliver it! That was probably my favorite moment.
Has being young ever been a disadvantage while operating your business?
I won’t lie, there have been some moments where I thought people question your judgement because of the "age factor," but truly believing in yourself and standing behind your commitment changes that.
What tips do you have for fellow young entrepreneurs?
Work hard, play hard! Nothing is entitled to you in this world, so you have to go and get it. Everybody will have different opinion, listen to everyone but follow your heart.