Restaurant of Hope: Doing Good, While Doing Well.

There’s that old line. When you’re thinking about opening a restaurant, the three most important things are location, location and location.

Edward Barnett agrees, but the way he chose the location for his first restaurant in what is now becoming a chain goes against nearly every bit of conventional wisdom and advice.

Edward was on a mission. Not just to do well, but to do good. So, along with his partner, Karim Webb, he opened their first Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in one of the toughest neighborhoods in L.A., Crenshaw, a place where violence, crime and lack of opportunity was a way of life.

They wanted to offer a dining experience that wasn’t available in Crenshaw. But, they also wanted to create a place of opportunity, jobs and community. A place where kids and adults alike could get off the streets, learn a trade and build a career. A place not just to work, but where they knew someone cared about them.

Where everyone cautioned them and said they’d fail, they’ve succeeded. It’s still hard at times, but it’s worth the effort. They’ve created a place where people not only come to eat, but come to gather. And for those who work there, they’ve also created a path to possibility and hope.

In this week’s episode, I sit down with Edward to explore both his life and the lessons he’s learned, along with what it’s been like trying to build a sustainable business and an engine of impact in a place that’s known so little of both.

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