Prior to starting a food truck in 2011, I worked various jobs in different fast-casual restaurants. I was volunteering as part of a church leadership team before I started my business. It’s a large church in Naperville, Illinois, with thousands of people attending each week. One of my best friends is in charge of a lot of departments within the church, and he got me involved.
I worked specifically with over 500 high school students, which prepared me to be equipped as a leader in business. It is much like the hospitality industry. People are your main focus. You have to be able to resonate with others, have a sense of community, problem-solve, and relate with students from all different backgrounds. These skills became extremely helpful in opening a fast-casual restaurant. My friend helped guide me to develop these skills, and although we are in two completely different industries, he still mentors me through a lot of difficult decisions and how to properly scale.
Food is about diversity and exposing a wider audience to a specific culture. We want to bring the flavors of my Korean background to the table and serve people of all backgrounds. At Seoul Taco, we encourage diversity from onboarding to our leadership team and partners. I believe if your leadership reflects and represents the people who are your consumers, you develop a connection that is transparent and genuine in the dining experience. We are in it to serve people, not just hand out good food.
I think diversity has vastly improved as people are exposed to different cultures and food. Guests are excited to try new things. Being in fast casual, it is a huge platform for us to share part of our culture through food to the masses. More could always be done, but I generally feel that the most successful fast-casual concepts will display diversity internally, which in turn will see diversity in clientele.