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The Ultimate Hospitality Mindset with Solomon Choi of Jabba Brands

In This Episode

Interview Takeaways

  1. Ask for More by Giving More – Early in his career, Solomon Choi had to make a risky decision for his family business. Not only did it pay off, it was a resounding success. For Choi, he was able to raise prices because he was providing greater service.
  2. Strategic Investing in Startups – Solomon Choi has transitioned from running restaurants and building franchises to being an investor. As an investor, he has a criteria that needs to be met in order for his interest to be piqued.
  3. Hospitality Mindset: What is Best for the Customer? – Business starts and ends with hospitality. Despite all of the technology available, Solomon Choi still firmly believes that hospitality comes back to what works best for your business and doing what’s best for your customers.

Solomon Choi, the CEO of Jabba Brands, believes in the power of giving more to ask for more. 

Reflecting on his early career, Choi made a bold decision for his family business early in his career, which ultimately paid off. By providing greater service, Choi was able to raise prices confidently, recognizing the value of catering to a captive audience. 

“Ask for more by giving them more,” says Choi to host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media and co-host Avi Goren of Marqii. “I think that’s a great, you know, symbiotic relationship with the customer. Everybody wins.” 

Transitioning from running restaurants to becoming an investor, Choi applies that same strategic approach to startups. As an investor and advisor, Choi emphasizes the importance of identifying overlooked or undervalued aspects that can drive success.

“Being on the side of an investor advisor for other startups, that is one of the things I look for is I’m like, what’s your edge? What do you have that can be your, either competitive advantage or against something that is either being overlooked or undervalued?” emphasizes Choi.

At the core of Choi’s philosophy lies the hospitality mindset, where the customer always comes first. Despite the advancements in technology, Choi believes that hospitality begins and ends with doing what’s best for the customer. For him, success in business stems from a genuine desire to serve guests and create meaningful experiences that resonate with their needs.

“I think the first thing is to really just have this mindset of: do you truly want to do what’s best for the guests?” remarks Choi. “If somebody came in and your menu item, for instance, didn’t accommodate their needs: their dietary needs, their religion, whatever it may be. Wouldn’t you try, if you were there, wouldn’t you, as the owner, like, try to accommodate them if you could?”

By prioritizing customer-centric approaches and identifying unique business advantages, Choi continues to drive innovation and growth within the industry. As businesses navigate evolving landscapes, Choi’s insights serve as a guiding light, inspiring entrepreneurs to embrace hospitality as a cornerstone of success and to seize strategic opportunities for growth and expansion.

“I think if you were at the heart of every person who’s in hospitality for the right reasons, that answer is an overwhelming yes. There’s no if, and. or buts.”

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About Cali BBQ Media

Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.

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