We had the good fortune of connecting with Louis Grayson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Louis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The thought process behind starting my own business was more of a “if not now, then when?” I am a very competitive person and a very ambitious person. I went through my young adult life working in a corporate company, with good pay and enjoyed what I did. However, I started to notice outside of my work life I was always looking for something more, to build myself and coming up with ideas to start a business. This has always excited me and from a young age I knew I wanted a life where I was not limited in what I could do and not limited in what I could spend, coming from a hard working family background. Eventually, I tested myself when living in Washington D.C. by entering a food competition called LaunchPAD, similar to a shark tank and top chef mixed in one. This was truly my tipping point to prove to myself if I could make it as a restaurateur. If you won this competition, you would receive your own stall in a food hall to start your own concept with investors and advisors by your side. This was before the big food hall boom we have today. I got into the finals of the competition and did not win, however got peoples choice award. This was truly a grateful discovering experience for myself and really reassured me I was ready to start my own. From there, I continued to work my corporate job, however it wasn’t until my uncle mentioned, “you are young, if you want to start a business do it now at this age (25) because if it doesn’t work out, you have nothing to lose. You are still young enough where you can recover and you have enough experience where any company would still take you.” That really sunk in for me. So eventually i opened my first restaurant and took a leap of logical, well prepare leap of faith. However whenever you start a business, it never works out how you planned, and that’s one of the things I love about having my own business. Everyday in my industry, there is always something new, always new projects to do and something challenging that has to be done. So I guess my thought process behind opening my own business was for my sense of achievement, wanting to do better for myself and family, having a better life where there were no limits and because I knew I had to do it now while I am young with nothing to lose.
What should our readers know about your business?
For my business we are the only ramen shop in our county that make our very own ramen noodles. We really strive to make everything from scratch including our broth and sauces. I truly believe that was something missing in the area where restaurants would create and make something of their own. Also there was not any ramen shops down in south Florida, especially when I have lived in other states that would have this cuisine. Not only were we the first ramen shop in the area but we were also one of the only Asian concept that was fast casual counter service in the area to begin with. I think this was a factor in our success, as we were one of the first willing to try it out. Who would think having hot soup outside on sunny Florida day would be successful. We got to where we are today because of our team, a little bit of lucky and good strong family foundation. I want to thank my team and all employees because it really makes a difference when you have such a hard working team and positive energy when building a business. Of course it is not easy to find the right team members but it was really about understanding people and being patient with everyone. I think big lessons I have learned along the way are to be patient. When building a business for the first few years really work on your foundation! I was so hungry to grow and to progress however I would forget about the foundation of the business that needed work on before continuing to grow. This has been a great learning point for me. Another big one for me is always try to understand people from their point of view. As an owner with 100 employees at one point I had to really understand everyone and why they did what they did to be able to give the best working environment and build a team. People will stay with you as long as you have a enjoyable, healthy and challenging work environment. As I grow I want my team to grow with me and that includes giving partnership in the business. #SlurpSquad #SendNoods
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We are lucky we are in Florida and there are many things to do. Week long itinerary. i would rent a nice inter coastal house for the friends. day 1 – breakfast on the beach either in delray beach or boca – beach day -Lunch at Lemongrass asian bistro for sushi – Take them out to Delray beach atlantic Ave day 2 – Take them to my local favorites for beakfast, lunch and dinner – Restaurants include Marumi, Kekes breakfast, Angelos, Lemongrass Asian Bistro, Ganzo, El camino – Explore Fort lauderdale, get on a scooter and explore las olas – Take to a secret coffee spot in the back en of flagler area – have a few drinks at rooftop day 3 – Take to miami little havana for cuban coffee beakfast – walk around explore have a cigar – head to wynnwood for the arts – eat at KYU – Head over to south beach to see the famous strip – then end the night on a rooftop bar day 4 – jet ski or paddle board in Miami – do the boat tour around the islands – See a Miami heat game or miami inter soccer game day5 – Drive to key largo and the key wet to spend the night Day 6 – Check out alligator on the everglades and eat some alligators lol
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a big shout out to my uncle Art, for without his mentor-ship and guidance I would not be the person i am today. He has taught me to believe in myself and care for others, always thinking from the other persons perspective while pushing me to do the best I can. He is the true inspiration of a true Entrepreneur, never giving up and always adapting. He really understood, it is not the strongest businesses that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. He has really taught me many things in my personal life and in my business life that has lead me to a successful enriching life so far. And for this I am forever grateful and thankful to my uncle Art.
Instagram: @RamenLabEatery and @Lgrayson1