Thank you to David Alan L'Heureux, principal of David Alan Hospitality Group, for speaking at this month's CEO Luncheon!
David was a breath of fresh air when he walked into the MetroHartford Alliance office. Not only did his energy and positivity fill the room, but the aroma of his delicious cuisine made your mouth water!
He has certainly had his ups and downs since starting his journey. But with his optimistic personality he was able to overcome those challenges and be the successful entrepreneur and business professional that he is today.
It all began right here in Connecticut when he attended Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) for his degree in Business Management with a focus in entrepreneurship. "I always knew what I wanted to do. I always wanted to own my own business, I just did not know it would be in food."
His starting point was when he was only 15 years old. He had the tough decision of either continuing to play basketball on his high school team or start working. He did not know it then, but he made the decision right then and there to start his journey in the food industry. David continued to move his way through the ranks in food during his college years which helped him pay his way through school. His decisions put his dedication on display at such a young age, setting the tone that he is a hard worker committed to getting where wants to be.
While attending CCSU, one of his entrepreneurship classes required him to create a business plan from scratch. "We decided to create a business model for a mini-golf course. I really love mini-golf." After completing the class and receiving an A+ for his hard work, his professor urged him to actually pursue this idea. He decided to go for it! However, that was the point where David's challenges really began. After the first hurdle of his business partner dropping out on this idea, David still found a way to persevere with family investments mainly from his grandfather. However, because of a disagreement on the purchasing of the land he needed, his idea was unable to come to life. But he never gave up.
He continued to pursue with his entrepreneur spirit and with the help from his family and investors David found another way to own his own business. "My uncle and grandfather were really the ones in my family that guided me throughout this whole journey. They are both mentors to me. My grandfather was the biggest investor the entire time." Everything started to fall into place when at only 21 years old David was the youngest franchisee of Port City Java in Wilmington, N.C. "No one else in my family has their own business." This was a huge milestone for him!
However, the hard times kept creeping their way back in when unexpected building costs and miscellaneous legal issues unraveled. Port City Java turned into a 5 year legal battle. As HYPEsters listened intently to David describe his rough times, it was clear that he always remained optimistic. "Stuff happens. There's nothing you can do but move forward. They don't teach you all of this school!" he jokingly pointed out. "It is an experience that helps you in your future. Something I really enjoy is fixing problems. I see it as an opportunity to improve." Which is exactly what he did.
Throughout the past 6 years David has surely gone through challenges but looking at him now you would have never known. He is now the principal of David Alan Hospitality Group, a full service off premise, corporate and personal, Connecticut catering company with an emphasis on all natural, locally grown foods, superior customer service and design like none else. He has grown to employing 6 full time and 150 part time employees.
There are a number of different areas that fall under the umbrella of David Alan Hospitality Group. They include:
-Corporate and Social Catering: he has 6 corporate cafeterias that he runs right now and looking to keep growing. He also caters for various social and corporate events and weddings.
-Full service concert and event tour catering: he manages the restaurant in the Xfinity Theatre where only season tickets holders are able to eat.
He told the group that "Quality and premium are most important over everything else. I am just myself. I treat each customer as a relationship or friendship that is building. They are not just clients to me. Proving that we have such a great reputation, we have 8 or 9 part time staff who were once our brides. They liked our work to the point where they wanted to become a part of what we do and now work for us." When a HYPEster asked if he had words of advice for the group he stated, "surround yourself with a good team. Make sure that all of your employees are following the vision that you have put in place and hold them accountable to follow it. Always find ways to make your business grow, even if you are not growing at the same level every year, it is still growth."
Thank you to David Alan for speaking at this great luncheon!