Why You Shouldn't be Afraid to Take Over the Family Business

Ever since I was little, I absolutely loved being in restaurants and helping out wherever I could. I loved refilling syrups, whipping butters, prepping batters, doing coffee runs and getting to know the customers. I was practically raised in a breakfast restaurant (I’m 99% sure maple syrup runs though my veins). I still remember the first time my parents let me help the servers carry food orders out, and the first time I was allowed to work the cash register; these were the milestones in my childhood that marked me maturing, and and being thought of as an adult.

Every weekend and every summer I would work in the restaurants, filling in wherever help was needed. Over the years, I became extremely well rounded by this. I’ve completed a full course of server training, manager training, and even weeks of prep cooking at 5 am. The work is hard, but extremely rewarding. And at the end of the day, it is fun to see the finished product of a well-run restaurant. I adore the feeling of pride and love that overwhelm me when I see my family’s name at the top of our menu.

When I went to college, I was told to study business and make something of myself. This was my turn to make my mark on the world and do something that I love for the rest of my life, just like my parents did. I was excited to make my own path, and see where life wanted to take me. There was just one issue: I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. For the first year I was completely lost, and it seemed like everyone around me knew exactly where he or she was going and how to get there. How was this possible? How did they even know that career existed? I quickly learned that while there are a million benefits to having parents who work in the same business together, there are an equal amount of downfalls. I didn’t know about any other kind of jobs apart from the restaurant industry, and even more specifically, jobs outside of the breakfast industry. Nevertheless, I knew that a good solid business degree would lead me to wherever it is that I wanted to be.

But after getting rejected from the business school, my life got flipped, turned upside down. I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do, where I was supposed to go, or how I was supposed to tell my parents. After about a week and a half of crying on the couch with my main men Ben & Jerry, it hit me; my parents aren't using the degree they studied in college. Neither of my parents studied entrepreneurship, or how to be an owner. My mother was a journalism major and my father has a Masters in international marketing, and those aren't exactly majors that point to owning local breakfast restaurants in Las Vegas. In the back of my mind, I often reminded myself, “It doesn’t matter what you study unless you’re trying to be a doctor or an engineer, and you’re not.” And somehow found myself as a communications major, and I’m thrilled about it. The classes are not only interesting, but engaging and communication is definitely a skill of mine. However, when I think about where I want to take my degree in life, nothing really excites me. PR is cool and advertising looks fun, but doing that for the next 40 + years of my life? No thanks.

​I am a firm believer that you have to love what you do. Yes, being financially stable is important, but if you aren’t happy you’re not going to be successful. I am not the type of person to settle for anything either, so I would never just accept a job that I wasn’t 100% jazzed about and just hope for the best. It’s not in my nature.

With that, before I knew it, things turned around when my dad came to visit in March and asked me the big question: what I was going to do with my life? I circled around the question, and stumbled over my words, because I had no answer to give him. He mentioned that his friends all asked when I would start taking over the restaurants, as if it was a guarantee that I would end up there. Then I asked myself, how had I never considered this before? Oh, because it’s kind of just the easy way out: moving home, going back to my old life, doing what my parents do, blah blah blah. All it took was my father's reassuring words that, “You have an opportunity here that no one else has. You have been working in restaurants for 21 years now, you’re good at it and you enjoy it,” and I was shook. He was right. He continued to tell me that he and my mother never pushed me to be in the restaurant business because they wanted me to do whatever I wanted, and not to feel limited, or like I had to follow a certain mold. If in the end this is what I wanted, then they would help me in every way they can. In that moment, my entire perspective changed.

He was absolutely right, I do enjoy the restaurant industry and that’s important to me. Having two parents and a network of other franchise owners in my close personal circle opens doors for me in this industry that no one else has. Why would I not take advantage of that? Why would I not do something that I already know makes me happy and that I already know I can be successful at? How could I have been so foolish these past three years?

There is nothing wrong with using the step ups that you have in life and making the absolute most of every opportunity you have. When a doctor’s son or daughter goes to med school and wants to become a doctor, no one thinks they’re following in the family line, the same goes for lawyers and bankers and professors. Why would I be any different? I guess I always thought that people would see it as me taking steps backwards, or maybe as me using it as an excuse to not to do my best in school because my future is set. But I soon found out that none of my friends think that of me. Not.One.Person. If anything, my friends are excited for me to finally find something I’m passionate about, and are happy to finally see me less stressed out about my future (TBH it was time to stop having mental breakdowns about it every week). 

I am proud to announce, I graduate in May and will be receiving a BA in Strategic Communications with a minor in Business Administration. The day after graduation, I will be moving back home to Las Vegas, getting my own apartment, and starting a new chapter in my life as I take over the family business.

Moving back to move forward.