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Aa Alpha Entrepreneur Case Study 5 Danny Delcambre Delcambre’s Ragin Cajun Delcambre’s Ragin Cajun Authentic Cajun


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Alpha Entrepreneur
   Case Study 5
     Danny Delcambre
 Delcambre’s Ragin Cajun
Delcambre’s Ragin Cajun                      Authentic Cajun
                                             Food Restaurant
       Seattle, Washington
       Led by President / Owner: Danny Delcambre
       - Ragin Cajun – in business 9 years

       - In the Sanitary Building of Pike Place Market, a well
       know district in Seattle, Washington

       - Restaurant space is leased

       - 3 deaf employees, 3 hearing-abled employees who
       know sign language…2 full-time, 4 part time
    What is his disability…how did he
    become disabled?
    - Danny is from Lousiana and he’s a Cajun who has
    Usher’s Syndrome- tunnel vision, difficulty seeing in poor
    light, poor balance, congenital deafness

    - Of four children, he and his sister both have Usher’s
    Syndrome, and found there was high incidence of Usher’s
    Syndrome in Lousiana among Cajun population

    - His vision has deteriorated over the years

    - Family challenges helped him develop to meet challenges
    of running a business
How and why did he start his business?
       - College student at Seattle Community College, studied
       machine shop, worked on lathe, but he had hard time
       getting a job

       - He really liked culinary arts, took cooking classes, did
       well and graduated and then looked for job, but could
       only find work at lower levels in hotels, dishwasher, etc.

       - Went back to same community college for business

       - He started his own business to demonstrate that he could
       be a chef

       - He received advice from SBA,SCORE to help him learn
       what was involved
What is the mission statement for Danny’s
     - Great tasting food, customer service

     - Insure equal access to all services and facilities

     - To offer employment opportunities to people with

     - To provide wholesome and supportive workplace

     - To support the restaurant and the community as a team,
     particularly the Washington State Deaf Blind Citizen’s
What barriers did he face in starting his

    - Attitude of first SBA contact was not
    supportive…advised against a disabled person trying to
    make it in the restaurant business

    - He went above that contact to someone with more
    authority and better attitude

    - The second contact proved to be very helpful, but when
    Danny’s business was launched advised against hiring
    deaf workers for a restaurant business

    - Danny ignored this advice and did hire deaf workers
    who helped him build a successful restaurant business in
    the 9 years since then
  How did he obtain funding to start and
grow his business over the last nine years?
     - SBA gave him good advice and had relationships with the bank

     - SBA introduced him to bank contact and opportunity for
     reduced interest loan set aside for disabled business owners

     - He developed several iterations of a business plan until he had
     produced one that everyone agreed would work

     - Everyone was supportive and positive, but frank about the
     limited success rate in the restaurant business (over 90% failed)
     and how the loan would have to paid off whether he succeeded or

     - He took the risk, worked hard, paid off the loan six years later
     and received an award for being so successful at his plan
Did he have any problems starting his
business because of his disability?
      - He had the same problems as any business
      owner would have

      - He had a tough time building the right staff,
      especially with the turnover, but this staff issue is
      a challenge for every business, whether or not the
      owner has a disability

      - He was not intimidated by the SBA officials who
      would often check up on him to make sure he
      could continue to pay his loan
What is Danny’s marketing plan?

     - Good word of mouth initially

      - Media gave him coverage from the start

      - It’s a great media story because its unusual to
      have a Cajun restaurant in Seattle, especially run
      by someone who’s disabled

      - Danny’s Cajun restaurant in Seattle also
      represented a niche that he filled better than
      anyone else
How has Danny’s business changed over the
      - Initially there were challenges with remodeling to reflect
      the Cajun style of the restaurant…this took time

      - Business was slow at first…they had hard time starting
      during the winter months…but summer months picked
      up…winter months still to this day are slower but the
      customer base is very steady

Did he have any strategic partnerships or
alliances that helped him start his business?
      - As in some other Alpha Entrepreneur case
      studies, he didn’t have partnerships per se, but as
      sole proprietor, he relied on his spouse

      - Let spouse perform in areas of spouse’s strength

      - This approach allows entrepreneurs to dedicate
      themselves to the facets of the business they love
What is Danny’s policy on staff diversity?
   - ADA has been good for the restaurant
    business… It brings in more customers

    - In dealing with disabled workers, he had to
    develop rapport with the workers
    themselves…did not deal with other family

    - Encouraged internships, volunteerism

    - Recruits employees who use sign language from
    sources such as sign language classes

    - Practiced policy that diversity builds a better
Did the Rehabilitation Act or the ADA affect
his business
      - It did not really have an effect on his business, but the
      laws have drawn attention to his business itself, because
      he is an example of a successful disabled entrepreneur

      - ADA requirements to provide accessibility to the public
      building where he’s located has also increased
      accessibility to his restaurant
What advice would Danny give to someone
with a disability who wants to become an
      - He would tell them how risky it is, even though he’d
      encourage them to do it

      - He would advise that special attention be given to
      location in starting a business…a cheap lease may mean
      less overhead buts also less customer presence

      - He would make sure they understood all
      aspects of running a business
If he had it to do all over again, what would
he change about how he ran his business?

      -He would do nothing different…he likes having a small

      - He doesn’t feel the need to grow because he likes the
      scale of the business now…wants to stick with the
      plan…he thinks it’s a good one

      - He just wants to continue doing the work he loves
      successfully, without taking risks on additional growth
      and to build an empire
How does one contact Danny Delcambre’s
Ragin Cajun Restaurant?
      - (206) 624-2598

      - 1523 First Ave.
        Seattle, Washington

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